A happy dog takes a sudsy bath.

Pooch Pampering: Grooming Your Dog Like a Pro

For some dog owners, it may seem pointless at first. You set aside time each day or week for grooming your canine companion, carefully and lovingly brushing and cleaning their beautiful coat. With a comb and a bath, you ensure their coat is clean and devoid of mats, tangles, fleas, and ticks.

Yet, once your task is complete, your dog immediately commences undoing your efforts. They head outdoors and locate mud and burrs, showing little appreciation for your grooming abilities and seemingly working every bit as hard to “ungroom” themselves.

But, before you become discouraged by this “game” you and your pooch play, this constant cycle of grooming-and-ungrooming, it’s important to recognize grooming’s true value. While we all prefer not to have a stinky companion, grooming is about much more than simply smelling and looking good – it’s about promoting your dog’s overall well-being.

Not only does regular grooming relax a dog and offer human-canine bonding time, but it also affords the owner an opportunity to inspect the dog for overall health. This type of inspection can address problems ranging from lumps and cuts to ticks and skin conditions to dirty ears and eye health.

At the end of a proper grooming session, both owner and dog should be feeling good about the experience.

Grooming Your Dog

Although it’s often overlooked, grooming represents an essential component to your dog’s health program. Routine brushing and combing removes dead hair and dirt while preventing matting. Because it stimulates the blood supply to the skin, grooming also gives your canine a healthier and shinier coat.

Start regular grooming when you first bring your dog home and make it part of their daily or weekly routine. Purchase a quality brush and comb and get your dog used to being handled. Praise your dog when they hold still and, soon, they will come to enjoy the extra attention.

A proper grooming regimen should consist of:

Top Medical Reasons for Grooming Your Dog

Regular grooming isn’t just for show dogs – it’s important for making any dog a model of strong health. Brushing your dog will help keep their coat clean and free of hair mats, which can be irritating and cause skin disease under the hair. Most dogs enjoy being combed and will eagerly await this part of their routine.

During a grooming session, focus on inspecting:

Grooming Supplies for Dogs

The right supplies will make regular grooming both manageable and enjoyable for dog owners. A full grooming arsenal should encompass items for both brushing and bathing. It’s generally recommended to brush your canine prior to bathing because wet hair is much more difficult to work through with a comb or brush.

Supplies that typically prove handy for regular grooming purposes include:

How to Bathe Your Dog

It’s no secret that most canines are not particularly fond of getting a bath. However, bathing serves many health-related functions beyond eliminating “doggy” stench. In addition to removing old hair, dirt, and oil from your dog’s skin, it affords owners a prime opportunity to examine their canines for skin abnormalities and parasites.

With regards to bathing frequency, different breeds and lifestyles will dictate how often your dog requires bathing and what sort of pet shampoos work best. If your dog spends a lot of time playing outdoors, chances are they’ll need a bath more frequently. Excessive bathing, such as every week, will remove vital oils from your dog’s coat, causing their skin to dry out. Dogs with smooth coats generally require fewer baths.

Here are additional tips to keep in mind when bathing your canine companion:

How to Pick a Dog Groomer

Whether due to time constraints or the need for expertise, many dog owners seek assistance from a professional groomer. When doing so, your veterinarian represents a good starting point. Many vets are familiar with area groomers and can offer a recommendation based on your breed, and some even provide grooming services at their facility.

Make an appointment to talk to the groomer first. Ask questions about his/her experience and training. Once you find a groomer you feel comfortable with, it’s time to hand over your precious companion. Most groomers ask that you refrain from waiting on-site for your pet. The pet will pick up on your anxiety, making the experience traumatic. It’s best to drop your dog off dirty and pick them up looking and feeling like a million bucks.