Grooming isn’t a luxury!

Aug 10, 2017

I have recently adopted a Chow Chow puppy as its owners, who were shifting to the US with family said they couldn’t afford to take him along. I simply adore the pup, but I’m concerned with his grooming. A lot of people told me it’s sheer luxury and not more than a fashion statement. Is it true? –Rhea Mirchandani, Mumbai

Contrary to what many people think, dog grooming is not a luxury, but a necessity for your dog’s comfort and health, with the added benefit of looking great of course. Cleaning and grooming your dog regularly makes it easier to identify health problems before they get out of hand and leaves your pet feeling comfortable and happy. How important is grooming to your pet’s comfort and health? Have you ever had your hair in a ponytail that was just a little too tight? Maybe your hair was just bunched up or stuck together? A mat can feel the same way to your dog — a constant pull on the skin. Try to imagine those all over your body, and you have an idea how uncomfortable an ungroomed coat can be. Your dog doesn’t need to know what a mat feels like if you keep him brushed and combed, but that’s just the start of the health benefits. Regular grooming allows you to look for lumps, bumps and injuries, all the while clearing mats and ticks from his coat. Follow up with your veterinarian on any questionable masses you find, and you may detect cancer early enough to save your pet’s life. For shorthaired breeds, keeping skin and coat in good shape is easy. Run your hands over him daily and brush weekly — that’s it. For other breeds, grooming is a little more involved. Breeds such as Pomeranians, St Bernards, Golden Retrievers, Corgis, Akitas, Chows and Huskies are “double-coated,” which means they have a downy undercoat underneath a harsher layer of long hair. The down can mat like a layer of felt against the skin if left untended. In the spring and fall — the big shedding times — you’ll end up with enough fluffy undercoat to make a whole new dog. Keep brushing and think of the benefits: The fur you pull out with a brush won’t end up on the furniture. Plus, removing the old stuff keeps your pet cooler in the summer and allows new insulation come in for the winter.

Silky-coated dogs such as Afghan Hounds, Cockers and Maltese also need constant brushing to keep tangles from forming. Coats of this type require so much attention that having a groomer keep the dogs trimmed to a medium length is often more practical. In fact, experts say that the pets, who shed the least are longhaired dogs kept short-trimmed by a groomer. Curly and wiry coats, such as those on Poodles and Terriers, need to be brushed weekly, working against the grain and then with it. Curly coats need to be clipped every six weeks; wiry ones, two or three times a year (though clipping every six weeks will keep your Terrier looking sharper). Good grooming also provides benefits for both of you. Regular grooming relaxes the dog who’s used to it, and it becomes a special time that you can both share. A coat free of mats, burrs and tangles and skin free of fleas and ticks are as comfortable to your dog as fresh, clean clothes are to you. It makes you feel good, and the effect is the same for your pet. And, for allergy sufferers, keeping your pooch clean may make having a dog possible. Some added benefit for you: Giving your dog a tummy rub after every session is sure to relax you (and your dog, of course) and ease the stress of your day.

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