Whether winter, spring, or summer, your dog is protected by a lustrous coat of soft fur. It keeps him warm, diverts rain, traps essential oils close to the skin, and cushions the blow when he trips and falls. It’s a pretty remarkable thing, but it does need a helping hand to stay healthy.
This is where you, his devoted owner, comes in. All breeds benefit from regular brushing, not just the ones with long coats. The thickness and length of the fur will determine how often grooming is required, but you will need to pick up a brush at least once a week.
Due to the enormous variety of canine breeds, grooming can be a bewildering subject. Fortunately, online resources like Woof Dog have all the information you need. They can help you identify the type of coat and the correct form of care.
The longer the fur, the more grooming is required. Breeds like Samoyeds, Afghan Hounds, Setters, Border Collies, and Lhasa Apsos have seasonal coats. It means they shed intensely at two points of the year. The first is in spring, as a way to cool down and get ready for the summer temperatures. The second shed occurs in fall.
During this time, long-haired dogs lose their summer fur and replace it with a thicker winter coat. These breeds should be brushed at least three times per week, preferably every day during shedding seasons. Use a smooth brush to eliminate tangles. Work from the neck downwards, so that you’re brushing loose hairs away from your pet.
You may need to clip the fur around your dog’s ears, underside, and paws. Be extremely cautious and don’t cut too close to the skin. Long-haired breeds should be bathed (with shampoo) once a week. This prevents the coat from tangling and giving you a major challenge when it comes time to groom.
Short Haired breeds require the least maintenance. They are prone to rapid heat loss during winter. However, thin fur becomes a major asset in hot weather. If you live in a particularly cold region, you may need to provide your dog with a jacket or blanket of some kind while outside. In summer though, almost no care is needed.
For the healthiest of fur, groom short haired pets at least once per week. This includes Dobermans, Pointers, Boxers, Pugs, Beagles, and Labradors. Brushing should be regular, but you can get away with giving your furry friend a bath just once every three weeks. He’s likely to shed almost constantly, but he won’t smell or get overly dirty between washes.
Groom your dog with a bristled brush. When you bathe him, try to dry him off as thoroughly as possible. The wetter he is, the harder he’ll find it to regain warmth.
Wirehaired breeds like Scottish Terriers, Otterhounds, and Affenpinschers can be surprisingly tricky to groom. This is because their coats must be hand plucked or stripped to prevent matting. You should think very carefully about owning one of these breeds. When these dogs aren’t properly groomed, the fur sticks together and becomes heavy and painful.
It is possible to strip a coat without professional assistance. The problem is it can be tedious and time-consuming. Many owners prefer to let a salon groomer do the job. Or, they choose to ‘roll’ the fur, rather than stripping it all in one instance. Rolling refers to a continuous level of care. The owner plucks out and removes matted hairs as and when they see them.
The best way to do this is with a specialized plucking knife. It is laid flat against the fur and pushed in the direction the hair is growing.
No matter what breed of dog you own, proper grooming is essential. If you’re not sure how often to get out the brush or what to do with it, just conduct your own research. There are plenty of great websites out there, with detailed instructions.