For many dogs, personal grooming means liberally anointing themselves in the stinkiest substance they can find in the local park. Owners, who understandably have floors and sofas to worry about, have different ideas. Keeping your canine well-groomed is essential, not just for the benefit of your interiors, but to avoid matting, help with shedding, and keep your pup looking fresh. Here’s our guide to everything you need to know.
HOW TO DO IT
As with many things, the best time to introduce grooming to your dog is when they’re still a puppy. This is a time to get them used to the motions, and maybe even persuade them to enjoy the process. Keep treats on hand, and take things gradually. Depending on what kind of coat your canine has, you’ll need to invest in the right brush, and perhaps a stripping comb if your pup has wiry fur. The season also makes a difference, as many dogs moult twice yearly – so be prepared for extra pampering sessions when those winter and summer coats are being shed. Always brush in the direction of the hair growth, and if you do encounter any tough matts, try some coat conditioner and a wide toothed comb to get it out.
WHY YOU NEED TO DO IT
Dead hair and dirt can get trapped in a dog’s coat, creating tangles that can in turn cause irritation and infection. Dogs with a lot of fur can easily develop matts, which are best avoided with regular brushing. As well as a chance to bond with your pup, some research suggests grooming can even help reduce humans’ stress levels. Giving them a good brush is an excuse to check them over for fleas, injuries, and bring out the natural oils that keep that fur looking shiny.
SHORT AND MEDIUM HAIRED BREEDS
Luckily, these coats don’t matt so easily, but still need attention every couple of weeks. Rubber mitts can help loosen dirt and dead hair to begin with, which can then be removed with a bristle brush. If your dog has knots and tangles, a pinhead brush can help gently encourage these out.
LONG HAIRED BREEDS
Owners of especially fluffy mutts have a bigger job on their hands, and should be prepared for a weekly session. Long-haired breeds that have an undercoat (such as old English sheepdogs) or a double coat, can matt easily, which means an undercoat rake is needed to remove all the dead fur, before finishing up with a comb or bristle brush.
WIRE AND CURLY COATED BREEDS
Owners of wiry and curly coated dogs such as Airedales and poodles don’t have to worry about shedding, but still need to do some regular maintenance. Wire coated dogs will need a stripping comb to thin their coat (it’s worth watching a YouTube tutorial first, as this can be tricky), followed by a slicker brush. Curly pups should be given a good going over with a soft brush.
OTHER THINGS TO REMEMBER
While you’ve got your dog all zen-ned out from a grooming session, this is the perfect time to do some extras – if they need it. That means cleaning their ears, trimming nails, and wiping between the folds on any squashy-faced breeds such as bulldogs or pugs.
Take a peak at our favourite natural and gentle dog shampoos and conditioners in our online shop.
Does your dog love to be groomed? Share your top tips with us in the comments below!