What Are My Options: Grooming

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When you take your dog to the groomer, your pet usually comes out looking spiffy. However, grooming isn’t just about looks. Dog haircuts help ensure that your dog stays clean and comfortable throughout the year. Most groomers recommend that you perform dog grooming every 6 to 8 weeks, however, this could depend on the breed of dog, time of year, and desired dog hair style. Knowing your options ahead of time can help you communicate with the groomer and set up a productive grooming schedule.

What Does Grooming Entail?

Grooming is a general expression that may refer to a variety of procedures. This guide to grooming explains that grooming can include bathing, shampooing, blow drying, haircuts, trimming the nails, or expressing the anal glands. You can groom your dog yourself or bring the dog to a professional. Many pet owners feel comfortable washing their dogs or trimming their nails, however, they may not be as proficient at styling their dog’s fur, this is where a good groomer will come into the picture. Sure, you could simply buzz the dog with trimmers but some dogs are extremely sensitive or don’t like the noise. Additionally, you might not know how short or long to make the cut and working around some of the more sensitive areas such as  the paws, tail and face can be difficult. Grooming a dog requires special tools and a lot of practice, but with the right knowledge you can become a home grooming pro.

Typical Dog Haircut Styles

When you go to the groomer, you may just want to lop off some fur to keep your dog cooler in the summer. If you have a particular result in mind, you should know how to use the right “groomer-speak.” When speaking with your groomer always be sure to specify  the length as well as the areas that you want the groomer to trim even if you’re using one of the terms below.

Teddy Bear Trim

According to Pet Helpful, the teddy bear cut is also known as the puppy cut. The length is usually uniform all over the body and is supposed to resemble the length of your dog’s fur when it was a puppy. Typically, the fur is usually left about ½-inch to 1-inch long. The style of the cut around the face may differ. Some groomers leave the hair on the legs longer when they do a teddy bear trim. The hair around the face is often left untouched with this type of style.

Lamb Trim

A lamb trim is similar to a teddy bear cut but with this style the fur on the legs may be cut shorter. The fur around the face may also be trimmed as opposed to left untouched as it would be with the teddy bear style.

Summer Cut

In the summer, you can keep your long-haired dog cool by shearing its fur. A summer cut is usually an all-over short style with some preferring to leave the ear and tail hair longer.

Kennel Cut

Kennel cuts are traditionally very short. Some groomers consider a kennel cut to be the same as a puppy trim so make sure that you know what you’re getting by thoroughly discussing your wants and needs with your groomer prior to starting the appointment.

The philosophy behind a kennel cut is that you would only keep your hunting or show dog’s fur short during the offseason. Hunting dogs may need to keep their long coats to protect them from the elements when they’re outdoors and show dogs are meticulously styled during the show season. Longer coats require more upkeep than shorter coats, and some owners prefer to take a break from that maintenance whenever they can.

Breed Cut

Each breed has a traditional cut. Some require more maintenance than others. Breeds that have especially distinct styles are schnauzers, spaniels, and poodles. Our breed profiles can offer a look at what each breed cut is traditionally meant to look like.

Top Knot

Many owners of small dogs prefer to keep the hair on the head pulled into a top knot. This can prevent the hair from getting in the eyes, top knots are often times accented with bows for added style and fun.

Tips for Deciding on Dog Hair Styles

Should you keep your dog groomed with a long or short cut? One thing to consider is your dog’s comfort. Does your dog’s fur get tangled frequently? Does dirt or poop get stuck in the fur? Does your dog’s fur get wet when it urinates? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, tell your groomer. A professional will be able to cut certain areas to an appropriate length to prevent these issues.


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