Dog grooming: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest pet of them all?
Frizz, knots, itchy and stinky? This may sound like you’re having a bad hair day, but for some dogs and cats it’s a constant daily battle. OK, so it might be for you too, but perhaps that’s best discussed elsewhere.
Grooming our dogs and cats is a necessity, not a luxury. Our own hair has to be washed and cut regularly, so the same applies to our furry friends. Plus, how much better do you feel when you’ve had your hair done? If this area is overlooked, ignored or dealt with incorrectly, problems are sure to occur at super speed.
Problems include nails growing into pads (to them, it’s like walking in toe-pinching stilettos constantly), ear infections due to lack of cleaning and plucking (don’t reach for the nose trimmer – there is a way to do this), knots, and itchy skin that is darned annoying. Behaviour issues including an unwillingness to be handled can and do easily follow on – cue the growl when you try to do anything with them.
Knots are painful my friends, so it’s no wonder your pet may become quieter, less active or more grumpy than normal. Remember when you were little, with your hair scraped back into one of those awful hair bobbles and grips pinned in everywhere? Didn’t it pull, hurt and make your eyes water? Are you feeling my pain? This is how knots and tangles feel to them, particularly on movement.
There’s a simple way to avoid all of this, so before we reach for the ‘newfangled solves everything hair wax,’ or, ‘sprays that detangle a matt thicker than a plank of wood,’ consult the guide direct from the House of Morgan! This way, you will be envied for their super looking hair and not given ‘the look’ because your pet looks like a walking piece of shaggy carpet.
Eight top tips for grooming your dog
- Begin handling and grooming your pets from when they’re young, or when they first become your darling new family member. Leave tools such as combs and brushes lying around so your pet recognises these as normal rather than being something scary.
- As a rule of thumb, every 6-8 weeks your pet should have a pro groom. (Exceptions are Poodles and Bichon Frise; pro groom every 4 weeks for these please.) Cats vary individually and ALL dogs moult, despite myths saying otherwise.
- Bathing may be done in between, but don’t go in to overkill, as too much causes more issues. Dry shampoos and deodorisers can be used as often as required.
- A vital purchase is a simple metal tooth comb. These are able to comb from the root of the hair (where tangles and knots start) to the tip. Brushes are good for grooming the top coat but do little for grooming the ‘underneath layer’ of the coat.
- Always dry their hair after bathing with a hair dryer and slicker brush. Wet hair left ‘au natural’ and uncombed = a very quick trip to knot central.
- Squeeze hair dry in the same direction of the hair growth, not roughly like our mothers used to do to us when we were children.
- Do not use human shampoo. Human skin has a pH of 5.5; pet’s skin has pH of 7.3. Human shampoo is therefore too acidic for pets, causing dryness, irritation and inflammation. Baby shampoo is meant for babies, not pets!
- To help prevent chewing of the feet, keep nails short and the fur in between the pads trimmed.
And yes… there are hair straighteners for dogs, so keep the GHDs for you!