If you’re a mini schnauzer owner, grooming is bound to be a major part of your life. The mini schnauzer’s trademark beard and furnishings give the breed its distinctive look, but to keep these looking good, you’ll have to do some maintenance.
The mini schnauzer’s coat can be stripped or clipped. Stripping is a tedious process that is necessary to achieve the harsh, wiry coat that is required among those that compete in conformation dog shows. Clipping, on the other hand, is a much simpler process for those schnauzers that do not join championship dog shows. Clipping or the “pet cut” is what groomers at pet shops do, and frankly, this is all you really need to do to keep your pet dog looking and smelling good.
For the purposes of this blog, I will be talking about grooming and maintenance for pets, and not show dogs. Show grooming is a different process altogether, and there are experts who have blog and websites on these.
Mini schnauzers need to visit the groomer at least once every two months. In between these trips to the groomer, you need to do your part.
Since I get a lot of questions about the upkeep of my dogs, I thought it might be helpful to share some mini schnauzer upkeep tips:
Brush your dog’s furnishings daily. Invest in a good brush and make sure you brush your dog’s hair daily, paying particular attention to the furnishings. Regular brushing is the only way to avoid mats from forming. A slicker brush is good for furnishings, while a boar brush can be nice for the body. You can get these online or at major pet shops in the Philippines.
Make sure there are no mats especially in the armpits and the belly area.
Keep the furnishings short. Lush furnishings look heavenly but they require maintenance, so tell your groomer to keep the hair on the arms and legs short (about an inch or so). This will give your dog the schnauzery look while minimizing the formation of mats.
Keep the beard clean. Some schnauzers like to get their beard into all sorts of things, inadvertently getting their beard into food bowls, water dishes, soil, and just about anything else that they discover. This is why you need to keep their beards dirt-free. You can use wipes or a moist hand towel to remove debris and dirt from their beards.
Keep the beard dry. For some people, using a water feeder is one way to prevent the beard from getting constantly wet, but this does not work for all dogs. Get a paper towel to pat dry the beard whenever it’s wet.
Brush their teeth. This is important. Dental health is key to maintaining their good health, which is why daily brushings are needed. Get a small finger brush and use toothpaste for dogs. Virbac has a good enzymatic toothpaste, but there are many others in the market with interesting flavours such as beef and chicken. Dogs actually like this. As your schnauzer ages, you also have to schedule a dental prophylaxis with your vet to take out tartar that would accumulate on his teeth.
Make sure hair doesn’t get into your dog’s eyes. The schnauzer’s thick facial hair, especially those near the eyes, could irritate it. Once you see that hair strands are getting to your dog’s eyes, cut these off to ensure that the eyes are protected.
Keep the skirt short. A lot of people are fascinated by the “skirt,” the hair that grows on the schnauzer’s underbelly. However, this serves no real purpose, and if you look at grooming charts, these skirts are actually not even supposed to be there. (Remember, you have a schnauzer, not a cocker spaniel!) I often choose to clip this part completely, especially among male schnauzers, to avoid getting it wet with urine whenever my dog goes to pee. Next time you visit your groomer, tell him to just let this part go, especially if your dog is male.
Give regular baths. Most mini schnauzers enjoy bath time, which is a great thing. Frequency of baths varies from dog to dog. Some of my dogs get daily baths, more because they look forward to it than anything else, while the rest have weekly baths. Of course, if your dog runs in the rain or digs a hole in the garden, you’ll have to give him a bath right away. Always use a good shampoo for dogs. There are several global brands available in the Philippines, my favourite being All Systems, Chris Christensen, Plush Puppy, and Pure Paws. Remember to dry their hair using a blow dryer.
Although these things may sound complicated, they’re actually quite easy to do. You just have to make them part of your routine. Treat grooming time as an opportunity to bond and play with your schnauzer – this will make it enjoyable and will make them look forward to these grooming sessions with you.