Dog grooming is essential if you want to keep your dog looking good. But more than just making their appearance great and their smell amazing, grooming comes with more benefits. It’s also essential to maintain their health and improve their overall well-being. In this article, we cover all there is to know about the importance of dog grooming.
Bathing, brushing, ear cleaning, teeth cleaning, and nail cutting are essential in maintaining your dog’s health. But what I would consider being a necessary part of the grooming process and one that shouldn’t be forgotten is bathing and brushing your dog’s coat.
As you may already notice, your dog’s coat is probably one of its most distinctive features. This is why I’d like to share several basic canine practices that you should apply to keep your dog’s coat shiny and healthy.
But, before we dive into these practices, let us first tackle the importance of your dog’s coat.
The Importance Of Dog Grooming: Skin and Coat
A dog’s coat is more than just a decoration for your dog. You can’t just shave your dog’s coat because you think it’s better that way. Research is always necessary before you do any trimming because your dog’s coat serves a lot of purposes:
- Protection: The number one reason your dog’s coat is essential is that it serves as the first barrier to protecting your dog. It’s like human skin. It covers the internal organs from the outside elements.
There are many dog breeds developed with a harsh, thick coat to protect them. Take herding breeds or dogs from mountainous areas, for example. Their coats are thick to prevent predators from biting them and protect them from extreme hot or cold climates.
- Immunity: Your dog’s skin plays an important part in the immune system. Keeping it healthy will also mean staying away from skin diseases, which can significantly lower your dog’s immunity. Harmful bacteria could hurt your dog if its skin is not healthy.
- Thermoregulation: Knowing the importance of dog grooming can help you understand how your dog’s coat helps keep their temperature at good levels, which is why shaving and trimming shouldn’t be done if your veterinarian does not advise it. This is very important, especially if you’re in cold climate areas and want to protect your dog from the cold.
- Hydration: Unhealthy skin may cause water loss, which can have a very terrible impact on your dog’s overall health. These cause dehydration, which can affect your pet’s energy and metabolism.
- Nutrient Storage: It may not be obvious, but your dog’s skin stores lots of nutrients. Proteins, linoleic acids, fatty acids, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, and minerals such as zinc, copper, selenium, and manganese are all found in your dog’s skin. All these are essential in keeping your dog healthy and protecting him from any diseases.
Now that we have emphasized the importance of dog grooming as it pertains to their skin and coat, let us proceed on to the best practices you should do in your home to keep your dog’s skin healthy.
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Importance Of Dog Grooming: Best Canine Skin Care Practices
As mentioned earlier, dog grooming usually depends on what kind of breed you have. But taking care of your dog’s skin and coat always involves bathing, brushing, trimming, clipping, or shaving, inspecting your dog’s skin, and the right diet. We’ll discuss the importance of each of these below:
Bathing your dog is the perfect way to make them clean and odor-free. It also makes them happy, healthy, and free from parasites that will make them sick. However, there are two things you should always consider: the frequency of baths your dog needs and the type of shampoo you should use.
Frequency of Baths
The frequency of baths will vary from one breed to another. Some dogs can go without a bath for 2-3 months, and some dogs easily smell after a week. Three things would help determine bath frequency:
- Coat type: Dogs that produce natural oils don’t need to be given a bath frequently as dirt can easily be removed, and they don’t get smelly. Also, bathing them would strip off that natural oil and will cause their skin to dry.
Dogs with smooth coats can be cleaned by simply wiping off dirt, so frequent baths are not needed. Meanwhile, long-haired breeds may need frequent baths as they also need frequent grooming.
- Skin Condition: If your dog has any skin condition that needs to be paid attention to, your vet will most likely schedule baths. And if your dog is allergic to any outside elements, frequent bathing will also be needed to remove allergens.
- Lifestyle: The more active your dog is, the bigger chance they’ll get dirty and smelly. This means you would also need to bathe them more frequently to get rid of that mess, especially if you want to keep your home clean.
You can ask for advice from your vet about the importance of dog grooming when it comes to bathing. But if there’s one thing most dog owners do to determine if their dog needs a bath, is if they smell bad.
What You’ll Need
You don’t have to overthink what your dog needs for their bath. Basically, you’d need shampoo, conditioner, a non-slip mat, sprayer, ear cleaner, towel, and a blow dryer. Make sure that you only use shampoo and conditioner that are appropriate for your dog. Always ask your vet for recommendations, especially if your dog has any skin conditions.
If it’s your first time bathing your dog, here are some useful tips to remember:
- First, always remember to place a non-slip mat in the bath before putting your dog in. This way, they become comfortable as they feel safer.
- Then, brush your dog’s coat thoroughly to make your job easier. This will remove all loose hair, so there’s only less that you’d need to worry about in the tub. It will also help the shampoo and conditioner to penetrate easier to give your dog a better clean.
- Next, you should always use lukewarm water. Hot water will hurt them, and no one likes taking cold baths…even dogs!
- Shampooing your dog twice is ideal. The first application is usually for cleansing, while the second is for deep moisturizing. But remember to rinse well in between those applications.
- After the second application, rinse your dog well. Any remaining soap in your dog’s skin can cause irritation once it dries. So it’s important to rinse, rinse, and rinse until no soap is left.
- Finally, dry your dog’s coat thoroughly with a towel. A blow dryer is not advisable as it can be too hot, but if you use one designed for dogs, that won’t be any problem.
You should continuously talk to your dog during the process, so they stay calm and comfortable. Also, we recommend rewarding them with treats or praises for being cooperative.
