All dogs require regular brushing and combing in order to keep their coats healthy and untangled. If you can imagine how your head might feel if you didn't brush your own hair for a few days, you'll have a small idea of how important regular brushing is for your pets too.
For some breeds, daily brushing is recommended. Long Haired breeds and double coated breeds obviously tangle and matt more then a short coated dog, and because of this, the very nature of the breed you have selected, their costs are more difficult to maintain and require much more brushing and combing.
Recommended brushing time is different for every breed but the rule of thumb is:
Flat Coats (Setters, Cocker Spaniels) 30 to 60 min 2-3X/week.
A matted coat causes numerous problems for your dog. First, it's terribly uncomfortable because as the hair matts tighter and tighter, it pulls on the surrounding skin. If matts are left for even a short period of time, the skin can actually split and get infected. A matted dog who gets wet in the rain may develop mould on the skin or develop a fungus, kind of an athlete's foot. These hurt both the dog and your wallet because these conditions require immediate and extended veterinary care. Flies like to lay their eggs on dogs, so a matted dog can actually get maggots on their skin that can literally eat the dog's flesh under the matts....another costly problem for you to have treated, not to mention terribly painful to the dog.
Dematting a dog is not pleasant for the groomer. Since it's not likely that the dog is used to grooming (otherwise he wouldn't be matted in the first place), he is usually not cooperative to begin with. To dematt a dog, a groomer has to rip apart the matts with a comb or a seven-bladed tool, and this means having to pull hair out by the roots in most cases. Uncooperative dogs do not tolerate this pulling very well. A dog that is stressed and in pain may wrestle, bite, scream, vomit, and urinate or defecate on the table and or the groomer and their equipment. Chances of injuring the dog with bladed equipment and chances of the dog injuring the groomer by biting or scratching are very high under these horrible circumstances.
If your pet is matted when you arrive for the appointment, our trained professionals would be more than happy to explain your options. Often, however, the best solution is a short utility clip. No matter what time of year it is or how cold it is outside, a matted coat is not a healthy coat and you are risking your pet's health by letting it remain in a matted state. If you wish to grow out the coat after clipping, we can help you.
Obviously it's best to prevent matting in the first place and that's easy to do with regular brushing. Our professional groomers can recommend a brushing schedule for you, and suggest appropriate grooming tools. If you still can't maintain the coat, there are some other options. Many breeds can be trimmed into a "utility clip" that is shorter than the usual length, but still looks nice and is easier to maintain between professional groomings. You'll still need to brush and comb, of course, but life will be easier for you, your pet, and your groomer.
You can make appointments to bring your dog in more regularly for grooming. A Royal Touch offers special optinos for owners who bring their dogs in on a regular schedule. Ask one of our trained professionals about our maintenance plan. By bringing your pet in for professional grooming more often, you'll avoid more costly dematting and more importantly you'll avoid unnecessary stress and health problems for your best friend.
Grooming Do's and Don'ts
Brush and Comb your dog regularly.
Book Grooming Appointments well in advance.
Begin grooming puppies at eight weeks old.
Brush and Comb your dog COMPLETELY before bathing him.
COMPLETELY DISCLOSE ALL INFORMATION IF YOUR DOG HAS BITTEN ANOTHER DOG OR
A PERSON FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER YOU ARE LIABLE IF YOU DO NOT!
Walk your pet before your appointment.
Respect your Groomer's opinions, they are trained professionals, after all.
Always have your pet on a leash and under control.
Train your dog to accept grooming, just like you train him to sit and stay.
Please Do Not:
Try to convince a groomer to dematt your dog if he/she is severely matted, dematting is inhumane and cruel.
Aesthetic reasons are not enough.
Get your dog shaved naked just once a year and complain about the fee.
Teach your puppy that it's fun to bite the brush.
Pressure your groomer to have your dog groomed in too short of a time period.
Allow your pet to defecate in or around the salon and not clean it up. (It's Illegal).
Neglect to tell your groomer if your pet has been ill.
HOW TO BRUSH AND COMB YOUR DOG
First, determine how often your dog needs brushing. Shorthaired dogs should be brushed 2-3 times a week.
Longhaired dogs need brushing daily. Even 2-3 minutes a day can keep matting under control.
Pick the right tool for the job. Long-haired dogs benefit from a tool with serrated edges. A rake comb is a good tool for removing dead undercoat hair. Actually, there is a wide range of brushes and combs because there is such a wide range of coats across the many dog breeds. Ask your veterinarian or a professional groomer for a recommendation for your particular dog. Or check out the many options at a good pet supply store. Having the right brush can make a world of difference.
Establish a fixed routine and follow it consistently at each session. It will ensure that you don't miss any spots. To make it easier on both of you, put your dog on a table for grooming. Place a rubber bathmat on the surface to prevent skidding.
As long as your dog isn't frightened by it, you may be able to use a hair dryer on the cool setting to help loosen hair at the beginning of your session.
Gently work out mats and tangles. Comb out the mats a little at a time starting at the tips of the hair. It's extremely important to eliminate matting and tangling before you bathe your dog. The mats will be even harder to remove after bathing, and your dog won't be truly clean.
Once the hair is tangle-free, brush the hair thoroughly. This massaging action helps loosen and remove dead skin cells, and evenly distribute oils. Longhaired breeds should be brushed from the skin outward, then brush with the lay of the hair for the final touch.
Brushing "against the grain" can irritate the skin of some dogs, which may make them want to turn and run at grooming time. This technique however is the most effective at straightening the hair and removing matts. So be gentle when using this method. Straight strokes may be best, especially for long-haired dogs. ALWAYS follow up completely combing through your dog's coat with a METAL COMB.
If your dog is agreeable, you might try picking up stray hairs by giving him a once-over with a vacuum cleaner attachment. Just make sure you can adjust the vacuum to a low suction setting. If your dog is frightened by the vacuum cleaner, bypass this step.
As always, be gentle and praise your dog repeatedly for remaining calm.
Dogs shed. It's normal, and it's healthy. Follow the steps above to encourage healthy shedding, which not only removes loose hair but also stimulates the skin.
For Shedding BreedsDog hair on your trouser legs and furniture are normal telltale signs of having a pet. If your dog has a coat, there is going to be some shedding, and you'll have to decide if you're comfortable with the amount of hair your dog leaves behind.
For many dogs, shedding is just a spring and summer irritation as your dog sheds the extra protection of a wooly winter coat. Different breeds shed different amounts, so if you're sensitive to hair, consider this when choosing a dog. Look for breeds that don't shed as much.
You also may notice a difference between indoor and outdoor dogs. If your dog spends most of his time indoors, he may shed year-round since his body won't register the dramatic changes in temperature that trigger growth and shedding.
What You Can Do
You can't keep your dog from shedding, but you can help keep it under control by removing hair before it has a chance to drop everywhere. The solution is consistent grooming.
Make brushing your dog a daily ritual, particularly if you have a breed with longer hair or one that naturally sheds. Brushing can be great for bonding and giving puppy the attention he craves.
Slicker or pin brushes penetrate to the undercoat and remove most of the shedding hair.
If you're in shedding season, you may also take your dog outside or into an easily vacuumed room and use a shedding blade or undercoat rake to remove more. You may be surprised how much flies away.
A groomer will be able to tell you which tools to buy and how to use them correctly.
If your dog is shedding excessively (more than in the past, or if bald spots start to appear), talk to your veterinarian. This may be coat loss related to a health condition that may need treatment.