Grooming

1. GROOMING
Routine grooming for all pets is very vital to maintain healthy coats and keep a check for any skin problems or ecto-parasites. The grooming requirements vary from breed to breed; some require daily attention, while others require less attention. Three or Four times a week is recommended. Long-haired pets need more grooming than short-haired pets. Depending on the degree of hair entanglement, some grooming techniques will need a professional attention.
 
It is advisable to get your pet accustomed to being groomed from a very early age. At first, make your pet feel that grooming is a game. Spend less time on the grooming at first and gradually increase the amount of time spent on it. A wrong approach to this task may make your pet detest the grooming exercise and a mere sight of the grooming brush and comb may make your pet to back off.
 
Puppies that are exposed to early grooming are easier to handle. It also makes it easier for the veterinarian to carry out his routine medical examinations. Grooming times are ideal times to check your dog over for any lumps and skin growths. While grooming, try parting the hairs to see if your pet has fleas or ticks. Look out for red spots which are signs of ectoparasite bites. Ticks and fleas have a lot of survival instincts and so will normally stay in hidden places on the body of the pet. Places to look out for ticks on the body of a dog are the base of the tail, hairs around the neck, the inside of the ear lobe, under the digits and armpits.
While in the process of grooming learn to also examine the eyes, nails (to see if they are due for clipping), mouth and nose.
 
Hair coat in dogs can fall into any of the following categories and the degree of hairiness determines the level of attention:
a.  Long haired: The following dogs fall into this group: Old English Sheepdogs, Golden
Retrievers and German shepherd. Daily grooming is recommended for this group.
b.  Non-shedding: Bichons Frises and Poodles. This group does not moult and so needs regular clipping, at least every 8months. Excess hairs in their ears and eyes should also be carefully removed occasionally.
c.  Silky coats: Yorkshire Terriers, Setters and Spaniels. Dogs with silky hair coats will need a lot of attention because the hairs are liable to matting. Regular trimming is very important for dogs in this group
d.  Wiry Coats: Most of the terrier breeds, Wire haired Dachshund and Schnauzers fall into this group and they will need to be clipped regularly. Professional care is advised here and dogs that are combed regularly from puppy hood are more accustomed to this procedure.
e.  Smooth coats: Greyhounds, Doberman, Mastiffs, boxers, Labradors fall into this group and their coats are the easiest to groom.
               
Some breeds are also hairless and others have hairslike twisted cords.
         
PROCEDURES:
Combing and brushing is normally done in the opposite direction to the hair growth. This improves the superficial (skin) blood circulation and also stimulates the natural oils in the skin. This will give the skin a healthy shine. Be mindful to always use the right grooming equipment best suited for your dogs’ hair coat. Caution must be exercised to ensure that you do not clip the skin in the process of removing matted hairs .Caution is also to be exercised while clipping the hairs over the eyes. Dogs that have hair around their muzzle should be combed daily because the hair in these areas easily gets matted with food. For breeds like the Spaniels the lip folds should be checked regularly for food debris. Decaying food items lodged in lip folds could act as a source of infection. It is important to note here that a dog should be groomed before taking a bath as this will allow you the opportunity of removing unwanted hairs and matt. Knotted hairs only get worse when they are wet. Bathing a dog too often is not good as this removes the natural oils from the skin. These oils do 3 things: waterproofing, insulation and protection from skin diseases. Be sure to always use the right shampoo that is suitable for your dog’s skin as the wrong one will not only damage the hair coat, it will also destroy the skin. Before giving your pet a wash, replace leather collars with nylon ones.
 
SHAMPOOING:
Wet the hair thoroughly before adding the shampoo. Steady the dog by placing your hand under the chin and while the bathing is going on, talk to the dog to reassure it so that the dog will remain calm. Shampooing should start first along the neck, then the back area to the tail/bottom and the legs. The head area must be the last to be shampooed. With some shampoos you may need to leave it on the skin for about 5 to 10 minutes. This is usually so with medicated shampoos. Rinsing should normally follow the same procedure as the shampooing.
Prevent the dog from shaking by placing your hand on the back of its neck or gently lift the scruff.
Dry after rinsing with a hand dryer or a towel and allow the dog to stay in an airy place so as to dry properly. If not the dog may end up having a terrible odor. After drying the dog, repeat another grooming to smoothen out the hairs.
If all this sounds so burdensome, you can always direct the burden to your veterinarian or professional pet groomer.