To stay happy and healthy, all dogs require some grooming.
or lower-maintenance breeds, such as a Greyhound, Beagle, or Labrador Retriever, this can mean just a quick rubdown with a soft brush several times a week, frequent checks of eyes and ears, and a bath and nail-trim now and then.
For dogs with longer or more profuse coat, however, such as a Shih Tzu, Old English Sheepdog, or Bearded Collie, grooming can be a hairier proposition, perhaps involving daily sessions with a longer-tooth brush to keep tangles and mats at bay, or even periodic trims with scissors or clippers.
If your pet needs advanced grooming procedures such as clipping, you may feel more comfortable relying on the skills of a professional dog groomer, as about 26 percent of owners do. To find a good dog groomer in your area, you can check with local veterinary clinics and boarding kennels for recommendations. Also ask your breeder, who might be able to refer you to someone locally who knows how to groom your dog’s breed.
Or maybe you’re like the majority of dog owners who decide to take the “hairy plunge” and groom their own pet. As shown by AKC data, as many as 70 percent of pet owners report grooming their dog themselves.
If you’re going to groom your dog yourself, the first step is to do some research to learn the best grooming techniques for your dog’s coat type or breed.
If your dog is a purebred, the first resource you should check for grooming advice is your dog’s breeder. A nearby mentor who is an expert in the breed can also be a huge help in grooming guidance — often there’s no better way to learn than having someone demonstrate it to you first-hand and in person.
Don’t forget to learn about how to correctly trim nails, if you’re going to do this part of grooming yourself.
The next step is to stock up on the right tools and supplies — and this is an area where spending the higher price for better-quality products can be a wise investment in the long run.
Finally, before you start grooming, be sure to also check with the breed’s national parent club. Every parent club is happy to provide helpful resources on how to groom the breed—for example, the websites of the Shih Tzu Club of America and the American Miniature Schnauzer Club each provide a wealth of grooming advice. Many breed parent clubs even provide handouts and video tutorials with specific guidelines on grooming the breed.
Whether you opt to take your dog to a professional or do his grooming yourself, here’s to a happy, well-groomed companion!