Dog grooming is an essential part of pet parenthood. Americans spend more than $6 billion every year on services such as grooming and boarding. The grooming industry is expected to grow more than 22 per cent by 2026. Besides making your dog’s coat shiny and keeping odour at bay, regular dog grooming is vital for overall health.

How Often Dog Visit a Veterinarian?

Dogs usually do not visit a veterinarian as often as their groomers. Taking your dog to see a groomer regularly is another way of keeping an eye on your dog. Says Sarah Lutz, a professional groomer with Woofie’s Pet Sitting. Dog Walking and Mobile Pet Spa in Ashburn, Virginia”. 

Many times, a groomer finds a health issue or an injury with a dog and brings it to the owner’s attention.

But even if you recognize the importance of grooming your dog’s well-being, it’s easy for new pet parents to feel overwhelmed. 

How often should you bathe your dog? 

Which dog nail clippers should you use? Is all dog shampoo created equal?

Have no fear—we’ve got you. This dog grooming survival guide will prepare you for all things grooming relates and how to handle trips to the pet salon to easy-to-follow tips for at-home care. Let’s get started.

The Importance of Dog Grooming

Your dog’s coat, whether curly or straight, long or short—isn’t just decoration. So keeping it in good shape is a crucial part of responsible pet ownership. “Your dog’s coat plays an important role in protecting your dog from the elements.” Says Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer for the American Kennel Club. “It helps keep your dog warm in the winter and can even help keep your dog fresh in the summer. 

A Clean Coat Works Best.

Brushing and cleaning your dog’s coat will ensure your dog’s hair stays healthy and mat-free. Mats are tangled clumps of fur that can lead to serious health issues. “Matted fur can adhere to the skin, causing severe skin ailments and infections,” adds Klein. “It can also be harrowing for the dog.”

Regular grooming helps prevent ear infections and paw problems caused by broken or ingrown nails. Grooming also provides an excellent opportunity to check your dog for harmful parasites like fleas and ticks.

“Regular grooming allows you to carefully inspect all parts of your dog. So if your do find a tick, you can easily and quickly remove it,” says Klein. “The more quickly the tick is removed, the less likely it will have transmitted disease to the dog.”

How Often Should You Groom Your Dog?

The length of time between grooming appointments and at-home grooming sessions will vary from dog to dog. “The frequency of grooming depends on the dog’s breed, coat texture, [hair] length. Whether or not they are a breed that easily mats or tangles,” says Bonnie. She recommends that longer-haired breeds be trim every week. The Bearded Collie, Maltese, and Bernese Mountain Dog are cut and trimmed approximately every six weeks.

The frequency of bathing is also dependent on the type of dog you have. “Many dogs will benefit from being bathed every six to eight weeks. However, others can go four to six months between baths,” says Marcie. At the very least, he adds, all dogs should be bathed at least twice per year.

Daily Brushing Of The Dog’s Coat And Teeth

Patti also stresses the importance of consistent at-home dental care. “Daily brushing of the dog’s coat and teeth will keep both in good shape,” she says. “Frequent tooth brushing will help reduce the risk of costly dental problems as your dog age. It can even help you avoid the need for professional cleanings.” If you rely solely on your groomer to keep your dog’s teeth clean, this is not nearly enough brushing and will not prevent dental disease. The use of enzymatic toothpaste and tartar control treats is beneficial at maintaining oral health.

Preparing Your Dog for the Groomer

Taking your dog to a professional groomer can be stressful. If pet parents don’t properly make it, “it’s essential to condition the dog to be comfortable. 

To help your dog get comfortable with grooming tools, try slowly introducing your dog to items like brushes and dog nail clippers at home. It’s recommended to start out by only showing your dog the elements. Use treats to help your dog associate positive rewards with each item. 

Show the tools and reward your dog during the first few sessions, then move on to bringing the grooming tool near your dog and offering a treat. Actually, using the devices should only come after your dog has developed an overall comfort. And has a positive association with the grooming tool.

The Dog’s Body Language

“Make sure you understand the dog’s body language and when they are showing stress signals. A few of the common stress signals are tongue flicks, head-turning to the side, scratching and yawning,” says Bonnie

 “Pet parents should handle these cues by giving the dog space and taking a break from the grooming or handling exercise. When you go to attempt a handling lesson again, go slower, work more gently, or work from a greater distance.”

Dog Grooming Facility

When visiting a dog grooming facility, have your dog’s paperwork readily accessible and practice safety in the waiting area. “Have your dog’s updated vaccine documents from your veterinarian on hand as many groomers will require them. And always make sure you have a leash and collar on your pet or have them in a carrier. You never know how other dogs will react to your dog, and they may run off if unexpectedly spooked.”

Tips for Dog Grooming at Home

How to keep your dog clean between professional dog grooming appointments. It is vital to practice grooming care at home. This includes consistently brushing your dog’s coat, trimming your dog’s nails, and cleaning your dog’s ears.

“A groomer or a veterinarian can teach a pet parent to properly clean ears and trim nails at home.” “And regular, proper brushing at home helps prevent mats, reduce shedding, and delay the undercoat from accumulating.”

All pet parents should have some necessary dog grooming supplies on hand at home. These include:

Always use grooming and hygiene products that are specially formulated for dogs. Human shampoos can be harmful to a dog’s skin, and toothpaste formulated for humans may contain toxic ingredients.

Dental Products Approve For Your Dog

It is critical to only use dental products approved for use on a dog. Don’t use human dental products that contain xylitol, which is poisonous to dogs. If you are uncertain about how to brush your dog’s teeth, or what products to use, consult with your veterinarian.

Although bathing your dog at home between grooming appointments is not always necessary. “During inclement weather, a dog can collect dirt and mud on their coats. So bathing between grooming is recommended if they become especially dirty. “However, never bathe a dog at home if the coat is matted, as this exacerbates the problem.”

If you need to bathe your dog at home, make sure to introduce your dog to the bathtub or bathing area before cleaning begins. Encourage your dog with light petting while in the tub and reward him with treats. When it’s time for a bath, have all of your supplies ready and pet-proof the area. Make sure your dog has secure footing to prevent slipping and some form of restraint so you can concentrate on the task.

Stressed During Dog Grooming

 The most exciting thing for dogs who are particularly stressed during bath time is a rubber ducky. “You can buy food toys with suction cups and fix them to the wall or the sink.” Some dogs will distract themselves with this during the bath. Peanut butter smeared on the side of the tub is also an effective method of distraction.

When grooming dogs at home, use caution, and ensure the safety and comfort of your dog. If misused, says Patty, dog grooming tools like scissors and clippers can cut or injure your dog. And during at-home bathing and grooming, it’s essential to keep a close eye on your pup. “Any dog can get injured jumping out of a tub or off a table,” Klein adds. “So make certain that the dog is secure. Never leave a dog unattended in a tub or on a table.”

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