When you see your dog every day, it can sometimes be difficult to notice the first signs that they could use a visit to the groomer. Here, our Baltimore vets discuss what to look for, how often a dog should be groomed and why it's important to have this task done regularly.
The Case for Dog Grooming
We can often tell when it's time to book an appointment with our hairstylist just by looking in the mirror, but what about your canine friend? Grooming is one of the most important things we can do to keep our pups happy and healthy. Not only will taking your pet to a grooming session on a regular basis prevent him or her from smelling unpleasant, it can also give your groomer a chance to keep ticks, fleas and other pests from making themselves at home.
Grooming will also keep their skin, nails and coat in tip-top shape, and your animal companion looking and feeling adorable!
Dog Grooming Signs
Here are some signs that indicate your dog should see a groomer.
Your dog's fur is matted, dirty or dull
One of the first — and most easily recognizable — signs your dog needs to see a groomer is visibly dirty or matted fur. While all that running and playing outside helps keep them fit, dirt, mud and debris accumulate on their fur and skin, causing them to become unclean. You may even notice an unpleasant odor.
Matted fur is more than uncomfortable for your dog. It can actually be a detriment to their health as pests, debris and dirt become trapped in their coat, leading to skin damage and diseases. Bacterial infections can also become
Whether it's built up over time or your dog has taken a bath in the mud, our professional groomers are happy to clean their coat so it will be shiny and healthy once again.
Your dog's nails are too long
Does your dog spend most of its time running around on grass or soft surfaces? While some dogs can trim their nails naturally by strolling on roads, sidewalks and other hard paved surfaces, if it spends a lot of time on grass the nails will grow and eventually become too long, which can make it painful for your pooch to walk. If you have hardwood or laminate floors, you may also hear a telltale clicking sound if it's time for a trim.
Nails should be kept neat and trimmed. During a grooming session, the groomer will dedicate time to examining the nails and cut them if necessary.
You see signs of pests or parasites
Whether your dog's coat is matted or not, it's easy for pests such as ticks and fleas to find homes deep within your pet's coat. This can lead to skin damage and negatively impact their general health. Along with checking your dog daily for parasites and other pests, be on the lookout for signs such as excessive scratching, irritated skin or sores.
Parasites can gradually become worse, feed off your dog and even spread to other pets or members of your household if not detected as soon as possible. As illness advances and the parasites feed on your dog's blood and nutrients, your pet can gradually become more weak and fatigued. Diseases contracted via parasite can also be lethal. That's why it's important for any pests to be detected early.
Your dog's ears stink
Dogs' ears are self-cleaning, but wax can sometimes build up in the ear canal or an infection can occur. If this is the case, you may notice an odor if you go to smell your dog's neck. Our professional groomer can clean your pup's ears and let you know of any suspected infections.
Your dog is scooting
Clogged anal sacs can be unpleasant for both you and your dog — and painful for your pooch. On either side of their behind, dogs have two small anal sacs that contain a fishy-smelling, foul liquid that's normally released when they pooped.
Usually, a bowel movement would trigger the anal sacs to empty. But fluid may build up if the sacs are not working properly, and the glands can become inflamed. Liquid may solidify, hindering its release. This can lead to pain and discomfort for your dog.
At a professional grooming appointment, the groomer will gently express the glands to release the contents, bringing relief to your dog. The procedure will be followed by a thorough bath.
How often should I take my dog to the groomer?
If you're wondering how often you should groom your dog (or take the easy route and have a professional do it), Your dog's breed, coat type, hair length and lifestyle will largely dictate their grooming needs. Long-haired dogs will likely need more grooming than short-haired pups.
Dogs who spend lots of time outside will also need more grooming than couch potatoes or pooches that spend time lounging inside. In most cases, regular grooming should be done about once a month.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.