Grooming can sometimes feel like an intimidating task; however, the benefits for your dog truly outweigh the challenges. Fluffy puppies get mats. Long nails can cause pain and other issues. Skin irritations can lead to infections and other things we may not know need attention. Let’s look at five reasons why grooming is essential for our dog.
Dog Grooming Can Help Find Tumors, Warts and More
Our dog’s coat does more than just give them a beautiful, unique look. The coat is made up of two layers. Their topcoat protects them from dirt and rain. When the weather is cold, their undercoat keeps them warm. Some dogs grow thick winter coats that they shed in the spring. When brushing your dog, you can tell when the shedding begins, as if their fur tells us the season is changing.
There are six basic types of dog hair: hairless (or almost), smooth or short-coated, wire-haired, long-coated, curly-coated, and double-coated. Regular brushing helps keep your dog’s natural oils moving, making coats shiny and eliminating dead skin. Under their luxurious manes is the dog’s delicate skin. Even though we don’t see it directly, it also needs care. As dogs get brushed, washed, and dried, the person who is grooming them feels their body, noting any lumps and bumps on or in the skin.
Hidden out of sight, your dog could have warts, skin tags, button tumors, and even abscesses, which is why dog grooming is so important. While warts and skin tags are not necessarily severe skin issues, it is crucial to know they are there. In some circumstances, they can become irritated.
For instance, if your dog has a wire or long-haired coat, one of those hairs or another animal’s hair could wrap around the tags or warts, causing irritation. Warts and skin tags are nothing to worry about; however, if you suddenly notice an abundance of them, it is time to talk with your vet.
Often raised, firm, and may have an almost button-like appearance, the button tumor usually appears in young dogs and is a fast-growing mass. It is common for Boxers and Dachshunds to get this type of tumor. Owners often say they appear overnight, but they fully develop in one to four weeks. Your vet should be aware of this type of tumor on your dog, but no treatment is necessary in most cases. Most of them disappear in about three months.
The abscesses are a more serious growth to find under your dog’s coat and one of the top reasons your dog should be groomed regularly. While most are not life-threatening issues, they are very painful to our dog. An abscess is a soft swelling or an open sore that drains pus. You may notice your dog licking and chewing, especially on their legs and paws, even if the irritation is not there. However, it is imperative to know that a dog’s comfort licking and/or chewing may cause irritation that leads to its own abscessed area.
Sometimes the pockets of pus need to be drained by a vet to begin the healing. If you notice a swollen lump that seems sensitive or sore to the touch, contact your vet. Once the issue is addressed, your dog will be feeling better within two to three days, if not sooner. One type of abscess dogs get is when their ears swell up. The underlying issue is usually an ear infection or irritation. The abscess is actually caused by the dog excessively shaking their head.
Your dog’s coat plays a considerable role in their overall health. Regular grooming is important to their long, healthy lives. You cannot always see what is hiding underneath, but you can feel what is happening, especially when they are good and soaked for a bath.
Grooming Keeps Paws and Feet Healthy
Our dog’s feet do way more than just leaving a mark on the ground or those infamous impressions on our hearts. They are the most-used part of their body and are often overlooked when it comes to care. This is one of the top areas your dog needs the most grooming.
Dog’s nails grow and require trimming, even if there are owners out there who think dogs wear off their nails. This is not entirely true and can leave a dog dealing with unnecessary pain. However, there is a bit of complexity when it comes to our dogs getting regular nail clippings. The growth rate depends on the dog's breed, and the wear rate depends on the dog’s lifestyle. One more factor that needs to be considered when it comes to dog nails is if they are a puppy.
When our dogs are young, their nails grow really fast. Still, suppose they spend a lot of time walking, running, and playing on hard surfaces like cement, blacktop, or rocky areas. In that case, their nails will wear down quickly and do not require a lot of cutting. Most of the time, when a dog becomes less active is the time when you start to do complete nail care.
There is one more thing you need to consider about having your dog’s nails trimmed. Our dogs have one claw referred to as the dewclaw. It’s a bit higher up on their paw like a thumb and gets less contact with the ground. Some people choose to have it totally removed, but if your dog has theirs, you should be aware that it often requires trimming more often than their other toenail.
Beyond the toes are your dog’s pads which also require care. Once again, your dog’s age and activities play a role in the frequency of needed care. The dog’s pads go from super soft with youth to drying out, which needs some moisturizing help like our human skin. The seasons also play a role in the condition of your dog’s paws, just as they do on your skin. Your dog only has one set of feet to walk on.
