Why dog grooming is important – and tips on how to get started

Owners should get their dogs used to regular grooming as early on in their life as possible, ideally as a puppy. Here are some reasons why – and the best way to get started, according to pet charity, Blue Cross…

IT’S important that dogs are happy and comfortable with grooming, whether this is done in the home or by a professional dog groomer.
By getting into a regular grooming routine with your dog, it also gets them used to this type of handling, and should make visits to the vets much easier.

How often does my dog need grooming?

For a short haired, smooth-coated dog, grooming should be done at least once a week.
A rough or long-coated dog will need much more regular grooming and will often require clipping to keep the fur at a manageable length.
Clipping can be required anything from every four to 12 weeks, with regular – usually daily – maintenance brushes and cleaning in between.
Terrier types and some other breeds may need ‘stripping’ rather than normal grooming to remove dead hairs in the coat as these dogs don’t shed hair as well as others.

Can I clip my dog myself?

There are a range of fur clippers on the market, but remember that professional groomers have had months of training and their job is not as easy as some people think it looks.
Unqualified DIY clipping not only runs the risk of your dog coming out the other side with an unintentionally extreme haircut, it can also result in injury to you or your pet – especially if you have a particularly lively or boisterous hound.
If you do choose to invest in your own set of dog clippers, ensure you do plenty of research before grooming your dog.
Get specific instructions on the type of breed you have, use dedicated equipment with safety guards and, if using scissors, make sure they have rounded ends when tackling sensitive areas.
It’s vital that you can keep your dog calm and under control when clipping is being done, so a second pair of hands may well be needed.


Choosing the right groomer for my dog

Whether or not your dog has long or short hair, you may prefer to take them to a professional groomer.
As the groomer you choose will be responsible for the welfare of your dog when it’s in their care, it’s important that you choose a reputable individual or salon.
The grooming industry is currently unregulated, but there are a number of things you can consider to help make the right choice:
If possible, ask your vet for recommendations on good local groomers.
Failing that, can any of your dog-owning friends or family endorse a groomer?
Look out for groomers that are members of trade bodies such as the Pet Care Trust or the British Dog Groomers’ Association – this is a strong indication of a well-qualified and reputable groomer
Ask about qualifications. Although dog groomers are not legally required to have any, it’s a good sign.
The most recognised qualification in the UK is the City and Guilds.

Does the groomer check that your dog is up-to-date with vaccinations, flea and worm treatments?

This is crucial in preventing the spread of diseases, infections and parasites.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for a tour of the premises if you want some extra reassurance – a good, reputable groomer would be happy to show you around.

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