Another aspect to consider about the importance of dog grooming is brushing. It helps prevent mats and tangles, remove dirt, and remove loose hair—all of this results in a healthier coat and lesser shedding.
How often should you brush your dog’s coat?
Like bathing, how often you should brush your dog’s coat also depends on the breed you have. Some dogs need lots of brushing that would take quite some time, and there are also dogs with coats that would only need to be brushed for a few minutes once a week.
Here are a few situations you would need to brush the coat of your dog:
- Maintenance Brushing: Depending on the dog breed, there are high-maintenance dogs and low-maintenance dogs. High-maintenance dogs, usually prone to matting or heavy coated, require daily brushing. This usually takes a few minutes of your day. Low-maintenance breeds, on the other hand, would only need weekly brushing to maintain.
- After Being Wet: Brushing your dog’s coat after swimming, baths, or running around a wet yard will prevent mats from forming. Wipe them thoroughly with a towel first and their coats with a thorough brush.
- During the Shedding Season: There are short-coat dogs that shed seasonally. For this case, you would need to brush daily for at least 15 minutes to speed up the process. At the same time, it minimizes dog hair around your house and also helps keep you and your dog comfortable.
What Products Would You Need?
Again, this would depend on the coat type of your dog. There are many different types of brushes: bristle brush, comb, curry brush, pin brush, etc. You can ask for advice from your vet, or an expert groomer, or do your research to find the best brush for them. Remember to find the most comfortable place where you won’t have to worry about hair getting on your furniture.
Trimming, Clipping, or Shaving
If you have a long-haired or heavy-coated dog, there are big chances that you would also need to trim, clip, or shave their coats. It’s always important to order yourself a professional grooming kit with grooming materials designed for your dog, so you don’t hurt them.
Pick a spot that doesn’t have any distractions, so your dog doesn’t move around so much. It should also be big enough so you can move around comfortably.
If this is your first time doing this, we highly recommend asking for professional help for your dog’s safety. They’ll be able to give you pointers and tips on how to groom your dog right, so if you get to do it next time, you’d know the right way to do it.
Inspect Your Dog’s Skin
An essential part of dog skincare is inspecting your dog’s skin. This is the perfect opportunity to spot any lumps, bumps, bald spots, inflammation, discoloration, etc. It’s excellent to detect anything wrong or unusual with your pup’s skin. If you notice anything unusual, take your dog to the vet immediately for a check-up.
Give your dog the right diet
You may not have considered this aspect of the importance of dog grooming, but it’s essential to give your dog the right food. Take note if your dog is allergic to anything and make sure to stay away from those food ingredients. Also, it’s best if your dog’s meals contain the following:
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids: This nutrient helps protect your dog’s skin and keep your dog’s coat shiny. At the same time, it’s a great way to prevent inflammation.
- Linoleic acid: This is another essential nutrient to maintain a healthy dog coat. It helps prevent making your dog’s skin dry, flaky, and prone to dandruff.
- Zinc: This is important in preventing or reducing water loss through the skin. It also prevents hair loss and dull appearance as it protects your dog’s skin from constant shedding.
- Biotin and B vitamins: These nutrients are more involved in your dog’s metabolism. It also aids linoleic acid in keeping your dog’s skin healthy.
You can get these ingredients from lots of food ingredients, including fish oils, soy, nuts, and corn. But it would always be best to ask for advice from your vet so that the nutrition you give is specific to your dog.
Benefits of Dog Grooming
You might start thinking that all these require a lot of work. Well, it does, but it also has lots of benefits, not only for your dog but for you as well.
First of all, grooming doesn’t only keep your dog looking good, but they’ll also feel good. For us, nothing is more rewarding than a happy dog.
Secondly, grooming allows you to detect skin problems and other health issues early. This also means that you’ll be able to prevent them at an early stage.
Third, grooming increases the bond between you and your dog. It helps build trust, confidence, and comfort between both of you, which is really special!
Last but not least, grooming encourages positive behavior. It’s some kind of therapeutic process that relaxes your dog and makes them happy.
Consequences of Not Grooming Your Dog
As you can see, the importance of dog grooming has a lot of benefits for your dog. But this is not the only reason why you should groom your dog. Grooming is essential because the consequences of not grooming your dog can cause the following:
- Allergies: Like us, dogs have allergies. Sometimes they get allergic to outside elements too like grass and weeds, which causes skin irritation. This is why bathing them is necessary to wash out those elements.
- Parasites: Ticks and fleas will irritate your dog, leading them to scratch their skin. This may lead to secondary diseases brought by bacteria and dirt that entered the skin through that cut.
- Yeast or Bacterial Infections: Moisture build-up from the wrinkled areas of dog breeds like the Pug, Boxer, Bulldog, etc. may lead to infection. Regularly cleaning up those folds with wet wipes or towels and keeping them dry is necessary for these breeds.
- Abrasions and Cuts: As mentioned above, scrapes and cuts caused by allergies and dog scratching may lead to an even bigger problem.
- Dry Skin: Flaky skin is the best indication that your dog’s skin is dry, and this should never happen. This means that there is an underlying health condition that needs to be attended.
Everything mentioned above can cause pain and discomfort to your dog, which you wouldn’t want them to experience. This is why it’s essential always to groom your dog and apply the best skin care practices to keep your dog’s skin healthy and your dog’s coat shiny.
As you can see, the importance of dog grooming is quite extensive and essential for every dog. It shouldn’t be treated as a chore but rather something that would keep your furry friend happy.
We want the best for our pets, and taking the time to groom them like this is one of the best ways to build a special bond between yourself and your dog. They are the best companions, and keeping them healthy is the number one priority.