Grooming Your Dog

Karen Peak
by Karen Peak
View Biography

It is important that you get your dog accustomed to bathing and grooming early in life by starting off with small, fun sessions when your dog is a puppy. You must also choose a method which will be fun for you and carry it out only when you have plenty of time. If you are stressed or rushed when bathing or grooming your dog, your dog is not likely to enjoy the experience.

Benefits of Regular Grooming

Grooming your dog offers an ideal opportunity to also check its nails, teeth, ears and eyes, and to check for any lumps or scabs which may have developed since last time. Many dogs do not visibly need grooming on a regular basis except when they are shedding their coat. However, some breeds of dogs require extensive grooming on a regular basis to avoid widespread knotting of the hair and possible sores on the skin. You must think about how much time you are prepared to spend doing this before you choose what breed of dog to buy.

Grooming Requirements Differ between Breeds

Long-haired breeds will need grooming every day to avoid build up of knots and tangles. These include German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands and Bearded Collies. Breeds such as the Standard Poodle do not shed their coat, which means their hair needs to be cut to keep it in check. This does not mean that they do not need grooming however. Breeds such as Irish Setters and Springer Spaniels have what is called 'Silky' hair. This means that the dead hair has to be removed by hand. Otherwise, the hair will become matted and the dog will develop sores if left unchecked. Getting your dog used to grooming at a young age is especially important with breeds that do require a lot of work. The most time-consuming are wire-haired breeds like the Schnauzer. Their coats will need to be hand 'stripped' at least twice a year. In addition, their coats need to be groomed as often as is possible.

First Steps

The first stage in grooming is to vigorously run your hands through the dog's hair. Not only does this acclimatize your dog to the feeling of being groomed, but it will also show you which areas need the most attention. Run your hands all over the dog - including behind the ears and under the belly. Your dog is likely to really enjoy this invigorating feeling, and it also helps to stimulate the natural oils of the skin.

After this, you can begin to use the grooming tools, which may be different depending on what breed you have. You will usually need a good strong comb (its best to use a metal one), a pair of scissors, and a comb with sharp edges instead of prongs. Special areas to attend to include the hair behind the ears, the hair around the genitals, the hair along the muzzle and the hair between the toes.

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