Your Pup’s Grooming Needs
By Camp Bow Wow
You might fluff your Doodle, shave your Golden or trim your Shih-Tzu, but even a mixed-breed All American Dog needs a groom at least occasionally to look and feel his best.
Grooming actually entails more than just a bath. Just like humans, your furry family member needs regular physical maintenance to keep him healthy.
Start with brushing, which dogs often enjoy, and which helps stimulate their coats and remove dirt or lose hair. This is a great opportunity for you to spend time with your pup, especially as most love the attention they get with a good brushing. Their healthy coat should be relatively soft even on short or wirehaired breeds, and it should look shiny, not greasy and shouldn't smell unpleasant.
Speaking of dog odor, although your pup will be perfectly happy without a bath, a good wash will eliminate oil and dirt that builds up and causes that stink. You can bathe your pup at home in the tub, sink or shower using mild baby shampoo or suds specially formulated for tougher doggie dirt. Professional grooming usually includes a bath and blow out. Some establishments offer DIY washing stations for those who’d like to contribute the sweat equity but skip the post-bath clean up.
Overly long, tangled hair can mat and cause skin problems, so at some point Fido will probably need a trim. You can call your vet, look online or check out social media for recommendations for a reputable groomer. Make sure the groomer is experienced and familiar with your furry family member’s breed and hairstyle. If your pup is scratching or showing signs of trouble with their coat or skin, talk to your vet about what you can do to resolve the problem.
Regular trims keep nails from curling under and causing sore paws. An additional benefit, shorter claws will cause less damage to your floors and keep Fido from scratching his humans. If your pup is compliant, you can use a nail trimmer and/or Dremel tool to smooth the rough edges and handle his mani-pedi at home. Otherwise, seek help from the professionals. Pet stores often offer drop-in nail service at low cost. Your veterinarian can include a nail trim as part of an exam. Mobile groomers also may add a trim to a grooming session.
Prices vary widely, so ask about costs before scheduling.
The AKC also recommends hygienic practices such as teeth brushing and ear cleaning as essential aspects of regular dog care, regardless of the breed. Once again, you can tackle these yourself or enlist professionals. Your vet will keep you abreast of any oral health needs and may even recommend professional cleaning if tooth plaque build up becomes extensive. In the meantime, keep your pup groomed, trimmed and clean as part of his happy, healthy lifestyle.