Guest essays and contributions

Caring for Your Dog Between Trips to the Groomers

By Sara Rupp, The Bark, September 2019

W​hen you adopt a dog, you adopt a family member. You carefully consider what would make him or her feel happy and loved, then execute the fun pet supply shopping trip. Many don’t consider grooming right off the bat, and that’s okay, for a little while. No matter what breed or mix they are, grooming is a fundamental part of the basic care of your furry family members. Typically, every 6-8 weeks you should be making a visit to your local groomer who pours their heart and soul into their work. You find a groomer you can trust and be completely transparent with about the needs of your dog.  You think to yourself, “great, I’ve got this under control!” Well, not entirely. There are a few things that your pooch needs between their spa sessions. After all, when you get your hair done, you do basic daily upkeep for yourself don’t you? Dogs are not much different.

W​hen you take your dog to the groomer the basics are usually included in your grooming package such as bath, brush, nails trimmed, ears cleaned, and a haircut if needed. After the service is performed, it’s typically 6-8 weeks until the next time you should have your dog go to their next appointment. During the 6-8 weeks that your furry family member is living their best life at home with you, you should consider implementing a few daily rituals into your routine.

B​rushing your dog daily is necessary to reduce shedding, prevent matting, and preserve their carefully coiffed hairdo. This will then dictate how much money you will be spending at the grooming salon later because brushing will also reduce the need for added services like expensive conditioning treatments, matting up charges, and other similar services. Brushing will also strengthen the bond between you and your furry family member by spending anywhere between 10-20 minutes of quality time together each day. Some might feel that there’s no time in their busy schedule to execute this simple task. However, this can be completed while in front of the television or spending time with the rest of the family.

N​ail maintenance is also important when taking care of your fur baby. Yes, the groomer trims their nails every 6-8 weeks, but you should still regularly monitor the growth of their nails. Your dog’s nails should not touch the ground when your dog is standing still. If they are, this could cause them joint pain and other medical issues. Something as simple as taking your dog for frequent walks on concrete or filing them once every other week will help with this issue. Your dog has a blood vessel called a kwik in each of their nails that will grow along with the nail. Therefore, the longer the nail, the longer the kwik. The longer the kwik of your dogs nails are, the longer your groomer will have to leave the nail so as not to cause injury to your dog. It’s an easily preventable vicious cycle.

T​he last thing I would recommend for your dogs mid-groom care is to consider what your groomer tells you before taking your pampered pet home. Most of the time your groomer will let you know what your fur baby needs when you come to pick them up. Maybe they’re afraid of a grooming tool, matted in some areas, have dry skin, etc. No matter what it’s, they have valuable care information that they would not suggest if it wasn’t vital to the proper care of your furry family member. For example, if Fluffy the Pomeranian is afraid of the clipper noise, your groomer may suggest rubbing the handle of a powered vibrating toothbrush on them a few times a week. Although it sounds silly, the noise of the powered toothbrush will help to mimic the clippers and will help Fluffy get used to the noise. Fluffy getting used to the noise will in turn reduce his stress levels while getting his bi-monthly haircut and will make for a happier, healthier Fluffy.

A​t the end of the day, your dog will love you no matter the amount of in-between groom care they receive. The amount of in-between groom care you give them is also entirely up to you. Regardless, there’s no “perfect” way to care for your dog. However, it’s guaranteed that these tips will greatly improve your dogs quality of life. Besides, who doesn’t love a happier, healthier fur baby?

Source: Caring for Your Dog Between Trips to the Groomers

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