Beauty is more than skin deep when it comes to your puppy! Keeping your puppy well-groomed not only gives you a clean-smelling companion, it also helps keep your dog more comfortable and allows you to spot health problems before they become serious, even life-threatening.
How important is grooming to your puppy's comfort? Well, have you ever had your hair in a ponytail that was a little too tight? A hair mat can feel the same way to your dog, constantly pulling on its skin. Try to imagine those all over your body and you have a good idea how uncomfortable a matted, un-groomed coat can feel.
Your puppy need never know the discomfort of a mat if you keep your puppy brushed and combed. And that's just the start of the health benefits! Regular grooming allows you to look for fleas, lumps, bumps and injuries while removing mats and ticks from the haircoat. Follow up with our veterinarians and ask about any questionable masses you find. You may detect a skin cancer in its earliest stages.
Regardless of the type of hair or fur your puppy has, you don't need to bathe it very often unless your puppy becomes soiled or rolls in something smelly. Ask us for a puppy shampoo recommendation. Hylyt is a good brand that is gentle, hypoallergenic and moisturizes the skin. It is important after shampooing to rinse thoroughly and dry your puppy very well.
For short-haired breeds of dogs it's easy to keep the skin and coat in good shape. Bathe your puppy no more than once a month. Run your hands over your puppy daily, brush the haircoat 2 – 3 times a week, and that's it.
For longer-haired breeds of dogs, grooming is more involved. Breeds such as collies, chows, Keeshonds and Alaskan malamutes have "double-coats" which means they have a downy undercoat underneath coarser long hair. The downy hair can mat like a layer of felt against the skin if left untended. To prevent this, divide the haircoat into small sections and brush against the grain from the skin outward, working from head to tail, section by section. In the spring and fall – the big shedding times – you'll end up with enough fluffy undercoat to make a whole new dog! Daily brushing is required to keep on top of haircoats like these.
Silky-coated breeds such as Afghan hounds, cockers and Maltese dogs also need daily brushing to keep tangles from forming. As with the double-coated dogs, work with small sections at a time, brushing from the skin outward, and then comb back into place with the grain for a glossy, finished look. Coats of this type require so much attention that you might consider a groomer to help keep your dog's haircoat trimmed to a medium, manageable length.
Curly and Wiry-Coated Breeds
Curly and wiry-coated breeds such as poodles and terriers need to be brushed 2 –3 times weekly, working against the grain and then with it. Consult with a reputable groomer to determine how often your dog's haircoat needs to be clipped.
Good grooming is more than just keeping your pet looking beautiful and smelling clean, although that's certainly one of the pleasant payoffs! A haircoat free of mats, burrs and tangles and skin free of fleas and ticks is as comfortable to your puppy as clean clothes are to you. You feel good all over and the effect is the same for your puppy.
An added benefit for you: Give your dog a tummy rub after every grooming session! It will relax both you and your puppy and ease away stress. And, for allergy sufferers, keeping your puppy clean and brushed may minimize your symptoms.
Call us at (978) 453-1784 if you have any questions. We offer medical baths and flea dips for both dogs and cats to relieve itchy skin and discomfort. Ask us what we can do for your pet!