How to groom your dog
Daily care can improve the health, hygiene and happiness of your pet.
Regular grooming of your dog from an early age is a useful part of their training and can make a big difference to their wellbeing. As well as benefiting your dog’s health and hygiene, the process is soothing and should help them to become more familiar with human contact.
Dogs with a clean and untangled coat have less chance of developing skin problems, while healthy eyes, ears and tails are more likely to avoid fungal infections and other problems.
Certain breeds of dogs, such as the West Highland White Terrier, require regular haircuts at a pet groomers to keep their coat in a particular shape.
The right type of grooming for your dog
Short or wire-haired breeds
Although their coats tend to become less tangled, they still moult and require regular brushing.
Border terriers may feel cooler and their coats look smoother if they are professionally stripped out, which means having their warm undercoat removed.
Long-haired breeds and thick coats
It’s easy for sticks, grass seeds and mud to become caught in their fur, so it’s best to groom them every day. In muddy weather, it might be worth giving them a professional groom.
The hair around their eyes will need regular trimming to maintain good vision, while professional clipping will keep them cooler in the summer months.
Even hairless dogs need some special attention. In particular, you should apply sunscreen to their skin before they go outdoors.
From time to time, you might notice your dog is giving off an unpleasant ‘doggy smell’. If they are smelling a little stronger than usual or simply looking dirty, it’s time to give them a bath. Be prepared to get wet, as dogs enjoy having a good shake several times during the bathing process.
Bathing your dog in five simple steps
1. Use a mild pet shampoo, unless your dog has been prescribed a medicated shampoo.
2. Always use warm water, never very hot or cold.
3. Wash your dog in the bath and use the shower head for rinsing.
4. Once you’ve rinsed them thoroughly, dry with a towel or hairdryer.
5. Keep them indoors until they’re dry in order to prevent any chills.
There are no hard and fast rules about how often you should bathe your dog. But if their coat is clean and shiny and they don’t smell, there is no need to wash them. In fact, unnecessary bathing can actually do a dog’s skin more harm than good by stripping their natural oils.
Dogs with a persistently smelly coat or unhealthy looking skin may benefit from a vet check-up to ensure there are no underlying causes.
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