The Benefits of Frequent Grooming

12Dec09

Why should you have your dog groomed regularly? Other than the obvious aesthetic benefit there are many other pros to keeping your pup on a frequent grooming schedule. There are many direct health benefits of having your dog groomed. Regular brushing of all pets, despite coat length or type, helps to keep the coat and skin healthy. Brushing in between bath times helps to keep them clean, removing dead hair, dirt and other debris from the coat.

Brushing is a vital part of pet care, as it works to distribute the natural oils of the skin throughout the coat, promoting a healthier coat, and cleaner skin. In addition the direct benefits your pets coat, brushing may help to point out any abnormalities in your pets body, such as sores, growths or bald spots. While you may not notice any lumps or bumps that have appeared on your pet, regular grooming can help to detect a problem, and insure that if a lump does appear, you are aware of it sooner rather than later. A veterinarian should check any growth or lump you or your groomer notices on your pet, to rule out cancer and other potentially dangerous conditions. Early detection can be crucial in a positive outcome to an otherwise deadly health scare.

During the course of the grooming process, the groomer will pay special attention to your pets’ ears, eyes, mouth, teeth, pads and perianal region- areas you probably don’t notice much in daily life. Longhair dogs tend to grow hair deep in the ear canal, and this hair can trap bacteria, causing irritation and ear infections. Your groomer will “pluck” this hair, and often do a cursory clean of the ears checking for anything abnormal. If ear discharge or redness is noticed, this can be relayed to you, so that you know that veterinary attention may be necessary to treat your pets’ ear problem.

Many long hair pets tend to grow excessive amounts of hair between their feet and paw pads, as well as around the perianal (anus) area. Excessive hair in these places can lead to hygiene problems, tangling of hair, accumulation of dirt and stickers in the hair, and even cause problems defecating and urinating. Your groomer can trim around these areas, helping to prevent problems before they can develop.

Breeds of dogs such as Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese and Shih Tzu’s will grow long hair on the face, mouth and eyes, and left untrimmed this hair can become matted with food particles and saliva. In addition, studies have shown that dogs with hair that is frequently in their eyes have a greater chance of developing eye infections, glaucoma and cataracts. Strategic trimming of the hair around the eyes is aesthetically pleasing, and helps to prevent health problems down the road.

Most dogs don’t naturally wear down their nails fast enough to keep up with nail growth, and as a result most pets need regular nail trimming in order to keep their nails at the optimum length. Long nails are the most common cause of chiropractic problems in dogs, and can contribute to joint pain and stiffness. Your pets body has been designed to walk with his pads on the floor, not the nails. If your dogs’ nails are touching the ground, his nails are too long. If you can hear the nails clicking on the floor, they are too long. Regular clipping will help to prevent problems associated with long nails. Your groomer will clip your pets’ nails, and their skill and experience can often get them shorter than you can at home. A dremel tool may also be used, to help further shorten the nails, and blunt the edges to eliminate those sharp, newly cut nail scratches!

Ultimately the goal is to help your pet lead a healthy happy life, and frequent grooming is an essential part of that. Check back often to see more grooming tips and important basics many owners don’t know.

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Audrey is the Groomer/Owner of D’tails Dog Grooming, a home salon in Wausau, Wisconsin. She owns a miniature poodle named Zeke, and loves being able to work at home so she can spend more time with her dog.

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One Response to “The Benefits of Frequent Grooming”

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