All dogs require regular grooming for their comfort and well being. Each dog’s coat type will determine the amount and frequency of grooming, but some elements are common to all dogs, such as nail trimming, tooth brushing, ear cleaning and brushing.
Monitoring Health through Grooming
Regular grooming also has some less obvious but no less important benefits for our pets. A dog’s state of health is often indicated by the state of his coat and skin. A dull, dry coat or flaky skin may be the first signs of a larger problem. Cuts, sores, eye and ear infections or other injuries are easily noticed during grooming, and can therefore be attended to before they become more serious. Pests such as fleas, ticks or mites can be identified and eliminated before an infestation occurs, and other irritants such as speargrass or burrs can be removed before damaging a dog’s coat or skin.
More permanent features such as lumps, growths or weight problems can be monitored for any change during the grooming process, which is especially important in older dogs. Thorough brushing during grooming will reduce shedding, meaning less dog hair all over the house (and car, clothes, etc.). It will also prevent mats, skin problems and pain that can be associated with mat removal.
A clean and well-brushed dog will also stay warmer in cold weather, as it is the air warmed by the dog’s body and trapped next to the skin by the coat that provides the insulating value. A dirty or matted coat traps very little air, and provides very little warmth. In warm weather, the coat will shield the dog’s skin from the heat of the sun, keeping him cooler. It will also make him less prone to sunburn and heatstroke.
Start Them Young
Dogs that begin regular grooming at an early age adapt to it easily, and often learn to enjoy the experience. Dogs not used to being groomed can find it a frightening and stressful experience, as it is not part of their established routine. Their fearful and sometimes aggressive behavior only increases their level of stress, making grooming an experience they learn to hate. Understandably so, as the infrequently groomed dog is often matted, or experiencing other symptoms of neglect that cannot be remedied by the groomer without causing pain to the dog.
One of the most valuable benefits of grooming is time spent interacting and bonding with your pet. Both Guardian and dog alike come to look forward to this special time spent together. A clean, well-groomed dog is more likely to be the interactive family member we want him or her to be!