Guide To Grooming Dogs - Do’s & Don'ts

Guide To Grooming Dogs - Do’s & Don'ts -

THaving a dog is all fun & boop-worthy until you realize even they need professional grooming! Yes, grooming dogs is essential for a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if you are a pet parent to a Shih Tzu, a Golden Retriever, a German Shepherd, or a Pomeranian. They need professional grooming services regardless of their breed. 

What does grooming a dog include?

When it comes to grooming dogs, they need a bath, nail clipping/grinding, brushing, hair cutting, ear cleaning, blow-drying, etc. When done professionally, grooming can do wonders for them! 

But why do dogs need a bath?

Baths are important for a dog’s overall health. It is the most basic requirement of general pet care. Dogs need regular baths to clean their skin & coat off the dust & debris they accumulate over time. A bath removes hair that is shedding, rids them of the odour & cools them down. In fact, water-based activities like bathing & swimming are amazing ways to soothe the summer itch. Dog parents must make it a point to bathe their dogs in the summer months. 

How often should I bathe my dog?

Generally, a dog’s bath session depends on its breed, coat & climate. But as a thumb rule, dogs can be given a bath once in 15-20 days. This may also vary if your dog has been prescribed topical skin treatment. In such a case, please consult your vet about the bathing schedule. Also, if your dog is a regular swimmer, the need to give them a bath also reduces. 

How to train your dog to enjoy the bath?

Dog parents often face difficulties in two steps of grooming. Nail cutting & dog baths! While we recommend nail cutting to be done by a professional groomer, dog baths can definitely be made more enjoyable for them! Dogs should have a positive association with baths. Feed some treats before & after the baths, bring their favorite toys along & take it slow. Reward them for being calm. Gently stroke their head & body to calm them down. The temperature of the water should not be too high or too low. Keep it gentle!

Why is grooming a dog at home important?

Grooming should be a positive experience for dogs. It can be discomforting for them to visit a new place. The best way to groom dogs at home is by a professional grooming team. This way, they will have a positive experience with nail cutting, nail clipping, cleaning, etc. Apart from professional grooming, you can also groom your dog by gently brushing their coat. Regular brushing ensures that their coat remains healthy & shiny. It gets rid of the dirt & if done right, can be an enjoyable experience for dogs.

Do’s and Don’ts of grooming dogs at home 

  1. Use the right brush for grooming. The brushes vary as per the breed & coat of the dog.
  2. If your dog is not used to nail clipping or nail trimming, then don’t do it on your own. Take the help of professional groomers. 
  3. Use treats to make the grooming a happy experience. 
  4. If you have a puppy, then start slow. Don’t scare the puppy!
  5. Clean the paws, ears, tail, nails. Be careful while handling the eye region. 
  6. Use only vet-approved products like shampoos, anti-tick spray, etc.

Brushing different breeds of dogs 

As mentioned, different types of breeds have different coats. They need different kinds of brushes for grooming. For example, a Shih Tzu generally has soft hair but is prone to tangling. They will require different sets of grooming products. 

Short & smooth-haired dogs can be groomed by using a grooming glove. Whereas dogs with medium to long-haired coats will need combs & brushes with long bristles. Grooming also depends on the kind of coat a dog has. 

How does the ‘coat’ affect a dog’s grooming?

A dog’s coat affects their grooming procedure. But before that, let’s understand the terminologies & the difference between “single-coated dogs” & “double-coated dogs.”

  1. Single-coated dogs - A dog with a single, hard-layered, coarse hair coat with no soft coat beneath is a single-coated dog. So if you are a parent to a Rajapalayam, Great Dane, Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, Poodle, Maltese, Chihuahua, etc, you have a single coated dog.

A Chihuahua is a single-coated dog

  1. Double-coated dogs - A dog with a double coat will have a hard-layered, coarse hair coat on the outside but if you part their upper coat, you will find a softer layer of hair. This layer is called the undercoat. So if you are a parent to an Indian Pariah, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Beagle, Dachshund, Pug, Labrador, Indian Spitz, Rottweilers, Chow Chow, Husky, Labrador, Pomeranian, etc, you have a double-coated dog. 

A Golden Retriever is a double-coated dog

The kind of coat your dog has will decide the amount of hair clipping, cutting & shaving. A single-coated dog can have their hair clipped, close trimmed but should not be completely shaved down as they only have one coat to protect them. Regardless, they need a regular trim to keep the growth of the coat in check. Don’t worry, their hair will grow back the way it was. 

But when it comes to a double-coated dog, shaving a dog is a big no-no! A double-coated dog should not be shaven down to the skin. The coat serves a purpose. It keeps them cooler in summers & warmer in the winter season. Getting rid of the coat will do more harm than good. 

Full body shaved dog

Is shaving a dog a safe practice in grooming?

No. Shaving double-coated dogs like German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Chow Chows, Huskies, Labradors, Pomeranians, etc will be a nightmare for them. Here’s a list of why it shouldn’t be done - 

  1. It will not help them cool down in the summers. Instead, it will make the heat unbearable for them.
  2. Shaving a dog increases the risk of sunburn, bug bites, etc. Prolonged exposure to the sun might end up causing skin cancer.
  3. Constant discomfort will cause itching that may lead to redness, scratches & injuries. 
  4. Their fur can become permanently damaged. So much so that there is a chance that it might never grow back completely. 
  5. Shaving will not decrease the amount of shedding. It is a natural process with its own advantages that can’t be avoided.
  6. Shaving a dog, be it shaving a Golden Retriever or shaving a German Shepherd will not reduce allergies, ticks, or mites. 
  7. The psychological effects of shaving a dog are real. They can feel shy, underconfident & may end up skipping their meals, water & playtime. 

If not full body shave, what can be done?

Since shaving a dog is forbidden, you can follow these grooming steps to keep the coat healthy & your dogs happy -

  1. Brush and comb them every day for at least 20 minutes. This will remove all the tangles. 
  2. Plan a weekend bath using smoothening shampoo.
  3. Feed them with food like buttermilk, frozen chicken stock cubes, frozen fruits,  watermelon, muskmelon that will keep them cool. 
  4. Book a professional grooming appointment at least once a month. 

So the next time you try to google “shaving a german shepherd” or “shaving a golden retriever”, please remember that they are double-coated dogs & shaving them should be avoided. Leave it to the professional grooming team. They will take care of your baby. Because grooming a dog is not just a profession, it is an art! 

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