We are now well into our 9th week of lockdown and most of us have been driven to get the clippers out on ourselves – to which there have been a fair few successes, but also a lot of horror stories!
With some groomers still closed or your usual groomer having such a long waiting list at the moment, it is important to show your dog some love and keep them as tidy as possible until you can get them booked in for their professional trim.
So – How often should you actually groom your dog?
First of all, it is important to research the grooming needs of the specific breed as they vary depending on coat length and texture. If you are not quite sure, check first with your vet or a professional groomer.
Long haired breeds
(e.g. Bearded Collies, Lhasa Apsos and long-haired Yorkshire Terriers etc.)
Long haired breeds and those with a texture of coat prone to matting will need daily brushing to keep their coat healthy.
Some breeds also need their coats trimmed or undercoats stripped around four to six times a year – many people prefer to get a professional groomer to do this.
Medium haired breeds
(e.g. Spitz breeds, some spaniels and German Shepherds etc.)
Medium haired breeds will need brushing a few times a week to remove the dead hairs.
Depending on the breed, you may also get their coat trimmed or stripped a couple of times a year.
Short haired breeds
(e.g. Staffies, Labradors and English Bull Terriers etc.)
Short haired breeds will only need brushing once a week.
They don’t usually need regular haircuts, though certain breeds may still need their undercoat to be stripped away.
Tools & Products
Make sure you purchase the right comb or brush for your dog’s fur.
Bristle brushes are a good option for all dogs, but the longer the coat the more spaced out the bristles will need to be. If you’re not sure what’s most suitable, ask your vet or groomer.
It’s usually okay to bathe your dog if they get mucky or roll in something smelly. For mud you may be able to rinse them in warm water.
If your dog needs to be washed at home, make sure you get a pet-safe shampoo for them. Check with your vet first if your dog has a skin condition to make sure the shampoo will be suitable.
Dogs usually wear their nails down naturally, but some may need them clipped regularly, especially if they don’t walk much on tarmac, have very bowed legs, or have reduced mobility due to injuries or arthritis.
You can buy pet nail clippers and do this yourself at home.
PDSA’s top tips for pet grooming:
1. Get the right tools for your pet. You can go to your local pet supply shop and find the brushes, combs and clippers that are appropriate for your pet. Ask your vet if you’re not sure what’s best.
2. Don’t use human nail clippers on pets. Our pet’s claws are rounded, so they need special clippers for this.
3. Always check your pet’s skin for parasites. Ticks can be a common problem for pets, so check them regularly.
4. Always give them regular flea treatment as advised by your vet to avoid problems with these – you might not spot them because fleas live mostly in the home rather than on the pet.
5. If you are worried about your pet, take them to the vet. If you notice a change in their skin or coat, that could be a sign something more serious is going on.
6. Remember that pets are more likely to shed when they’re “changing coats” between seasons, so they may need extra grooming around these times.
7. Check the outside of your pet’s ears regularly to make sure they are clean and clear from any nasties. If they start to show unusual dirt or get smelly or itchy, get your pet checked by your vet before using any ear cleaners that go inside the ear.
Grooming can be a great way to bond with your pet but take it slow if they aren’t used to it.