Depending on the breed, hair type, length, and at-home maintenance, most dogs should be regularly groomed every 6-10 weeks. Dogs with hair longer than 1/2" or thick undercoat should be groomed every 4-6 weeks, and dogs that have short hair or are shaved very short can usually go 8-10 weeks between groomings.
A dog's dead skin shedding cycle lasts about 6 weeks. Regular grooming will wash away the dead skin flakes left on the surface of the skin, reducing dander and itchiness. When a dog is on a regular grooming schedule, there are many benefits for both you and your dog including:
- Less brushing and maintenance at home
- Healthier skin, coat, ears, and nails
- Dog is more pleasant to be around, and therefore gets more attention and is happier
- When dogs are in good condition there are no extra dematting fees and a discount on rebooking within 6 weeks makes each groom cheaper.
- Groomers can detect some health concerns that the owners may not pick up on. Dogs often see their groomer much more often than their vet, and many conditions can be detected early by a groomer noticing that something is wrong.
- Fleas can be detected and removed before the infestation gets out of control.
- For puppies, a regular grooming schedule will help get them used to being groomed so the experience is not stressful for them.
- Reduces dander cutting down on allergic reactions for those with dog allergies
Depending on the dog's size, weight, and activity level, their nails should be trimmed about every 4 weeks. Dogs that are walked often, especially on asphalt or concrete, often wear their nails down naturally and may be able to go longer between trims. Dogs with lower activity levels, senior dogs, and small dogs may need to have their nails trimmed more often than every 4 weeks. If nails are left too long, they can cause the toes to splay or become pushed back which is very uncomfortable for the dog and can eventually result in long-term damage. Curled nails can grow into the pad of the foot, causing pain and infection which could potentially be fatal if untreated.
A nail trim is included with every service I provide. If the dog will allow it (most do) I will also use a Dremel tool to file the nails down as short as they can go and round off the tips so they are not sharp. This mimics the natural wearing down of the nail, keeping them short and healthy.
Taking a few minutes a few times a week to brush your dog can help keep them healthy and keep their coat in perfect shape! For a smooth, short-coated dog such as a Dachshund or Great Dane you can use a rubber curry brush to remove excess hair and dead skin.
For short, double-coated dogs such as Labradors, Pugs, and Beagles, use a rubber curry brush or FURminator brush gently (no more than 10 minutes per day) to reduce shedding.
For thick-coated shedding dogs such as German Shepherds and Huskies, use a Coat King, FURminator brush, or slicker brush.
For dogs that continuously grow hair such as Shih Tzus and poodles, a slicker brush is good for every day use but make sure you also use a metal comb to get down to the skin and remove any tangles.
Brushing to remove shedding hair should be done for no more than 10 minutes at a time to prevent irritation of the skin, but should be done at least three times per week. To prevent and remove tangles, brushing on continuously growing hair dogs should be done two to three times per week. Shorter hairstyles require less brushing, and some longer hairstyles require daily brushing. Pay close attention to the most commonly matted areas when brushing, such as the ears, tail, under the collar, under a harness, armpits, belly, lower legs, and above the tail. Any friction areas are prone to matting. If a dog goes swimming, plays with other dogs, or is very active, mats are more likely to form.
When using a deshedding brush, hold the dog's skin taut by grabbing the scruff at the back of the neck, then brush with the grain of the hair, from the neck towards the tail. Keeping the skin taut will help prevent skin injury and make it easier to remove the dead hair.
When using a slicker brush, don't drag the brush down the dog as this can scrape the skin, causing brush burn. Use the 'pat-and-pull' method of patting the slicker brush down onto the dog's fur then pulling it up, brushing the hair upwards rather than across the dog's skin. Combs can be used against the dog's skin, but if you feel resistance don't pull hard on the hair to try to get the tangle out as that can be painful to the dog. Use a dematting tool to remove knots, but if the mat is too close to the skin it must be removed with clippers.
If you are interested in any tips for maintaining your dog at home between grooms, please ask! I am always happy to show you what tools to use and how to properly care for your dog's coat.