How Often Should You Groom Your Dog?
Rub-a-dub – how clean is too clean? Let’s answer that question for you right now.
While it’s a fairly straightforward question, how often you should be grooming your dog really depends what you mean by “grooming.” There are a number of elements that make up the grooming process and they need to be carried out with varying frequency. Once you’ve learned everything you need to do to groom your dog, you can find out how often you should be doing it.
All dogs, regardless of their coat length, need regular brushing. The frequency with which you should brush your dog really depends on his coat type. If he has short hair, you’ll only need to get the brush out once or twice each week. Dogs with medium coats will usually need a quick brush once every other day. Long coated dogs and pups with very curly coats should ideally be brushed every day.
Some dogs are more prone to getting ear problems than others. These tend to be dogs with big ears that flop down or those with lots of hair in their ears. This is because not enough air can get in and it makes it the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. If your dog has healthy ears, it’s probably only necessary to give them a clean once or twice a month. Should your dog have any ear issues, consult your vet and find out how often they’d recommend you clean his ears.
Keeping your dog’s teeth clean is just as important as keeping your own clean. Failing to brush your pooch’s teeth will lead to a build-up of plaque, which could cause gum disease and mouth ulcers as time goes on. Aim to brush your dog’s teeth once every day. However, if he’s not a good sport when it comes to dental hygiene, once every other day should suffice – you don’t want to make the whole experience that much more traumatic for him. Dogs who eat a diet of dry food tend to have less plaque, as the hard kibble naturally cleans their teeth.
Nail trimming is one element of grooming that many dog owners are reluctant to take on themselves. There is a risk of hurting your pup if you trim his nails back to far, so leave them alone if you’re not confident with the process. You can always ask your veterinarian or a professional dog groomer to give them a trim. How often your dog needs his nails trimmed really varies, so just keep an eye on them and watch out for them getting too long. Dogs who do a lot of walking on the sidewalk or other hard surfaces may hardly ever need their nails trimmed.
You might find yourself spelling out “B-A-T-H” when you’re talking about bathing your pooch, as it’s an experience that few dogs love. While it is a necessary evil, fortunately it’s not one that needs to be repeated too often. Bathing your dog too frequently can actually be bad for his skin, so it’s safe to leave four to six months between baths. Never bathe your dog more than once every 2 months, unless he’s managed to get himself irrevocably stinky!
Clipping your dog isn’t a necessary part of grooming (especially if your dog’s coat is already short), but many owners of longer coated breeds like to give them the occasional trim. This makes their coats more manageable and keeps them cooler in hot weather. If you want to keep your dog’s fur neatly trimmed, you make have to go in for a clip once every two to three months. However, this varies between dogs, so just play it by ear, or, well, eye. You’ll know when your pooch needs a haircut.
Lauren Corona is a freelance writer from merry old England. She specializes in writing about dogs and other critters. Lauren lives near Oxford, with her gorgeous Doberman, Nola. When she’s not tapping away at the keyboard, you’ll find her walking in the woods with Nola-dog, raising money for the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, cooking vegan food, making zines and writing about herself in the third person.