by Lori Henderson
Grooming isn’t just about maintaining your dog’s level of cleanliness, nor is it just about keeping your dog looking good. Grooming is about maintaining both your dog’s physical health as well as her appearance.
To do this you must begin training your dog to accept grooming while she is still a puppy. If you wait too long to introduce grooming, your puppy may become matted, which makes the first grooming session unpleasant. Plus, your puppy may not be agreeable to it later on, especially when it comes to ear cleaning and nail clipping. A groomer will form a bond of trust with your puppy during the first few sessions, and advise you on the types of brushes to use for your puppy’s fur. Attending a puppy training class helps the puppy, too!
Grooming is especially important for long-haired, thick coated dogs, which require more intense grooming sessions. It takes more time to brush their long fur, so they need to get used to staying still for this process at an early age. A puppy should start the grooming process as early as 6 weeks of age. A Groomer will introduce your puppy to the sound of clippers, dryers, and the general environment. At home, it is a good idea to handle your puppy’s feet and ears regularly to prepare them for nail clipping and ear cleaning/plucking. (Some breeds require “plucking” hair inside the ears in an effort to prevent ear infections, which can occur when dirt and bacteria buildup on the hair inside the ears)
Brushing your puppy is beneficial for all dogs, regardless of the breed! Brushing helps remove dead hair, dirt, and dandruff. Regular brushing also helps to bring out the natural oils in a dog’s fur. As you brush, the natural oils are spread all over your puppy’s fur giving the coat a healthy sheen. Your puppy should usually be professionally groomed every 4 to 6 weeks. Clipping your dog with a short cut style may allow for less professional grooming, but she should still be bathed and brushed at home, in between appointments.
Another benefit of grooming is the early detection of abnormalities such as ticks, fleas and dry patches, or issues such as infection or inflammation of the nails, teeth, ears, and eyes. When found at an early stage, these problems can be treated right away, before they have a chance to become more serious. Your groomer may spot these potential problems during the grooming process.
Simply put, grooming helps keep your dog happy and healthy! Grooming at home allows you and your pet time to bond, while a professional groomer can give you advice and help point out any potential skin issues your pet may be experiencing. So don’t delay, start grooming your puppy early, and make an appointment with a professional groomer right away!