Posted 24th Apr 2017
Taking your dog to a professional groomer every six to eight weeks is an important part of helping them to look and feel their best. But, it’s also vital that you carry out some maintenance at home between appointments. This will help to keep your pet as healthy and happy as possible.
Christine Garrett from Millbry Hill has competed in a wide range of dog shows, including Crufts, with her Akitas. Here, she explains how you can keep your dog looking its best between professional grooming appointments. Read on to find out more.
Brush their coat daily
Brushing is arguably the most important aspect of a dog’s grooming routine. As well as helping your dog to look great, it removes dead hair and distributes the natural oils to keep your pet’s coat and skin healthy. It also improves your dog’s circulation and reduces stress for both of you! So, it’s a good idea to brush your dog every day if possible.
To keep your dog’s coat in good condition, you’ll need the right tools: a bristle or wire-pin brush, and wide- and fine-toothed combs. You should start by combing your fingers through your dog’s fur to find any matts and loosen them where possible. Then, use a brush to smooth out the majority of your dog’s coat, and finally go in with a comb to tease out any stubborn knots that are left.
This should only take five minutes or so if you brush your dog’s hair every day, and will reduce the risk of you having to deal with any serious matting or knots down the line.
Bathe them regularly
How often you should wash your dog depends on a lot of factors, such as how much time they spend outdoors, what kind of coat they have, and what kind of mischief they get up to. As a general guide, you should look to wash your dog every four weeks or so, but the best way to tell whether your pet needs a bath is by using your nose.
If your dog suffers from dry, greasy, or itchy skin, it’s wise to ask your vet what kind of shampoo is most suitable for them. But, if they don’t have any particular skin complaints, a good-quality, gentle pet shampoo should do the trick. Unless your dog has very dry fur, you shouldn’t require a conditioner.
When washing your dog, make sure that the water is a comfortable temperature at all times, and try to get everything done as quickly as possible. Some dogs can get quite anxious at bath time, so be prepared for a bit of splashing and keep a reassuring hand on them at all times.
Clean their ears once a week
In order to clean your dog’s ears, you will need a specialised ear cleaner, some cotton wool, and a treat or two to keep your pooch happy. You should never poke around in your dog’s ear with a cotton wool bud, as this will push any wax or debris further into their ears, and potentially damage their ear drums.
Before starting, make sure your dog is happy and relaxed. When you’re both ready, place a small amount of cleaning solution in your dog’s ear and massage the base of it. At this point, your pet will want to shake its head, and you should let it. This will get rid of most of the solution. Now, take a piece of cotton wool and gently wipe the inside of your dog’s ear to mop up the residue. You can then move on to the other side.
You should repeat this process until the cotton wool you’re using stops picking up any ear wax. And remember to give your dog a well-deserved treat once you’re done.
Check their coat, skin, and body for any changes
The condition of your dog’s skin and coat is a good indicator of how healthy it is. Plus, many pets develop lumps and bumps, or lose weight when they’re poorly. If you make an effort to check your dog over on a regular basis, you will be more likely to catch any of these problems early if they do arise.
You should start by checking that your dog’s coat feels smooth and healthy. Then, you should run your hands through your pet’s hair to check if there are any lumps that shouldn’t be there. If your dog flinches when you’re checking a certain area, you might want to consult a vet who can properly investigate what the problem is.
You should also assess what is happening beneath your dog’s fur. By doing a quick body check, you’ll get a good idea of what its muscles, fat, and bones feel like. If you do this on a regular basis, you should be able to identify any changes that need to be looked at by a professional.
Stick to a grooming appointment routine
You should schedule a grooming appointment for your dog every six to eight weeks. Although, if your dog has longer hair, you might want to make them more frequent.
While sticking to an at-home grooming routine will help to keep your dog looking its best, certain jobs such as trimming their nails and coat are best left to a professional. So, taking your dog to a groomer on a regular basis is still any important part of keeping your pet happy and healthy.
By following the tips laid out here you should find that your dog looks much better between grooming appointments. Plus, by cleaning their ears and checking for any changes in their skin or coat, you’ll be able to ensure they’re always as healthy and happy as possible.