Grooming isn’t just about how the animal looks. Yes, a dog will look much better after the appointment—what animal wouldn’t after a bath and fresh hair cut? But it’s not just all shiny ribbons and wacky fur dye.
Grooming is actually good for the dog! Some dogs may need a weekly groom, while others need one every 6 weeks. Every dog needs a different amount and frequency of care, and not all dog owners know this. In fact, many dog owners (especially new ones!) don’t even know why dog grooming is important.
Educating owners is part of your job. So here are the top reasons why grooming is important. Pay attention!
Clean dogs and good hygiene
A clean dog is a healthy and happy dog. You know as well as anyone that a dog doesn’t need to be bathed every day. Thank goodness! It’s hard to just getting them to remain still! But if a dog spends lots of time outside rolling around in the mud, it will need more baths! Their coats will track a lot of dirt, and long-haired breeds trap pet odors, too. Most people think grooming is just limited to bathing and brushing. Yes, brushing is important. It removes dead hair and dander and stimulates new hair growth and better circulation for the skin.
But, it’s actually a lot more than just keeping the coat clean. Full-service grooming includes trimming nails, cleaning teeth, and preventing infection in the ears! Did you know that not trimming long nails on a dog could affect the dog’s gait? Keeping them clean and comfortable with regular grooming will lead to a happy pup!
Identify health issues
As we mentioned with long nails leading to walking problems, proper grooming can make a difference in a dog’s health! While you’re brushing their coat, you’ll be the first to see any change in skin conditions. As a professional groomer, you’re trained to notice any abnormalities in coat and skin condition. If you see a bump, scab, skin disease, or infection, you may want to alert the owners. But don’t try to give an official diagnosis. Remember, you aren’t a veterinarian!
Some conditions you can easily diagnose—if you see fleas and ticks for instance. You can arrange for a flea bath, but you must still alert the dog owner. Tell them to consult a vet for further treatments.
Owners should be brushing their dogs between grooming appointments. This way, they can maintain the health of their pet and prevent mats. Mats are tangled and flattened patches of hair. The closer a mat gets to the surface of the skin, the more painful it is for a dog. The tight tension caused by mats lead to itchiness. If the dog scratches the mats and the underlying skin excessively, they could open up wounds for infections.
Mats provide a good breeding ground for fleas and other parasites that may have hopped on when the dog was playing outside. Removing mats carefully and with the appropriate tools can remove the irritation and pain. You’ll also make it easier to rid the dog of parasites.
Keeps the house clean
After a grooming appointment, cleanliness will extend to the dog’s home, too. Regular grooming will remove all the dead hair, dirt, and dander from the dog’s coat. Having all that dead hair stripped away prevents mats and helps with shedding in the home. However, we’re not saying that owners will suddenly stop seeing shedding altogether.
Use the appropriate tool for the coat type and remove as much dead hair as possible in the salon. For long-haired dogs, their hairs can trap pollen and other allergens from playing outside. Shedding a lot of hair, dander, and allergens around the house can be overwhelming and irritating to the nose. Regular grooming can lessen the effects of trapped allergens to family members with slight allergies.
When should you groom a dog?
Now that we know grooming is important, how often should a dog be groomed?
Grooming should start at an early age—as young as 8 weeks! Sometimes dogs freak out if they’re suddenly brought to an unfamiliar environment. If owners introduce their puppies to the process of grooming at a young age, you’ll have a much easier time. It also helps them establish a healthy routine early on!
But just how often should owners take their dogs in for a grooming appointment?
It depends partly on owner preferences and the dog’s lifestyle. Think about it: if you frequent a dog-friendly beach, your dog’s coat may trap a lot of sand, salt, and grime. An active dog who isn’t afraid to get dirty will need to bathe more! Moreover, if the owner also keeps up with grooming in-between appointments at home, then they don’t need too many professional grooming appointments at all.
And the most important characteristic that affects grooming frequency? The dog’s coat type! Dogs have a range of coat types. Depending on the type, certain conditions will apply that would affect grooming frequency. For example, a Great Dane has a smooth coat. The hairs are short, glossy, and lie close to the body. Because the coat looks more like skin than hair, they also, unfortunately, don’t do a good job of protecting the skin. Dogs with smooth coats are prone to sunburns, insect bites, and skin sensitivity. They don’t need to go to the salon often unless they get dirty frequently. Beyond ear cleaning and nail clipping, they don’t need much at all!
Study up on your coat types and you’ll be able to make the best grooming recommendations!
You have options when starting your dog grooming business!
Casey Bechard of Off The Leash Pet Grooming is a QC Pet Studies graduate. Read all about her favorite breeds and pet haircuts as a certified groomer!
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