Pet grooming is a way to make your dog look their best or perhaps to even help them look closest to the ideal standard of their breed. However grooming is also a key factor in your pet’s health and well-being. Bathing and brushing are probably one of the easiest ways we can work to keep our pets healthy. For most dogs a bath every 2-3 months is recommended. Pets that are outdoors more often and may become soiled after a hike or swim will require more frequent bathing. Bathing too often may strip a dog’s coat of essential oils and cause the skin to become dry and irritated. Care should be made not to bathe a dog when spot-on flea and tick preventative has just been applied as this can affect the efficacy of the product. Be sure to read the packaging of your pet’s monthly preventative.
No two dog breeds are equal when it comes to coat care. Coat clipping and trimming can follow breed standards or the pet owner’s needs. Summer months in particular are a popular time for “puppy cuts” in which the dog’s coat is clipped short throughout providing some dogs with a puppy-like appearance. This cut may also be a needed year-round choice for owners who find it difficult to maintain a long hair coat. For some breeds, a groomer visit may be required every 3 month while other low maintenance breeds may only require a visit twice a year. Your groomer can let you know the frequency of visits that will be needed to keep your dog’s coat looking its best.
Grooming responsibilities do not lie solely with the professional groomer. Some of the most important work is the daily care provided by the pet owner at home. Some breeds may require daily brushing to keep mats from forming in their hair coat while others may need attention weekly. Mats are tangles that when left alone can become painful and debilitating to a pet. Mats on the limbs can start to affect circulation to the feet and even inhibit movement. Mats on the belly or hind end can affect urination and defecation abilities of a pet as well. The most common locations for mats to form are: behind the ears, between back legs, along the back of the haunches, in the groin area underneath front legs, and under the collar. Difficult mats and full body mats may require a hygienic full body clip. In severe cases, sedation may be necessary for the pet’s safety and comfort to achieve this goal.
Regular attention to your dog’s grooming needs not only benefits them with day to day comfort and health but can also benefit as part of preventative care. Regular grooming helps monitor pets for the presence of fleas and ticks. It is often during grooming sessions that growths and skin issues are discovered, particularly in aging pets and help your veterinarian to address these issues early. If you are unsure about your pet’s grooming needs be sure to talk to our veterinarians. They can offer recommendations of the needs of your pet as well as a list of trusted dog groomers in the area. Keep them looking good by helping them feel good!