Grooming is quite essential for a dog. Regularly groomed dogs are often seen to have better health and emotional well-being as compared to dogs that are groomed sporadically. Grooming helps to spot potential health problems at the very onset, which can then, with timely intervention and prompt action, be either prevented altogether or checked in its tracks. Many a dog have been saved by action taken by a concerned pet parent on any anomalies encountered while grooming.
The Grooming Process
While grooming a dog with long hair, the main processes are:
As long-haired dogs are more prone to developing tangles and matted hair, a thorough brushing is of paramount importance. Bristle brushes and slicker brushes can both be used on long-haired dogs. Brushes that have widely spaced spokes or bristles work best for such dogs. Spokes ought to also be long so that larger areas can be covered and detangled at one time. After a complete brushing down with a brush, also use a comb specifically designed for dogs to remove all traces of matted hair and tangles.
First of all, prepare the bath. Always use lukewarm water as water that is too hot or too cold can cause your dog unnecessary distress. For bathing longhaired dogs, it is advisable to use a sink or bathtub that has a sprayer attachment. Buckets and faucets can prove quite problematic with such breeds. Then, place an anti-skid mat on the floor of the bath tub so that your dog does not injure himself on the slippery turf. Sinks usually do not require such mats, as there is comparatively lesser area to skid in as compared to a bath tub.
Proceed to shampoo your dog. Starting from the head, gently proceed towards the tail. Work up a rich lather. Take your time and do not rush through. Take care not to spray water in the ears. For good measure, you can place cotton balls in your dog’s ears before you begin bathing him. Once the shampooing is complete, rinse off completely. As any residual shampoo can lead to skin infections and allergies, make sure that you continue rinsing till the water runs clear. Owing to the longhaired coat, this will take time. Follow up the shampoo with a good conditioner. Always read the instructions carefully, as while some conditioners can be of the leave-in variety, there are others that have to be rinsed off.
Dry your dog with the help of a large towel. Always, let your dog shake off the water himself. Shaking off is a natural phenomenon which greatly helps in removing tangles after a bath. If you had placed cotton balls in the ears of your dog, now is the time to remove them. Take great care to dry around the ears as ears are common grounds for infections. At all times, simply blot dry. Do not rub too hard as overzealous rubbing can do more harm than good. Use a bristle brush to give a quick bruising after a bath.
- Clipping the Hair
Before you begin clipping your dog, be clear in your mind as to the reason for clipping. That is, whether you are clipping your dog’s hair for practicality or for styling. With your reasons for clipping clearly spelled out, proceed to purchasing the most appropriate clippers and trimmers for your dog. Keep in mind the basic difference between a clipper and a trimmer. While a clipper is a larger-sized instrument and used to cut long hair, a trimmer is smaller in comparison and used for styling and detailing.
Select the blade for your clipper as per your requirements. Keep in mind that the lower the number of the blade, the longer the hair you will end up with. While a Number 5 blade leaves behind one-fourth of the existing length, a Number 30 blade will leave behind one-hundredth of the original.
Before you begin clipping, make sure that your dog is not unduly agitated for any matter. Calm him down with a treat or take him for a brief walk. Proceed with the clipping process only when you have a calm and serene dog at hand. Now, begin clipping from the shoulders and move towards the tail. The clipper should glide effortlessly across the coat in an ideal situation. In case there is some resistance, go slow and keep moving the clipper over the same area till the problem area is cleared. Take great care while trimming sensitive areas such as – in and around the ears, muzzle and eyes.
Trim the area on the feet and paws. Long-haired dogs can slip on hardwood floors if they have excess hair in their paws. Also, clean the area around the tail, as fecal matter can easily get trapped here causing infections.
- Dental & Eye Care
Brush your dog’s teeth using a toothpaste made specifically for dogs. In case your dog does not like the taste of toothpaste, you can use baking soda or plain water instead.
Carefully check your dog’s eyes for warning signs of disease. Signs not to be overlooked are – tearing, redness in cornea, a white or red eyelid as against a healthy pink one, eyelids that are sticking together.
While grooming is essential for almost all dog breeds, grooming takes on a whole new dimension when a long-haired dog is concerned. Regular grooming, with almost daily brushing and weekly baths, are considered quite commonplace where a long-haired dog is involved.