Is It Necessary To Have Your Dog Groomed?
It Isn't Just About A Stylish "Do"
There’s hardly a better bonding or "quality time" opportunity than to have a grooming session with your dog. Pet supply stores are full of grooming tools for the do-it-yourself pet groomer.
An owner who grooms his or her own dog can incorporate a number of other "feel good" maneuvers that most dogs will truly enjoy, and which groomers may not have the time to do.
What dog doesn't luxuriate in a great belly rub or ear scratch? And what dog doesn't relish the personal attention of a beloved pack member? You can also use the session to examine your dog for parasites, cuts, bruises, lumps or foreign bodies.
A good brushing removes dead hair and helps prevent matting. It also helps distribute naturally occurring oils which often collect at the base of the hair, along the entire shaft, resulting in a shinier coat.
Most vets will gladly demonstrate massage techniques, which are helpful for dogs that experience muscle pain or joint stiffness. Once you learn those, you can incorporate them into the grooming session as well.
Groomers are part stylists and part scientists
Having said all that, there’s still a strong case for utilizing the services of a professional groomer, and more and more dog owners are doing so. That's because more and more dog owners are realizing that a trip to the groomer for a canine coiffeur isn't a frivolous luxury.
As an important aspect of your dog’s regular care, and not merely a "trip to the beauty parlor," we're also realizing that grooming can be difficult, not always convenient, and not always successful.
Groomers are trained and experienced. Good ones are part stylist/part scientist, and that's important for the well being of dogs. They learn and practice proper calming and restraint techniques, and are adept at reading a dog's body language.
Often using clues too subtle for many of us to read, dogs will let their feelings be known before taking action, such as fleeing or biting. Knowing how to read those clues is a matter of safety for the dog and nearby humans.
Groomers also have the right tools and the skills to use them properly. Not only does that better facilitate the result you’re trying to achieve, it also makes the session go more quickly and less stressfully. And groomers are great early warning devices.
A good groomer will be able to tip you off to problems, or potential problems. An owner may not always see parasites, or recognize problem skin, or conditions such as ringworm, which is not a parasite, by the way, but a fungus infection. Groomers often will catch those.
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They're also more likely to spot less obvious conditions such as ear mites or dry skin conditions that could lead to more serious problems. And they're usually more attuned to overall normal body conditions, enabling them to point out weight issues, suspicious lumps, or other symptoms owners may not recognize.
And then there’s the beauty parlor part. If haircutting or de-matting is needed, most owners will see the wisdom in letting a professional do it. Brushing can easily be accomplished by an owner, but when the dog has to be partly restrained, as in during hair cutting, groomers have the edge.
If the hair becomes matted, it pulls at the skin every time the dog moves. This often causes the dog to chew or lick at those spots, which can lead to problems such as lick granuloma, open sores, secondary infections or other consequences from self-trauma.
And if the mats get wet, they can cause skin irritation that might lead to inflammation and infection. Clearly, a dog with poor skin and coat condition is an uncomfortable dog.
Another plus is that most groomers perform other procedures that many pet owners don’t like to do; clipping nails, tooth brushing and expressing anal sacs, to name a few.
Many veterinary clinics, and all pet supply stores, carry a veritable arsenal of grooming tools.
There are brushes, combs, rakes, curries, gloves, shedding blades and clippers, plus de-matting solutions, rinses and shampoos that smell good enough to drink.
When deciding which tools are best to use, it often comes down to what feels best in your hand and/or what you believe will be the easiest to use. Depending upon where you buy your pet supplies, the staff may be helpful in selecting the proper tools.
Sometimes a friend's recommendation will steer you to a particular brush or comb…or a good groomer.