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A Newfoundland dog lying next to its combed-out seasonal undercoat.

Dog grooming refers to both the hygienic care and cleaning of a dog, as well as a process by which a dog's physical appearance is enhanced for showing or other types of competition. A "dog groomer" (or simply "groomer") is a person who earns their living grooming dogs.

Contents

Reasons for grooming

Grooming is an important part of dog care. Depending on the breed, age, and health of the dog, grooming may be a daily activity. Many breeds require significantly less grooming than this, but regular grooming helps to ensure the dog is healthy and comfortable. It is important to note that while many dogs shed, others (such as the Poodle), do not shed (see Moult). Instead, their coat grows much like human hair and therefore requires trimming.

The main reasons for daily grooming include:

  • improved health of the skin and coat
  • decreased chance of various health problems, such as thrush, scratches, and other skin problems
  • general cleanliness of the dog
  • monitoring of the dog's health by checking for cuts, heat, swelling, lameness, or changes in temperament (such as depression) , all of which could be indicative of illness
  • forging of a closer relationship between dog and owner

Tools of grooming

Various types of currycombs

Curry or Currycomb: A tool made of rubber or plastic with short "teeth." The tool is rubbed (or "curried") in a circular motion to loosen dirt, hair, and other detritus, and stimulate the skin into producing natural oils. Metal currycombs should not be used, as they are designed for use on show cattle.

A shedding blade

Shedding blade: A metal shedding blade with short, dull teeth is used to remove dead hair from certain types of harsh coats. The shedding blade is not used to cut the hair.

Scissors and Clippers: Cutting tools used to remove hair on certain types of coats or in sensitive areas.

Stripping Combs/Knives: Tools used to help grab the longer hairs on a harsh coat and pull them out by the root. Helps maintain a proper coat in many terriers and schnauzers. Most often used on show dogs.

Bathing

Dogs can be bathed by being sprayed with a garden hose or a hand-held shower head, or doused with water from a bucket. Often, one bath will not make a dog truly clean. A second bath if excellent to ensure the entire body has been cleaned. Dogs should be bathed with warm, not hot water, in order to make it a more enjoyable experience. Dogs with a heavy or matted coat should never be bathed without first being completely brushed out or clipped of any mats.

Many types of shampoos and conditioners formulated for dogs are available; however, using a shampoo without mixing it with water may be a bit strong for a dog that's just getting a touch-up bath. If the dog isn't filthy, water is mixed with shampoo in a 1:1 ratio to make it easier on the dog and to make sure it rinses entirely. If any shampoo remains on the dog after the bath, it may become irritating to the skin. Most dogs do not require frequent bathing; shampooing a coat too often can strip the fur of its natural oils, causing it to dry out.

Hair removal

Dog brush used for removal of loose hair and knots

The coats of many breeds require trimming, cutting, or other attention. Styles vary by breed and discipline. While some hair removal has its origins in practical purposes, much is based on the taste of the owner, whether or not the dog will be shown, and what work the dog does.

Stripping

The coats of Border Terriers must be stripped. Here an unstripped adult Border Terrier (left) is shown with a puppy.
The body of this adult Border Terrier has been stripped.

Stripping or hand-stripping is the process of pulling the dead hair out of the coat of a non-shedding dog, either by using a stripping knife or the fingers. A hard, wiry coat has a cycle where it starts growing and then sheds as it reaches maximum length. Hand-stripping coordinates the shedding and makes room for a new coat to grow. Stripping is the proper method grooming for most terriers, and is required for show dogs of many hard-coated breeds. There are two ways to strip a dog for show: the first way only removes the longest hair at one time ("rotating" the coat), while another totally strips the dog to skin, giving them a naked appearance (stripping "to the skin"). Many dogs are reported to enjoy having their hair stripped, especially when they are introduced to it as puppies.[1]

Nail trimming

Nail trimming is essential for maintaining good health. If a dog's nails are allowed to grow, they will curl over into a spiral shape; walking will become increasingly painful to the dog as they grow out. Uncut nails may curl so far that they pierce the paw pad, leading to infection and debilitating pain. If one does not trim a dog's nails on a monthly basis the quick will grow along with the nail, making it nearly impossible to cut properly. Owners may choose to trim nails themselves or may opt to take their pet to a groomer or veterinarian.

Other services

Additional options that some groomers provide include services such as colouring dogs' fur and painting dogs' nails. They may also sell products for dogs' fur and other products such as dog clothing.

References

External links








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