Vaseline and dog-safe lotions are great options for keeping those youthful puppy feet feeling awesome. In fact, dogs that are used to having a good foot rub love it when you take the time to massage their feet. Giving special care to those adorable paws we love also teaches our dogs to trust that we always do what is best for them.
One more thing some dogs need to have done to their feet is trimming the hair between the toes. Long-haired dogs often have long hairs between their toes. It often gets caught and catches things that could cause pain or discomfort to the dog. By grooming your dog’s feet, you are helping them live happier, pain-free lives. You will have fewer instances of broken or cracked claws, dry cracked padding, and less chewing of uncomfortable feet.
One more benefit you (and your home) receives when you have your dog groomed regularly is minimizing wear and tear to your flooring. Trimmed nails do not leave deep scratches on softwood floors. They do not catch as easily on carpet strings, loose vinyl, or tiling the way long nails do. By having your dog’s feet cared for regularly, you not only omit problems that could cause them pain, but you also prevent wear and tear on your house.
Prevents Dog Shedding
While regular grooming does loads of good things for your dog, it also does good things for your home. Have you ever run the vacuum only to wonder where that strange animal that leaves balls of hair all over is hiding? Maybe you’ve walked out of the house and suddenly realized you’re wearing a huge amount of your dog’s coat?
Bathing and brushing your dog regularly helps with the amount of hair they are shedding. When the dog is washed and scrubbed, loose hairs come out less on the couch and floors. Loose hairs also come out less on your clothes. Depending on the breed and the season, much more hair comes off when they are brushed.
Brushing and bathing do more than just help control the hair. It also helps control the dander levels in your home. Dander is the dry or dead skin dogs shed, much like humans do. Even though you are not necessarily allergic to your dog, you could still experience the occasional odd stuffiness that comes with people suffering from dog allergies, especially if you live in an environment where your home is closed up for months.
Grooming Keeps Your Pet Smelling Fresh
You may be picturing a dog who found the perfect patch of mud for a good roll, and while that can be pretty messy, dogs have areas on their body they need help maintaining. Some breeds of dogs are known for having leaky or sleepy eyes. When your dog is groomed, its eyes are gently cleaned, helping slow the continuous buildup.
Dogs can get some horrible breath. Getting a good tooth brushing during a grooming session can improve the quality of their breath and what can happen in your dog’s mouth. Dogs with good dental care have significantly fewer tooth and gum-related problems as they age, which means incorporating this regular care can save you significant vet bills.
A dog parent who has experienced ear issues knows that one must pay attention to the ears. Even though you rub them on the head and talk with them several times a day, the problem can go unnoticed until a smell and infection starts. A dog who regularly receives baths has its ears looked over more often.
A professional groomer knows floppy-eared dogs need extra care for those beautiful ears. Floppy-eared dogs especially tend to get dirty ears and there is a bit of a balance when it comes to the ears of these type of dogs. It is good to wash them, keeping them free of debris; however, one has to make sure they are not too wet instead of just cleaning them.
Tying your dog’s ears up is not possible and running a hairdryer can cause damage. Good drying with a soft cotton cloth is generally sufficient but should be double-checked at the end of the drying phase. If you have a dog prone to ear problems, a dog-specific ear cleaner that dries quickly could be the solution.
Cleaning Anal Glands
Have you ever noticed a funky aroma coming from your dog? Are they scooting on their butt across the floor or maybe they’ve even developed a leaky butt? Well- the issue might be your dog’s anal glands.
Your dog has two anal sacs, also called anal glands, located on the lower sides of his anus. They provide a particular scent that tells other dogs (and knowledgeable vets) a lot about your dog. They define their sex to other dogs and can provide your veterinarian with information about the dog’s health and even their approximate age.
The problem is once in a while, they get plugged. This is caused by inflammation, and the first sign of it is a dog attempting to lick or scoot the problem out. If left untreated, you may notice swelling by your dog’s butt and tail, alerting you that your dog needs their anal glands expressed.
Keep Your Dog Happy
Our dog’s number one reason for regular grooming is all about vanity. Yes, it’s true! Our dogs possess a bit of arrogance. You can clearly see it when they walk around other dogs or admire themselves in the mirror. A couple of hours getting washed, trimmed, and fluffed is just as good for our dogs as a day at the spa is for us. After good grooming, they are super soft, their coasts have that extra shine, and their eyes beam with joy. A clean, pampered pup is a very happy dog. The time and effort are worth it, and after all that grooming, we are sure your dog will be strutting with pride!