A blast of fun and frolics, or a nightmare akin to wrestling an oil-covered octopus into a net, bathing your dog is part of regular doggy maintenance and grooming. Grooming also includes coat cutting, teeth brushing and nail clipping. However, how often should a professional be in on the act, and what should you be doing in between?
How Often Should I Groom My Dog?
When you ask how often a dog should be groomed, the most important factor to consider is their coat type. Different dogs have different care needs for their coats. Let’s break this down into the five types:
- The Shorties: Dogs with short hair, such as a Beagle or a Boxer, won’t need as much grooming as other dogs. They won’t need too many baths and only a small amount of brushing. However, to minimise shedding where you don’t want it, brush them regularly.
- The Short-Haired Double-Coated Dogs: These pooches, which include German Shepherds and Newfoundland’s, will shed seasonally. Therefore, while they are still short-haired you’ll need to have them groomed around four times a year to remove the old undercoat and minimise some of the sheddings.
- The Long-Haired Double-Coated Dogs: Dogs with longer hair but also a double coat, such as many collies and some terriers, also shed according to season but will likely have longer tufts on their feet, belly, face and tail. They really do need regular grooming to keep matting at bay, especially around their bottom! This is particularly true if they have a thick undercoat. Such dogs will need professional grooming at least every three months, possibly more frequently.
- The Silkies: Silky-coated dogs, such as a Yorkshire terrier, have just the single coat. However, left untended it grows and grows. They will need a regular appointment for a doggy Even the shortest cuts will only last a couple of months.
- The Curlies: Our pooches with the glorious curls and waves, such as Labradoodles and cockapoos, are the ones who need real attention. Left ungroomed these coats can quickly turn in to matted hell. They should be brushed twice weekly or even daily with a pop along to the groomer once a month.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?
Of course, between professional grooming sessions you’ll need to bathe your dog appropriately. Understandably some of this comes down to your dog’s love of rolling in all things smelly. You’ll also likely want to factor in whether bath time is met with blissful relaxation as you massage away, or an exercise in angst for both you and your pooch which trashes your bathroom in the process.
On a practical level, dogs don’t actually need to be bathed. Not for their own sake as they only have sweat glands between their paws. The same task can be completed by regular grooming and brushing. Furthermore, too much bathing, or using the wrong products, can damage their coat. However, if you have a stink-magnet or a longer haired dog then you’re likely to want to bathe your dog for your own benefit, and that of your furnishings.
An Extra Word about Puppies
Again, puppies don’t necessarily need to be bathed. However, it can be a great bonding time much as it is with a tiny baby. Making bath time a positive experience in their early weeks with you can help them to feel reassured and safe regarding bath time in the future. Therefore take care to do it calmly and get the water temperature comfortable at lukewarm. It’s also best not to use anything other than water at this age. Praise and treat.
How Often Should I Groom My Dog: What Products to Use
Do NOT use human shampoo, no matter how delightful it smells compared to fox poo. Dog’s coats have a waterproof coating and human shampoo will strip it of its waterproof capabilities. Furthermore, the pH balance of your dog’s skin needs looking after if you don’t want parasites, viruses and bacteria to get a good footing. So always use a specific doggy shampoo.
You can bathe your dog around once a month, or as needed, using specialised dog shampoos. Some will be designed specifically for your dog’s type of coat. Don’t bathe them within 24 hours of using spot-on flea treatment as you will wash away the drug.
The most important thing you should be doing to take care of your dog’s coat is brushing. It stimulates hair regeneration and circulation as well as removing dirt and grease. While brushing them, it is also a fantastic opportunity to check for ticks and look out for any inflamed or sore areas of skin. Longer haired dogs will also need combing to get through the thick layers and prevent matting.
A Word about Nails and Teeth
If you take your dog to a professional groomer then they will be able to take care of nail clipping. It can be daunting to trim your own dog’s nails.
Often dogs wear down their nails naturally, but others won’t. It’s important to only trim off a tiny amount at a time and be sure you can see the nerve in order to avoid it. This can be particularly tricky if their nails are dark.
Dog’s teeth should ideally be brushed, with a dog toothbrush and paste, every day or frequently at least, in order to ensure healthy gums and oral hygiene.
When to Get the Professionals on Board
Regularly brushing, of coat and teeth, and the odd bath now and then can be managed at home as an enjoyable part of caring for your pet. However, for haircuts, deep grooming, careful nail clipping and more, you will need to enlist a professional groomer.
At the Wag Club Spa we offer all the services of a fabulous pampering and preening doggy spa on a one-to-one basis in London. You can book your pooch in for grooming either on a stand-alone basis or have them groomed as part of our doggy day care service meaning you’re only left with the job of snuggles and walkies. Get in touch to find out more.