A routine grooming schedule is essential to ensuring the health of your dog. However, pet owners tend to be a little more lax with their dog grooming practices during the winter months due to the cold temperatures and harsh weather conditions.
Once spring emerges come late March, the cold callous mood of the previous months is steadily replaced with warmer, longer days. Every year without fail, the warmer spring temperatures seem to trigger some type of internal response inside dogs that it’s time to loosen up, – literally – by shedding their winter coats.
To minimize the presence of dog hair in your home this spring, attack early. Go back to maintaining a regular brushing routine as soon as your pet shows sign of shedding. What type of brush to use depends on the breed of the dog. Curved wire slicker or pin brushes are advised for long-haired breeds; a regular wire slicker for medium breeds, as well as for short coat dogs with dense undercoats such as terriers; and a rubber grooming mitt or curry brush for breeds with smooth coats such as basset hounds.
When brushing, make sure to avoid scraping the skin. Doing so can cause your dog’s skin to become red and irritated to the point of requiring medical attention. Also make sure to take a systematic approach at brushing; starting at the legs and moving toward the head and ears. Incorporating a brushing pattern helps dogs get used to the process and creates less of a hassle for pet owners.
In addition to brushing, there are a few other dog maintenance tasks that are important to address:
Tear ducts: Make sure to regularly remove any crust accumulating around the corners of your dog’s eyes. Neglecting such duties can result in the development of eye sores.
Nails: Failure to maintain your dog’s nails can make walking painful for them, and can lead to arthritis in the hips and legs.
Anal glands: Because infection in this area is a common occurrence among dogs and cats, periodic grooming of the anal glands is recommended. These glands can burst, causing much more severe pain to your pet and possibly requiring surgery to correct.
Incorporating the brushing techniques described above into your pet grooming duties is sure to reduce the dog hair present in your home each spring.
As for other tasks such as expressing anal glands and washing your pet, it’s best to rely on the knowledge and expertise of dog groomers. My best advice is to start the season off with a professional groom. One of the advantages is the groomer’s expertise identifying any problems with your dog’s coat or general health. Groomers often identify ear-aches, skin conditions or other details that the average owner is not trained to find.