If you’re the proud owner of a four-legged canine companion, you’ve probably wondered about proper grooming procedures. Is it necessary to get a professional grooming job done? How frequently, and what should you look out for when you’re with the groomer?
Although dog grooming is important, there are some basic mistakes that people often make that can lead to an unhappy dog, skin or fur damage, or even infections in sensitive areas like their ears and eyes. In this article, we’ll cover some basic things to watch out for while grooming that can adversely affect your dog’s health.
Five Basic Mistakes to Avoid
Mistake #1: Brushing while the fur is wet
When long-hair dog breeds get wet, it can increase the risk of potentially painful or annoying mats and tangles. While grooming your dog, always avoid brushing their fur while it is wet, whether it’s from a bath or just a walk in the rain, or a playful outdoor hose session. It’s always recommended to brush the dog’s fur before starting the bathing process, and after thoroughly drying them, preferably with a specialized dog grooming blow dryer.
A quick brush before a walk where they might get wet is an excellent strategy to avoid tangled or matted fur. However, if your dog does end up with matted fur, try using conditioner, a comb, and a blow dryer to break tangles apart easily and avoid irritating your dog’s skin.
Mistake #2: Shaving or closely trimming during summer
It’s easy to see why people would make this mistake – we think of their fur as a fur coat that they would want to take off during summer and put back on for winter. This is not true! Dogs use their fur to self-regulate temperature, using it as natural insulation that keeps heat in during winter and keeps body temperature cooler than the outside air during summer.
It’s ok to do a light trim as you would regularly do for breeds with extremely long hair, as long as you don’t cut too closely and leave most of the body fur. There’s another important reason for this besides temperature regulation, as the fur also helps protect your dog from harmful sunlight and UV radiation. Shaving your dog’s fur during summer can lead to painful sunburns and other skin conditions that can end up severely impacting their health.
Mistake #3: Saturating inner ears, eyes, and nose with water
While you may be tempted to rinse out your dog’s ear canals, eyes, and nose with water, you should always avoid doing this. Introducing water into these areas can lead to bacterial infections, along with irritation or swelling. Remember that dogs are very efficient at self-cleaning and they have different needs than us when it comes to bathing.
Instead of directly saturating or rinsing these areas with water, use a soft cloth or towel with just a little bit of water to gently clean them and pat dry, especially if there is visible dirt or grime on them. This is always the best way to clean the dog’s general head area.
Mistake #4: Bathing too often
Did you know that people who wash their hair with shampoo every day are actually harming their hair and not following the advice of experts? Doing so removes essential oils and proteins that coat hair, and can lead to more damaged, frizzy hair or issues like split ends. The same is true for dogs, as bathing with soap or shampoo, or even just water, too frequently can damage their skin and fur.
Additionally, when fur or hair is wet, it swells up and becomes even more vulnerable to damage. This is another reason to avoid brushing their fur while it’s wet, and the same should be applied to your hair – avoid combing or brushing while it’s wet to prevent breakage or damage to the hair strand itself. Animal bodies create their homeostasis through a delicate natural balance of healthy oils, and you don’t want to upset this by bathing your dog too frequently.
Mistake #5: Neglecting training
You may think it’s cute when your dog writhes around or barks, but a groomer might not! While every dog will experience some stress while grooming, if you perform it regularly and consistently from the time they are young, they will behave much better. In addition, try using treats or other positive behavior intervention strategies to encourage good behavior from your dog, which will allow for a more enjoyable and effective dog grooming strategy.
Dogs are truly our best friends in the animal world. They provide us with unconditional love, companionship when we need it the most, and a playful friend that is always happy to see us. An easy way to pay your dog back for their love and affection is to groom them properly, which will allow them to live longer, happier, and more comfortable lives.