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Pembroke Welsh Corgi getting a bath at the groomers.
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It’s finally springtime, and if you’re not in a grooming routine already, spring is a great time to start.

While spring cleaning is a great reminder to groom your dogs, Tammy Myers, AKC S.A.F.E. Certified Salon Owner at Bark’n Bubble Day Spa, emphasizes that dogs need to be groomed all year long. Before heading to the groomers, here are some important spring (and year-round) grooming tips.

Brushing Your Dog

After a long winter, dogs with thick winter coats will begin shedding. Jacki Panzik, owner of Riverside Pet Grooming (also an AKC S.A.F.E. Certified Salon) says it’s important to regularly brush your dog because it removes the dead coat and keeps circulation on the outer layer of skin, which promotes health.

Myers suggests brushing dogs daily. “Because they get dirt embedded underneath and mats cause pain,” said Myers. “It’d be like if you had long hair and kept your hair in a ponytail the whole time. Your head starts to hurt. It’s uncomfortable, it’s painful to them, and they can’t express the pain like we can as humans.”

If your dog isn’t brushed or combed regularly, they may become more sensitive to touch. The dog may start growling and cower when people try to pet them. “That’s why brushing a dog is important — to make their skin healthy, making sure their hair isn’t matted,” Myers adds.

You may also want to comb your dog instead of brushing them. Some brushes may not have long enough bristles for your dog, especially if they have long hair.

Siberian Husky laying down indoors next to a large pile of fur and brushes.
©Dodor_Inna -

Bathing Your Dog

Like with brushing, it’s important to regularly bathe your dog, particularly during the spring. Panzik says grooming is especially important in the spring because pollen and other allergens are most active during this time. “Especially in areas that had a lot of winter moisture,” she says.

She recommends bathing dogs every 21 days because that’s the cycle of skin rejuvenation. Myers agrees that dogs need to be bathed regularly. “They need baths at least monthly, no more than eight weeks,” Myers says. “Dogs have to live with themselves … trust me, dogs like having it done. They feel better.”

Before giving a dog a bath, you should ensure they were recently brushed to remove dead hair and mats. If a dog is bathed with mats, it only makes their hair tighter and harder to brush out. Remember to use a dog-safe shampoo and conditioner. Products like detangler sprays or a silicone lick mat can also make bath time easier for you and your dog.

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Clipping Your Dog’s Nails

Myers says she tries to put things into real-life terms with her clients and says when a dog owner clips their nails, they should also clip their dogs’ nails.

She explains that when you don’t clip a dog’s nails, they get uncomfortable, and it can hurt to walk. “Even if it’s not a ‘hair cut’ dog, [clipping toenails] is something that needs to be done for all dogs,” she says.

Additionally, there is a common misconception that there are arteries in dogs’ nails. If a nail is cut too short, it’s actually just the “kwip” and there are powders to help stop the bleeding.

For those who are too nervous to cut their dogs’ nails, we recommend using a nail grinder or filer to maintain nails in between visits to a groomer.

©Justyna -

Questions to Ask a Potential Dog Groomer

When you take your dog to the groomer, it’s important to find a qualified groomer that takes dog safety seriously. Here are some questions dog owners should consider asking their groomers.

What Kind of Training Do You Have?

You should know what type of training the groomer has before trusting them to groom your dog. Any salon or groomer should have a certification, such as the AKC S.A.F.E. Grooming Certification Program.

“My salon was the first salon in the state of Iowa to do the AKC S.A.F.E Grooming Certification Program,” Myers says. “It’s a safety program. We have a 16-point oath that we have to take … My clients know that I have that and know that safety is the most important thing to me.”

She adds that while hair grows back, cuts don’t. “Injuries can be deadly, so safety is the utmost importance.”

Standard Poodle being professionally groomed.
Rich Legg/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

What Safety Protocols Do You Follow?

Myers and Panzik agree that the most important questions are about safety protocols and training. Educated groomers know how to keep your dog safe and keep an eye out for things that aren’t quite right with your dog.

“Grooming is more than a haircut,” Myers said. “We are the first eyes a lot of the time … We notice personality changes, we notice skin changes, we can sense that there are ear issues before they become a big problem. That’s why grooming is so important.”

This article is intended solely as general guidance, and does not constitute health or other professional advice. Individual situations and applicable laws vary by jurisdiction, and you are encouraged to obtain appropriate advice from qualified professionals in the applicable jurisdictions. We make no representations or warranties concerning any course of action taken by any person following or otherwise using the information offered or provided in this article, including any such information associated with and provided in connection with third-party products, and we will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages that may result, including but not limited to economic loss, injury, illness or death.

Related article: Dog Products Every Owner Needs for Spring
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