In the first part, we looked at WHY dog’s need grooming. Finally we can now move on to how often you should be grooming your dog!
How Much Grooming Does My Dog Need?
The answer, as you have probably already guessed, is far from simple! In a nutshell, you can’t give your dog a brush often enough! As long as your dog is happy to sit and be brushed, and you aren’t too forceful, a daily brush will be more than sufficient for most dogs. If you are limited for time, once a week is usually okay even for longer-haired breeds. Shorter-haired breeds may not even need a traditional brush, but special gloves to help remove loose hair are great instead. If you like professional grooming, a proper groom every 1-3 months is plenty for most dogs, provided you regularly give them a quick brush at home.
Does it vary over the year?
You may even find that on the same dog, you have to groom them more frequently at certain times of year. Hair does not grow consistently, but is instead tied to the time of year, the temperature, your dog’s hormones, their nutritional status and health, any medication they are on, and other factors. A common finding is dogs grow a thicker coat over winter, which starts to shed over spring – brushing more frequently around this time is a good idea. Since many dogs now live in the controlled temperature of our houses year round, seasonal hair growth and shedding is less pronounced than in wild dogs, but it can still be a consideration.
What about cutting the hair?
Breeds with constantly growing hair like poodles will definitely need grooming more often than other breeds. Although their hair doesn’t shed as much, grooming will still help remove loose hair and prevent tangles. They will also need a haircut every 4-6 weeks (more if they are show dogs) to prevent overgrowth. Whereas other dogs may need one less often or even not at all.
On the topic of hair cutting, it is not recommended to shave a dog’s coat short for summer, even double-coated dogs. Healthy dogs will shed their thicker winter coat over the spring. Shaving it short could interfere with this process, as well as its growth during autumn. Instead, just brush them frequently to remove the shed hair.
Should I be bathing or shampooing?
As for bathing and shampooing, most dogs shouldn’t need baths regularly like we do. Over-bathing can strip oil from your dog’s skin and hair, leaving it dry and vulnerable to disease. Every month or so is usually sufficient. With extras if they come back especially muddy from a walk. Generally, bath them when necessary and no more.
What else should I be checking?
Don’t forget that grooming isn’t limited to your dog’s hair – you should regularly clip your dog’s nails as well. As a rule, the nails should not protrude beyond their pad, and should never touch the ground. Trimming them every 3-4 weeks is a good starting point, though of course it is variable. Try and clip your dog’s nails at home if you can. You could always ask your vet or groomers for assistance if your dog isn’t comfortable. And don’t forget those teeth. Dental disease is becoming increasingly common among pets. We strongly advise you to brush your dog’s teeth twice a day, like you would for your own. You can get special doggy toothbrushes and toothpaste to help you keep those teeth shiny and clean.
It is best to groom your dog when they are calm, such as after a walk or before bedtime. Giving them a treat after successful grooming is a good reward and encourages good behaviour.
Who knew that something as simple as hair could be so complicated! If you have any further questions, please let us know below, or contact your vet for more advice. We hope this article has helped grow your knowledge of dog hair coats, explain why grooming is so hair-raisingly important and helped trim away some of the confusion surrounding when you need to groom your dog (we couldn’t resist a few more!).
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