The simplest of grooming maintenance for your dog between it’s visits to the grooming salon can have a healthy effect on your dog’s emotional and physical health.

Often, how you dog’s coat looks and feels may tell you additional information about the dog’s whole state of being – both externally and internally.  Maintaining a good grooming regime for your dog not only continues that healthy glow that they leave the salon with but also helps develop the dog’s self-esteem as it is constantly cared for – it also makes you look good and proud when walking them!

Grooming your dog increases the bond between owner and pet as you spend more time together.  The majority of dogs enjoy being brushed as it invigorates their skin, get undivided attention from their owner and is an experience they can look forward to.  Regularly grooming your dog gives you the opportunity to notice any abrasions, cuts, lumps, bumps or any other irregularities on the dog’s body.  Brushing will remove the early setting of knots and mats from the dog’s coat and stimulates the glands that secrete natural oils to make their coats shiny and soft, as well as improving blood circulation to the skin. 

A dog who’s body is overall healthy will have clear skin without rashes, skin irritation or any signs of dryness or flaking.  Your attention to the dog’s regular grooming will leave the coat soft to touch, no obnoxious odours and a pleasing sheen.  

A correct balance of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids will help maintain the health of your dog and will reflect in the healthy appearance of it’s skin and coat.  An internal imbalance of essential nutrients will reflect through poor skin and coat condition. If the dog has generally good health yet still has a dull coat try adding a half teaspoon of flaxseed or fish oil into the diet.  You could also add a whisked egg into their food once or twice a week. 

Ensuring that the dog’s treatments for parasite resistance are kept up to date, especially flea treatments, will help to prevent skin and coat degradation.  Your vet will be pleased to advise on this.

In addition to the nice brushing, combing and well-balanced diet your dog receives on a weekly basis there are other needs that will normally be provided by a professional groomer.  Your dog should be bathed about every 4 – 6 weeks with a canine low pH shampoo.  Some dogs will require trimming and styling and areas of their body to be clipped.  Trimming of beards and some facial hair is often required for health maintenance, as is the hygiene areas on the dog. 

Nail trimming is important for many dogs who do not have the opportunities to ‘wear them down’ on hard and rough surfaces.  Long nails can be painful for the dog and, if left unattended, can lead to permanent disablement. 

Your dog’s ears shouldn’t require constant cleaning, but should be cleaned and checked at each salon grooming appointment.  The ears are easily understood if one accepts that ‘normal’ is as follows; the ear should be the same temperature as the rest of the dog’s body; no inflammation; clean and no ‘tar-like’ coating (ear mites); no discharges from the ear; no obnoxious smell (indicative of infection).  A professional groomer will check for these signs on each visit and will advise veterinary attention if there are any concerns. 

Here are FOUR steps for brushing the dog’s coat:

  • Use a slicker brush and brush against the direction of coat growth.  This will help to de-shed the coat and start to break down any matting.
  • Next, use a medium or wide toothed steel comb (available from most pet equipment suppliers) and comb against the direction of coat growth.  This should break down any knots or mats in the dog’s coat. 
  • Use a sturdy brush (or the slicker brush, depending on coat type) to brush through all of the dog’s coat.  Ensure that the brush is pushed deep enough to brush through the full depth of coat, but ensuring it isn’t causing discomfort or scratching the skin.
  • If the dog has furry paws, then clip off any hair that is protruding over the pads, but do not attempt to remove hair between the toes/pads as you may cut delicate skin tissue in this area.  Only remove the excess hair from the feet.

From as early as possible in the dog’s life try to get it used to your grooming routine.  If the dog grows up understanding this is a part of everyday life, as well as a closeness with the owner, then it will accept it’s grooming routine much better.  Don’t wait until the dog’s coat is in a mess before you start to groom it as this will only make them see the actions as something unpleasant.  If the routine of grooming and brushing is regular and with consideration then the dog will enjoy the closeness that it involves and grow to love the attention.

Routine grooming should be an enjoyable experience for the dog and it’s owner.  When more involved grooming, styling and trimming is needed leave that to the trained and skilled professional.  Your professional dog groomer will check ear cleaning and overall health check as well as correctly clipping the dog’s nails when needed – as well as bathing, styling and returning your wonderful example of it’s breed at the end of that session. 

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