is very important; especially at the puppy stage. We at Classy Paws believe that
your puppy's first professional grooming should not be traumatic and should be done as
soon as your puppy has been fully vaccinated (usually 16 weeks of age.) Grooming
should be done every four to seven weeks depending on the breed of your pet.
grooming will make your pet more pleasurable to hold and love, while enhancing your pet's
comfort and appearance.
All dogs need grooming, but some dogs need more
grooming than others. Although they are
unlikely to develop mats or tangles, except around the ears or on the feathered legs of
some breeds, medium-coated and short-coated dogs do need periodic grooming to keep coats
and skin healthy. Grooming during shedding helps move the process along, lessen the hairy
tumbleweeds in the family room, and encourage the growth of new coat.
Dog hair grows and dies just as human hair does. Some dogs,
particularly hard-coated terriers and Poodles, hang on to their dead hair, thus requiring
special grooming to remove it. Other dogs give it up quite readily, all over the house.
Double-coated dogs generally drop their soft undercoats twice a year and lose their guard
hairs once a year, although some individual dogs might shed constantly or only every 10-12
Shedding can take anywhere from three weeks to two months. A warm
bath helps accelerate the process and daily (or twice-daily) grooming can help control
clouds of hair that scurry into corners and under furniture. Shedding is controlled by hormonal changes that
are tied to photoperiod (day length) and is influenced by level of nutrition and general
state of health. In addition to natural
biennial shedding, a dog may drop its coat after surgery, x-rays under anesthesia, and
Double-coated dogs that shed heavily include the Akita, Alaskan Malamute,
American Eskimo, Australian Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian
Tervuren, Collie, English Toy Spaniel, German Shepherd, Great Pyrenees, Keeshond, Kuvasz,
Newfoundland, Norwegian Elkhound, Pomeranian, Samoyed, Shetland Sheepdog, Siberian Husky
and Smooth Collie and St. Bernard. The Dalmatian sheds constantly and many dogs shed
a moderate amount of hair.
Owners should be aware that before they purchase a long-coated, purebred
or mixed dog that it will require grooming throughout its life. If the inclination
to groom or the time to do so are not part of the plan, provisions should be made for
professional coat care for the dog. Otherwise, a dog that can do with a lick and a promise
is a better choice as a family pet.
Healthy skin is certainly a consideration for a well-groomed dog and
healthy skin begins with a good diet. Again, the choices are legion. The rule of thumb is
thus: If your dog does well on the food you buy, if his skin and coat are healthy, if he
has energy and enjoys life, if he is maintaining his optimum weight, if his intestines are
working well, if the food is highly digestible and thus leaves little manure to clean up,
keep on keepin' on. But if the dog's energy level is low, if his coat is dull and his skin
dry and itchy or sore, if a vet check shows no thyroid or other medical condition to
account for the anomalies, consider switching the diet or supplementing with fatty acids.
Grooming is essential for healthy skin, not so much for keeping it
clean, but for making the owner aware of any problems that may be developing. Flea
allergies can cause severe skin problems, so daily examination of the dog during flea
season is a must. Contact allergies can also cause skin to break out. Irritated skin leads
to scratching, which can open the skin to staphylococcus infections. An ounce of
prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure for the dog and the pocketbook. The
antibiotics for skin infections are among the most expensive medications and the cost of
treatment can be dollars a day for a couple of weeks or longer. Skin irritations and infections can crop up
overnight, so keep a close eye on the situation.
Groom daily for fleas and ticks if Lad has had a problem. Use a fine-toothed comb to check for fleas, then
flick the tiny insects into a container of warm, soapy water. Remove ticks with protected
fingers and drop in a vial of alcohol. Treat the house for fleas as well; modern controls
for these pests use genetically altered natural insecticides, growth inhibitors, and
drying agents that are both environmentally friendly and less toxic to people and pets.
Here are some hints to make a trip to the groomer easier on both you
and your dog:
Teach your dog to stand on command and to accept the attentions of a
stranger without cringing or growling. Obedience
classes are wonderful for this good manners exercise, which is an integral part of the
Canine Good Citizen test.
Comb your dog regularly to prevent tangles and mats; or schedule more
frequent visits to the groomer. Matted hair can cause great pain to the dog and to the
groomer who gets bitten because he's in pain from tangled locks.
Crate train your dog so he'll sit quietly while drying and waiting
for your return.
Warn the groomer of any bad habits that could interfere with
successful grooming. If, in spite of all you can do, your "Fluffy" hates
grooming and is likely to bite, tell the groomer so she can take
precautions. If your dog is tranquilized for the session, if she has a heart problem or is
subject to seizures, if she has arthritis, or if she is extremely fearful, tell the
groomer so she will be prepared.
a groomer is not a miracle worker. She cannot take a poorly maintained dog and
turn it into a show-stopper in one visit. You should maximize your chances of satisfaction
by teaching the dog to accept the attentions of strangers and keeping the coat free of
mats and tangles.