Grooming is an important aspect of proper dog care, and can become even more important depending on your pooch's breed. Grooming not only promotes your dog's good health, but also avoids skin conditions, helps them feel comfortable and cool, and avoids painful issues like knots and mats in their hair. Here, our Johns Creek vets provide some information on the basics of grooming your dog.
The Basics of Dog Grooming
Your dog's own specific grooming requirements will depend on the breed, the lifestyle, and the coat of your poocj. Dogs that spend lots of time outside or who have very long or thick coats will require some more grooming than dogs with short hair or dogs that spend lots of time indoors.
With that being said, all dogs require routine basic grooming to help them feel (and look) their best.
Starting a regular grooming routine while your pet is young is key to making grooming calm and enjoyable activity for you and your dog.
Routinely bathing your dog will help to remove dirt and debris from their coat and help your pooch smell fresh. Bathe your dog in warm water and use a specially formulated shampoo to help clean your pup's fur. Don't use human shampoo on your dog, since human formulations may cause dryness and irritation on your dog's skin, which neither of you wants.
Make sure you rinse your pup thoroughly to make sure that all of the shampoo has been removed. If your dog has long or difficult fur, use dog-specici detangling condition to make their brushing process after their bath easier.
Short-haired dogs may not need to be bathed more than once every 3 months, however dogs with longer fur, or very active outdoor lifestyles, may benefit from a monthly plunge. If you're unsure of how often you should bathe your dog, once a month is a good rule of thumb.
Many dogs enjoy the brushing process. Brushing your dg routinely helps to prevent matting, will remove old hair from your dog's coat and will help to prevent irritation to their skin. Brushing your dog weekly will also promote skin health in your dog in addition to reducing the amount of fur floating around your home.
For most dogs, weekly brushing is ideal, although some breeds such as Portuguese Water Dogs or Bichon Frises will need to be brushed more frequently to keep their coat looking great.
Nail trims are critical for all dogs breeds to varying degrees. Trimming your dog's nails will require nail clippers that are specifically designed for our canine companions. Some dogs will react better to rotary nail trimmers, also called grinders, but they take a little longer to use.
If you are nervous about cutting your dog's nails, or if your dog won't tolerate you trimming their nails, make an appointment with a professional groomer. A trained groomer can get your dog's nails trimmed quickly and calmly so you won't have to worry.
Different breeds have very different requirements when it comes to haircuts. Speak to your Johns Creek vet to find out how often your dog should have a haircut.
In order to give your dog a haircut, start with bathing and towel-drying them. Next, take a sharp pair of scissors that won't tug on their hair and skin, and trim their fur around with face and feet. Use electric clippers to trim the rest of their fur to the desired length.
Professional groomers have all the tools to make haircuts for your dog quick and easy. If you'd like to leave your dog's haircut to the professionals, contact us for more information.
Mats and Knots In Your Dog's Coat
When the above basic grooming processes aren't routinely performed on your dog, either at home or at a professional grooming facility, there are a number of consequences for both your dog's health and comfort. First and foremost among these health issues are mats and knots in your dog's coat.
As your dog goes about their day-to-day life, they naturally shed some of their coat and the remaining hair may get mussed up by rolling around on the ground, running, or just laying on the floor. The 'dead' hair that they have shed may become trapped within their coat, becoming tangled.
As your dog's coat and their shed hair become knotted and tangled together over time, they turn into mats, which are very dense knots of hair that can be uncomfortable for your dog and may contribute to health issues affecting your pooch's skin and coat.
Health Issues Caused by Matting
While it may seem like mats may only affect your dog's comfort by lightly tugging on their skin, there are a number of health issues that can develop directly as a result of, or indirectly because of matting in your dog's coat. The following are some of the health issues that may be caused by matting in the coat of your canine companion:
- Trapped moisture within the mat can contribute to irritation and even open sores on your dog's skin below the mat.
- The pulling on your dog's skin by the bunching of their coat into a mat can make them very uncomfortable at the best of times.
- Severe matting can even cut off circulation to your dog's skin, causing the development of hematoma (a serious kind of bruise).
As if this all weren't bad enough, matting can be painful and time-consuming to remove too, making it much better to avoid the issue in the first place.
Treating Mats in Your Dog
While you may be inclined to think the solution to matting in your dog's coat is as simple as cutting the matted areas out of their fur, it isn't that simple. It actually can be quite dangerous to cut mats out with scissors, since you run the real risk of cutting your dog's skin in an area where it is held taut by the matting - recipe for an emergency veterinary visit.
Instead, if your dog has a matted coat, bring them to a professional groomer for dedicated de-matting treatment. Depending on the severity of the mats in your dog's coat, your groomer will use one of two treatments to alleviate your dog's discomfort and pain:
- De-matting treatment: This involves carefully working to release the mats one small section at a time using specialized de-matting tools and brushing.
- Grooming Clippers: In the case of severe mats, where the above treatment would either be too expensive, time-consuming, or even altogether impossible, a groomer may use special grooming clippers to 'buzz' off most of your dog's coat to remove their mats quickly.
If your dog has matting in their coat, don't try to remove them yourself, not only do you run the risk of injuring your dog, but the process is uncomfortable and painful for your pooch, and you may run the risk of your dog thinking your are intentionally hurting them! A professional groomer has the tools and training to help ensure your dog's de-matting treatment goes as smoothly as possible.