Dog grooming is an important aspect of owning a dog. While some breeds, like terriers, have relatively minor grooming requirements, there are some dogs whose grooming will be tedious and time consuming. Usually, dogs with thicker, longer coats will shed more, have more problems with maintaining a clean coat, and will thus require more grooming. While shedding and non-shedding dogs will have different grooming needs, they don’t necessarily require more or less grooming than each other. Of course, as an owner, you’ll decide what kind of grooming you feel is most important. Owners with show dogs will spend a lot more time and money on grooming, while pet owners are most likely looking to minimize the time and money spent on grooming.
When to Start Grooming
It is generally considered best practice to start grooming your dogs as puppies so they get accustomed to the ritual. As grooming is a “full body” activity, which includes maintaining the coat, skin, nails, teeth, eyes, and ears, the sooner a dog can experience grooming, the more cooperative they will be. Regardless of the grooming needs of your particular dog, try to brush your puppy daily (at least at the beginning). This will help them enjoy grooming later.
Grooming for Long Coats
Dogs such as Newfoundlands and Akitas tend to have long, thick coats that need regular brushing. A brush with firm bristles will be the most effective as it will be difficult to brush through the thick hair with a flimsy brush. In the summer months, when these dogs shed more, it is recommended to brush even more often – as many as 2 or 3 times per day. This will facilitate their shedding and also prevent hair from accumulating around your house. In addition, it is not recommended to bathe these dogs often. In fact, unless they have managed to get extremely dirty, you should really only bathe them two to four times per year. All dogs produce protective oils for their coat and washing them will remove these oils. For dogs with short hair, these protective oils are somewhat less important, but for a healthy coat, a long-haired dog relies on these oils.
Dogs with long, silky coats, like the Afghan Hound or Lhasa Apso, should be bathed and then brushed weekly. A pin brush is recommended. In addition, these dogs will need to have their hair trimmed at least every other month. Their long hair tends to drag along the ground picking up dirt which causes their hair to get matted.
Dogs with Short Coats (Non-Shedding Dogs)
Dogs like Poodles and Terriers have shorter hair that doesn’t need to be brushed often. In fact, the main reason for brushing these dogs is to stimulate their pores thus helping to release protective oils. Clipping and bathing becomes more important with these breeds, however. Especially for aesthetic purposes, Poodles hair will need to be trimmed every month or so but even to maintain a healthy coat you should clip their hair every other month.
Dogs with wiry coats, like Dachshunds, have more demanding grooming schedules. They should be brushed or combed every other day and should be bathed quarterly. Also, you will need to remove dead hair by hand which can take several hours for larger dogs.
Finally, dogs with smooth coats, such as the Labrador, are the easiest to groom. Using a hound glove, you should brush these dogs weekly. Also, like long-haired dogs, they shouldn’t be bathed more than 3 times per year, especially if they do a lot of swimming. The natural oils in their coat help to protect against infection and the cold when swimming. There are a number of dry bathing options for these dogs as an alternative to soap and water.