Thursday, 7 July 2011

How Well Groomed Is Your Dog?

                                      Grooming Your Dog
If you love dogs but are only an occasional visitor to dog shows, you may well
be amazed at the seeming fanatical approach to grooming that you will see as
owners prepare their dogs for the show ring.
Is this degree of grooming really necessary. Well for the show ring yes but
there are important reasons for grooming your own dog even if you never want
to show it.

Grooming can include combing, stripping, scissor trimming, bathing and other
jobs such as nail clipping, cleaning teeth and cleaning ears.
Regular combing and brushing removes loose hair, untangles knots, stimulates
blood flow and is an opportunity to check for any lesions or unwanted parasites.
It is also a great aid to training because you get the chance to make your dog
stand/sit still and be placed indifferent positions. Usually your dog will associated
your commands with the pleasant experience of grooming.
Short haired dogs spending much of their time in the house may only need one
groom per week comprising a rub down with a grooming glove.

Dogs with long coats or double coats will need more regular grooming and bathing
especially if they spend lots of time outdoors and in muddy conditions. This
could be as much as twice per week or “on Demand” (after a long wet
and muddy walk).

Grooming Tools
Grooming tools are not too expensive but you will need several items whatever
type of coat your dog has. Your tools will usually be made up from the following:

Slicker Brush
General purpose brush that separates the top and undercoat. They are available
in soft, medium and hard pin or bristle. Suitable for double and wool coats.
Pin Brush

These have blunt pins which will comb the top coat without pulling out the undercoat.
Suitable for double and silky coats.

Bristle BrushUsually supplied with good quality pure natural bristle or in the cheaper nylon
bristle version. Used on short haired coats or thin coats

Double Sided Brush
These are a combination Pin and Bristle brush. They provide the convenience
of two brushes in one. The brush has bristles on one side, which are good for
grooming the short hair areas of your dog’s coat. On the other side a pin brush which will
penetrate the coat of a long or double-coated dog.

Porcupine Brushes
This type of dog brush has a combination of long quill- like bristles with shorter
bristles. It is suited to removing loose hair and debris from medium to long-coated pets.
This brush can also be used for everyday brushing of wiry-coated dogs.

Undercoat Rake
A grooming undercoat rake is a good choice for dogs with dense double coats.
The teeth of an undercoat rake are designed to penetrate through the overcoat
down into the thick undercoat to remove loose hair faster and easier than a
standard comb. The brush can also be used to work out mats and tangles.
There are other tools such as a grooming glove, usually a rubber glove with
small rubber teeth on the palm of the glove. Also a de-shedding tool which is
very good but a bit expensive.
( to see pictures of some of these brushes go to: -  )

When you plan to bath your dog, it is a good idea to carry out a grooming
session first. This way you will remove lots of loose hair, dried mud
and things that have got stuck in the dog's coat. This means your bathing
water will stay cleaner for longer and you will not get so much soggy
fur in the bathing tube.

For some dogs this is an unwelcome part of the grooming process but you should
learn to train your dog to go through the procedure. Always use good quality
branded shampoos and if your dog has sensitive skin make sure your dog does
not suffer any allergic reaction to the the shampoo.

                                                   Dietary Note
Moving on but still on the subject of allergies it is possible for your dog
to have an allergy to normal dog food and you may not be aware of it. I have
one dog that is allergic to wheat products. I only realised this when I noticed
that the dog always seemed to have mild diarrea. Fortunately most of the top
branded dog food manufactures supply feeds for dogs with sensitive digestive
systems. I was able to buy an “off the shelf” feed (wheat free) that
solved the problem.

Take care out there,


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