Dos and Donts for Good Grooming: Part 3

We have already discussed the basics of grooming:  trimming nails, cleaning ears, and brushing your dog’s teeth.  We have also discussed coat types and how to groom shorthaired dogs.  Grooming dogs with medium and longhaired coats can take a bit more work.

Many people admire dogs with medium and long coats, and these dogs include some of our most popular breeds:  Cocker Spaniels, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Lhasa Apsos, and Yorkshire Terriers, to name a few.  If you have one of these dogs then you know that you have to do a little more grooming and brushing than someone with a shorthaired dog to keep your dog looking his best.  And, if you are considering getting a medium or longhaired breed, you should know what kind of work it entails.

In many cases, if you have a dog with medium or long hair, your dog’s coat may have a tendency to mat or tangle if you do not brush and comb him regularly.  Mats and tangles will only get worse with time.  They are uncomfortable for your dog and the longer you ignore them, the more mats and tangles your dog will develop.  So, it is essential that you brush your dog regularly if you have a dog with medium or long hair.

How often do you need to brush your dog?  That will depend on the breed and even on the individual dog.  Among different breeds and individual dogs there will be different coat textures ranging from curly to wavy to straight.  Some coats will be more likely to mat and tangle than others.  Your Golden Retriever may do well being brushed out a couple of times per week, while a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel may need to be brushed and combed virtually daily.  It just depends on the breed, the dog, and the type of coat.  It can also depend on the grooming products you use and even on the weather.  Indoor heat in the winter time may make your dog’s coat more inclined to hold static and thus mat.  A romp outdoors in the summer time could cause your dog to pick up stickers in his coat, leading to a session of picking them out of his coat.  Your dog’s grooming needs will depend on many factors.

In order to groom your medium or longhaired dog you will need a good brush, such as a boar bristle brush.  Boar bristles are generally better than plastic bristles because they pick up and distribute the oils in your dog’s coat better.  Some people also prefer to use brushes with wooden handles for the same reason, believing that wood is better than plastic because it absorbs oils.

You will also need a good pinbrush for a medium or longhaired dog.  Pinbrushes are used to pick up and gently separate your dog’s long hair, such as the hair on the dog’s legs, chest, and tail.  The pinbrush should not be used to scrape down to your dog’s skin on his body.  And, you will need a good comb, such as a Greyhound comb.  This is a fairly long comb with teeth set wider at one end, and set closer together at the other end.  You can use it on your dog’s ears, to comb feathering, and to carefully tease out any tangles.  (Do not yank tangles!)

You may also need a pair of grooming scissors to tidy up your dog’s paws or for other light trimming.  If your dog needs more trimming, such as with clippers, this is usually done by a professional pet groomer.  You can learn to use clippers on your pet yourself but it will take some practice.  You will most likely need to consult with an expert in your breed in order to learn.

Most pet owners can keep their dogs looking very good with basic brushing and grooming.

As for bathing, most medium and longhaired dogs will need to be bathed about once a month.  If you bathe more often than that, you risk removing the natural oils from your dog’s coat.  Show dogs are usually bathed weekly but they are often heavily conditioned and their groomers monitor them carefully for changes in their coat.

You should use a good, mild dog shampoo for your dog’s coat such as the Happytails Sparkle & Shine shampoo.  Companies make shampoos especially for medium and longhaired dogs.  Medium and longhaired dogs usually need some conditioner on their coat.  Use a conditioner that is made for dogs such as the Happytails Fur Butter or Fur worse.  There are conditioners made for medium and longhaired dogs.  These dogs often need a conditioner because the ends of their coats may become a little dry or ragged since this is the oldest part of the coat.  They may even develop split ends.  You can also use your scissors to trim off the dead, ragged ends at the bottom of your dog’s coat if it hangs low.  Try to keep it trimmed nice and evenly but don’t trim too much.  Your dog’s coat should be damp when you trim the ends.  This will help you see the exact length of your dog’s coat and it is also easier to cut the ends when it is damp.

Be sure to remove all residue from the shampoo and conditioner after the bath.  Otherwise your dog’s skin may become irritated and he could develop hotspots.

You may wish to blowdry your dog’s coat after a bath. This will obviously speed the drying time.  Alternatively, you could lay a towel flat over your dog’s coat and pin it in place at the neck, under the stomach, and under the tail.  This will help your dog’s coat dry nice and flat.  It will look very nice when you remove the towel too.

Although it may sound like a chore, it is not too difficult to groom a dog with a medium or long coat.  Grooming can provide you good time for bonding with each other.  Most dogs enjoy being groomed once they get used to it.  And dogs with medium and long coats are some of our most beautiful breeds.

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