How many of you brush your dog’s fur daily? Weekly? I’ll be the first to admit that I do not always keep up on my dog’s grooming routine. Grooming your dog is really important, and it should be done frequently! There are quite a few benefits of grooming as well.
Creates a bond with your dog. Think about it. If you were to groom your dog weekly, even for just five minutes, it’s a great experience for both of you. Dogs are domesticated, and they generally enjoy attention from their people. Grooming them not only feels good, but gives you a chance to spend some quality time together.
Gets your dog used to being handled. If you were to spend a bit of time every week grooming your dog, it gets them used to being touched! This is great for anxious dogs, young pups, or rescue pups to introduce them to being handled. Having a dog who is used to being touched makes vet visits and nail trimmings much easier as well.
Allows you to keep an eye on your dog’s health. Grooming your dog allows you to run your hands over your dog’s body and check for any abnormalities, such as bumps, cuts, and what not. This way you can keep an eye on your dog’s health and you will know if they have a cut and know when to take them in for a checkup.
Gets rid of loose fur and dander. I don’t know about you, but when my hair is messy and I haven’t brushed it or washed it for a few days, I feel really uncomfortable and yucky. Similarly, a dog’s hygiene level can contribute to their health and comfort. Grooming them spreads the oils through their coat, gets rid of loose hairs (especially during shedding season), and removes dirt and burrs.
Convinced you should groom your dog yet?! Great, on to the next step!
Dogs, depending on their breed, have a variety of coat types, and each coat type is unique, and require different grooming tools.
Smooth coated dogs (ex. Pit Bulls, Beagles, Viszlas, etc.) These dogs have short fur that lies close to their body. If you spread their fur, it is easily to see their skin. They generally only have one layer of fur (versus double coated dogs). They require minimal grooming, however, neglecting their coat can still cause just as many issues as neglecting a dog with a thicker coat. They still require regular bathing and frequent brushing. You can use a slicker brush or a rubber curry comb to get out loose fur and dirt.
Double coated dogs (ex. Labrador retriever, Newfoundland) Dogs with a double coat have a top coat that repels water and catches dirt, and a soft undercoat that keeps them warm and dry. If double coated dogs are not properly dried and groomed, they can get bacteria or get a disease. These dogs tend to shed a lot, so upkeep on grooming is crucial, and will help get out loose fur, and make bath days easier. A slicker brush can be used on the top coat, but in order to get the soft undercoat, you will need an undercoat rake.
Curly coated dogs (ex. Poodle, doodles, Curly-coated retrievers) These dogs require a bit of attention when grooming, and if you are unsure how to care for your dog’s coat, please take them to a professional groomer! Their coat grows, similar to the way a person’s hair would, so they should be trimmed on a regular schedule. As a general rule, if you would use the grooming tool on your hair, you can use it on a curly-coated dog. For example, pin brushes and slicker brushes are fine to use on these types of dogs, but you definitely wouldn’t want to use an undercoat rake!
Wiry coated dogs (ex. Cairn terrier, Wire Hair Fox Terriers, Irish Wolfhound) Wiry coats tend to coarser and rougher in texture, and they require their coats to be stripped (pulling out the dead hairs). There are a few ways to do this, and you can read more about this process here. If your dog’s coat isn’t stripped regularly, your dog can get tangles in their coat, become itchy, and become smelly as well. As for regular grooming, you can use a slicker brush or a pin brush! If you are still unsure how to strip your dog’s coat, you can have a professional groomer take care of it for you.
Long coated dogs (ex. Irish Setter, Cocker Spaniel) These dogs require more grooming and their coats are often susceptible to tangles. They should be groomed every day (even 5 minutes helps!). They should be brushed regularly. You can use a pin brush, slicker brush, or a bristle brush to get rid of loose hair and dirt and add some shine to the coat. If the dog has an undercoat, you can also use an undercoat rake. Be sure to use detangler and brush often so your dog doesn’t get mats. Using conditioner will make the fur extra soft, which is important for the silky haired dogs!
Hairless dogs (Chinese Crested Dog, Xoloitzcuintli) These dogs may not have a lot of coat, but they still require maintenance! They should have dog-safe sunscreen put on them, because they can get sunburns. Some hairless dogs still have small tufts of fur, which can be brushed with a bristle brush. They should still be bathed frequently, and their skin should be moisturized--just like our skin! Take care to protect your hairless dog from the outside elements!
Remember to have plenty of treats for your dog during a grooming session, and if your dog isn’t used to being groomed, make sure to break it up into shorter sessions so it’s not too overwhelming! Don’t forget to set a regular grooming schedule, so your dog remains clean, healthy, and happy!