Many owners decide to take their pets to the local dog groomers for the provision of coat care. This is a great option but if you are new to dog ownership, make sure you go to a groomers that has been recommended by your friend or dog breeder – you may even want to pay the groomers a visit yourself before taking your dog there. However, for those of you brave enough to take on the challenge of coat care yourselves; why not click on the link below to listen further to our tips on grooming in three simple stages:
1. Preparation and brushing
- Make sure you have all the necessary supplies to begin grooming before you get your dog ready.
- Always brush your dog first. Long hair is much more likely to matt than short hair; however matts must be removed before you get your dog wet as they can become unmanageable when water is added! Most people like to start on the neck of their dog and work their way down its body, leaving the head until last. Speak to your dog’s breeder or search on-line to find out the best types of comb and brush to use depending on your dog’s breed and coat type.
- Make sure you praise and reward your dog throughout the brushing process.
- Now is the time to perform any final clipping or trimming that needs to be done before the bath. This can include trimming excess fur from around the eyes, ears and feet as well as clipping claws, cleaning the ears (only as advised by your vet), brushing the teeth and cleansing the eyes with cotton wool and cool, pre-boiled water.
- Only now is your pet ready to get wet! It is advisable to remove their regular collar and replace it with one that does not matter if it gets wet. If your dog is scared of the bath you will need to take special measures as advised by your vet to try and desensitise them to the bath before causing them any further stress.
- It is usually easiest to wash your dog under a running shower. Sitting them in a bath and using the shower attachment on the tap is a good option. Make sure you check the temperature of the water on a sensitive area of your own skin, such as your wrist (just as you would do for a baby), before you use the water on your dog. Running a bath for your pet is not such a good option; you will find that your dog will soon be sitting in very dirty water and this won’t be a practical way to clean them. Many dogs are more likely to panic in deeper water as well. If your bath is slippery, ensure you use a non-slip mat to help support your pet. Groomers may have slings and special leads to help your pet feel secure. Once your pet is comfortable, thoroughly rinse their coat all over, taking extreme care in particular around the head area.
- Once the coat is thoroughly wet, you can apply the shampoo. Only use a shampoo that has been given the ok by your vet, particularly if your pet has sensitive skin. It is also best to ask your vet or dog breeder how often they recommend shampooing your pet. Too infrequently and they may become smelly but too frequently and you may start to dry their skin. Sometimes it is easier to wash your pet in a diluted version of the shampoo. Don’t get any shampoo near the eyes, ears, mouth or nose.
- When the shampoo has been evenly applied you can then thoroughly rinse your pet. Keep rinsing them until the water runs clear and you can see neither soap bubbles nor dirty water running off.
- Now you can dry your pet. Towel drying is best; make sure you also remember to get the fur between the toes totally dry. If it is a warm day you may then be able to leave your pet to fully dry off naturally, depending on their breed. Otherwise you can blow dry your pet but you must make sure that your hair drier is on a cool setting and carefully check it won’t burn your dog by testing it on your own skin first. Burn injuries caused by hot driers can be life-threatening. Specifically designed hair-driers for dogs may be a better option but extreme care still needs to be taken.
- Finally remove your dog’s temporary collar and replace it with their permanent one once they are totally dry.