Dog Grooming Tips From A Pro

Meet Laura! You might recognize her from Elk Valley Dog Grooming right here in Fernie, where she lives with her partner and their two dogs, Odin and Jake. Odin is an extremely sweet and good natured black Lab. They recently adopted Jake, the black Shepherd, and at only seven months old, he brings lots of young energy into the mix. 

With Laura being a professional groomer, I’ve brought her on board so she can share her expertise on dog grooming.

Why is grooming an important part of owning a dog?
Grooming is very important for the health and well being of your dog. Whether you do it at home or have a professional grooming your dog, it is a great time to check for skin irritations, warts, lumps and bumps or infections that may go unnoticed day to day. It also keeps their skin, coat, ears and nails healthy, preventing health issues that may arise without regular grooming.

What are the benefits of grooming your dog?
Keeping your dog’s coat clean and mat/tangle free can help prevent hot spots, rashes or infections. It’s also very important to keep your dogs nails trimmed to prevent possible joint pain or ingrown nails. Anyone who has let their fingers or toenails grow even just a bit too long understand how quickly it gets comfortable and it’s even worse for dogs who rely so heavily on all four paws. It’s also so nice to have a clean, good smelling dog to cuddle.

What breeds require the most grooming needs compared to those that require less?
Any dog that has hair that grows is going to need more grooming. Although double coated dogs (dogs with that fluffy white undercoat) need a fair amount of grooming as well. A group of breeds that we often see coming in without proper grooming are doodles (breeds of dogs mixed with Poodles). There is a misconception that they require less grooming when in reality they can require more since they often have a mixed coat which can tangle, mat and get out of hand easily if not brushed at home regularly. 

What tip would you give to general dog owners about grooming?
The biggest tip I can give owners is to get your dog used to being handled. Rub and hold their feet, check inside their ears and mouth, massage their body, legs and head. It will help you when grooming them at home, it will help groomers and vets but it will also really help your dog. If you can make being handled normal for your dog, they will be happier and less stressed when they get groomed or go to the vet for a check up.

Another tip Laura would like to add, especially for those grooming their own dogs at home, is about brushing your dog. Oftentimes owners brush the top of the coat and don’t get down to the skin where mats start thinking they’ve brushed their dog out when really they haven’t. The technique is called line brushing and it’s actually very simple. It involves lifting your dog’s coat until you see the skin and start brushing from the very base of the skin. Not only does this help remove and prevent mats from forming, it also helps reduce shedding when properly maintained. 

It’s no doubt dogs with short hair don’t have the same grooming needs as the fluffy ones, but ultimately, all breeds require a certain level of regular grooming maintenance to keep them at their best.