Knowledge of basic grooming is a must for the dog owner. While many breeds can get by with regular nail trims, brushing, and bathing, some breeds need special coat care—such as stripping or clipping—to look their best. Here are some basic grooming hints and techniques that will help you keep your dog clean and beautiful.
- We recommend that you brush your dog’s coat daily, whether she has a long or short coat. This will remove dead hairs and flaky skin, and it will distribute natural oils throughout her coat. It will also give you quality time with your pooch. Dogs usually enjoy being brushed, because it feels like vigorous petting. Rub your moistened hands through your pet’s coat to lift dead hairs to the surface where your brush can reach them. This is also a great time to check your pet for hair mats, burrs (especially between the toes), sores, or lumps under her skin.
- Shedding: All dogs shed to some extent. Some breeds, like the Poodle, Portuguese Water Dog, and Basenji, are light shedders. Others, like the Golden Retriever, Samoyed, Collie, and German Shepherd, are heavy shedders. Bichons, Cockers, and many terriers require clipping or stripping (a process that removes dead hair from the coat) to look their best.
- Inform Yourself: Check with breeders and groomers and read books specific to your dog’s breed to understand the best way to maintain his coat. You can learn to clip or shave your dog yourself, or you can pay to have it done professionally. If your pet sheds excessively, brush him daily and try switching to a high-quality diet. (Remember to switch to new food gradually.) A vitamin supplement that contains essential fatty acids might decrease some of the shedding and will add luster to his coat.
By Dr. Kim Robertson