Regular grooming is a must

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, June 27, 2017

By Michelle Nelson

Michelle Nelson is the owner of The Pet Authority in Albert Lea.

Michelle Nelson

Adding a professional groomer to The Pet Authority in May has been a real eye-opening experience for me. So many of us, including myself, forget how important regular grooming is for our pets, both at home and with the groomer. Here are some great grooming tips to work into your regular routine with your pet.

Regular brushing

How often and what type of brush all depends on the type of hair coat.

Short hair requires minimal brushing with a rubber curry comb. Medium hair coats need weekly brushing with a double/single rake comb. Long hair coats need daily brushing with a double rake or straight comb. For doodles, use a pin brush and slicker daily. Proper brushing will keep your dogs (and cats) mat and tangle free. If your dog does become severely matted, your only option is to shave your dog completely or have your dog endure hours of painful combing to remove the mats. If you ever choose to shave your long-haired/double-coated dog, their hair may never grow back the same, so think twice before your choose to shave your dog and talk to the groomer.

Bathing

How often you bathe your dog will all depend on the time of the year, activity and length of their hair coat. During the summer, all three of my dogs get a bath every two to three weeks, sometimes more often if they are playing in the mud or swimming in the pond. During the winter, I bathe about every 4 to 6 weeks. Brush your dog prior to bathing and use a dog shampoo (never a human shampoo as our skin and hair type are completely different than our pets) and rinse twice. Not rinsing well enough can cause dry, flaky and itchy skin. I like to use my hands to wash my dog as it allows me to find fleas or ticks, spot skin irritations or unusual lumps. Then I take a rubber curry comb and scrub to help remove even more dead hair. 

Nail trimming

This is often one of the most overlooked grooming aspects by many pet owners, due to fear of cutting the quick (blood vessel) in the dog’s nail. What many dog owners don’t realize is that long toe nails change the natural alignment of leg bones which adds torque or twisting to the joints, resulting in possible injury and unnecessary pain for the dog. The average dog needs their nails trimmed every three to four weeks. My dog Beau runs enough outside that he wears his nails down and I don’t ever have to trim them. Reggie, on the other hand, spends most of his day sleeping, so I need to have his trimmed every three weeks. If you hear a “click” on the floor when your dog walks, it’s time for a nail trim. Get yourself a good clipper or visit your groomer regularly for proper nail trimming.

Exercise and treats

If your dog is not a big fan of brushing, bathing or nail trimming or just simply will not sit still, taking a nice long walk to release some of that energy will make the entire process much more enjoyable for both you, your groomer and your dog. And always end each of the above tasks with some of their favorite treats for a job well done.