Common Dog Grooming Issues
Grooming a dog can be an owner's challenge in many ways. Getting around these issues can be quite a headache, from bathing, brushing, and mats to managing the dog's behavior during grooming. Less experienced pet owners should come to understand these concerns and find ways of dealing with them. If you don't plan on grooming your dog yourself, you'll need to know how to choose a good dog groomer.
Common Concerns About Pet Grooming
Pet grooming can be the ultimate of frustrations for pet owners. If you're a new owner looking to groom your dog for the very first time, or a more experienced one in search of a few pointers, here are a few things that you might be concerned with.
There are no firm guidelines as to how often you should bathe your dog, though you can expect that the more active it is, the more bathing it will require. Hair texture also plays a part in how often bathing is needed. The wiry and curly hair of breeds like Schnauzers and West Highland Terriers often need more bathing than long or silky haired dogs.
Bathing is needed to:
- remove dirt and debris
- facilitate the removal of dead hair
- improve the coat's appearance
For most dogs, regular brushing will eliminate the need for frequent baths. It's important to use a shampoo labeled "for dogs." While shampoos for humans lean to the acidic side, canine skin is ph neutral and require shampoos just for them.
When bathing a dog, use lukewarm water. Remember to wipe the under surfaces of ears to remove any dead skin or wax. Be thorough and ensure that the water gets through to its skin.
Again, the amount of brushing a dog requires depends on its lifestyle. The more active the dog, the more brushing it requires. Most dogs require brushing at least every other day.
Brushing is an important step to take to reduce matting. When brushing, don't forget to brush behind the dog's ears and the hair on its belly, as these are often neglected areas.
Your pet might be experiencing a grooming session for the first time, or have a fierce dislike for grooming. It's always good to schedule sessions for when your dog is relaxed and not given to abrupt, restless movements that might cause him and you injury.
Keep sessions short and gradually lengthen them until your dog becomes accustomed to the sessions.
These are nasty entanglements on a dog's topcoat or undercoat. They usually start if a dog loves playing in the water. Silky or long-haired coats tend to be susceptible to mats. Choose good brushes, as the wrong ones can weaken a dog's coat and cause more matting.
Start by using your fingers, working with the matted hair from outside in. Brush it apart gradually. When brushing the armpits, use the triangular-shaped slicker brush. You may wish to clip them out with a blunt-nosed scissors if you find that the brushing is causing the dog too much discomfort.
For bigger mats, use a mat splitter carefully, working from outside in. Smaller sections of hair are harder to untangle. Use a wide-toothed comb to pick and loosen the hair.
Dematting spray is a useful tool to have. Apply it to make the mat removal process easier.
Dealing With Dog Grooming Issues
Dependent on the dog's lifestyle and hair type.
At least once every other day.
Restless or aggressive behavior
Keep sessions short.
Work from outside in, clipping In sensitive areas.
Use restraints for difficult dogs and beware of overheating from dryers.
Choosing a groomer
Ensure he has requisite training, maintains a calm shop and is ready to handle tough to handle dogs appropriately.
If you are grooming your dog yourself and know that your pet is prone to aggression when a grooming session is on, there are precautions you can take.
- Have a pair of bite-proof gloves ready. Muzzles of the right size for your dog should also be available.
- Have gentle, secure restraints. If you're using a pet grooming table, make sure that it has a noose with a quick release in case you need to release the dog quickly.
- Ensure that your pet is dry after grooming as moisture can lead to moist eczema. If you're using a dryer, watch for signs of discomfort and don't leave your dog under the dryer for too long a time.
- When brushing, snipping or clipping near the eyes, take precautions. Proper facial restraints should always be used.
Choosing a Dog Groomer
With our busy lifestyles, grooming a dog can be a definite chore. You may wish to turn to a good dog groomer if you simply cannot afford the time to groom your own dog. Choosing a reliable, trustworthy one
requires a little know-how.
A qualified dog groomer should have good credentials, just like any other professional. Weed out the ones who claim that they are "experts", but are actually just looking to dog grooming as a way to eke out a quick and easy living. He should preferably be a member of an accredited association like the Dog Groomers Association of America.
Choose a Clean, Calm Shop
The pets in the groomers shop should not be frantic. If they are, it's definitely not a good sign as the groomer may have been a little rough. Excessive barking should ring alarm bells. Dogs and cats should be kept apart and the shop, clean and hygienic, with hair frequently swept. Cages should have enough space for dogs. The pets should always be monitored to prevent overheating from drying. He should also keep good records of your pet's needs.
Always ask how the groomer handles difficult dogs. If he hedges on the answer or says something in the vein of "we do get a little tough", leave immediately. A groomer should never administer a drug to calm a dog as he is not qualified to do so. That should only be done by a qualified veterinary professional.
The Groomer Should Ask Questions
The groomer should ask you how old your dog if he has been to a groomer before. He should also ask about the dog's sensitive spots or if he has allergic reactions to chemicals. A good question to ask is if the dog has problems socializing. The groomer should be interested in making the experience as pleasant for the dog as he can.
Depending on factors like the severity of matting, size of the dog or difficulty of the cut, grooming should cost between $40 to $80. Always check the prices of several groomers to make an informed decision about which professional to consult.
Grooming a dog means bearing a few things in mind, no matter if it's done by yourself or a professional.
What is your greatest grooming concern?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.