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  • Writer's pictureNupur

Caring for your dog's coat: 03 The benefits of regular grooming

The next instalment in this series takes a step back, and examines the reasons why grooming - whether done in The Parlour or at home - is important in the first place.


Grooming is about so much more than aesthetics.

It is vital for your dog's health and wellbeing.


Yes, a trip to the groomers will make your dog look and smell wonderful, but the service we provide is so much more than that. The more time we spend caring for your dog's coat, the more we notice. At home and in the salon regular grooming helps us to know what 'normal' looks like, and can recognise changes to the skin and hair that might indicate a health concern.


Common ailments that affect a dog's coat are:
  • Eczema

  • Hotspots

  • Allergies

  • Ringworm

  • Skin infection

And the list goes on. It can look scary, but the important point to take away is that regular grooming, combined with an observant eye, can help identify any health hazards before they become a problem.


Look out for lumps and bumps

If you find an unusual growth, don't panic, but don't ignore it either.

You may have stumbled across a:


  • Wart (papilloma): It looks like a cauliflower head. (I think the closest 'human equivalent' in how to recognise one is a skin tag.) They're often benign and self limiting but can cause discomfort, especially if they're in a sensitive place. Best not to ignore a wart, and to book in a vet check to get appropriate advice and management. Btw, ALWAYS tell your groomer if your dog has warts and where they are. Warts can easily get nicked by a clipper blade, and can bleed. And whilst this isn't a disaster, it's easily avoidable. We can switch to using a comb attachment, for example, which sits on top of a clipper blade and reduces the likelihood of a nick. Most of all though, if we know where the warts are, we can clip around them!

  • Abscess: a painful swollen lump under a dog's skin containing pus. They can cause fever. Definitely book in a vet check.

  • Fatty Tumour: particularly if your dog is elderly or overweight, they are squishy to the touch. A fatty tumour is often benign but book in a vet check to make sure!

You're getting the gist. As groomers and pet owners we don't know what the diagnosis might be - that's what the veterinarians are for - but we certainly can recognise signals that need investigating. Responsible, caring groomers will do a quick health check of your dog at the beginning of every appointment, and will also make sure to tell you about anything we find as we groom your dog. Look at this WhatsApp exchange, for example, which is an actual conversation with one of my clients.









All dogs need some form of grooming. Even those lovely, low-maintenance short-hairs like Italian Greyhounds, Pugs and French Bulldogs. Lets not forget, for example:


Ears

Every grooming service I offer includes an ear clean. I wipe the insides of the ear flaps and the opening of the ear canal with a specialist product to remove unwanted dirt and any build-ups of wax.


It's a good habit to get into at home to regularly handle and look on the insides of your dog's ears. Redness, pus, foul odours, or sticky, brown, mud-like staining can all indicate an ear infection, and yes, you've guessed it, a trip to the vet for a check up.

Nails

All dogs should get used to having their nails trimmed regularly. Untrimmed nails can push back into the nail bed, which is painful for the dog, and affects their joints, gait and posture. Overgrown nails, especially the dew claw, can also curl back into the skin and in-grow.


Here's a photo of an ingrown dew claw on one of my customers' dogs. The owner was unaware how curly it had got, so we were able to identify it before it got worse and get her lovely pooch to the vet.




Dead skin cells

Dead skin cells can block pores and make the skin itchy. And there's nothing worse than a dog who can't stop scratching until its skin is raw. A regular brush as part of your at-home grooming routine, or a bath, brush and blow dry at the groomers exfoliates the skin and also helps keep those dreaded mats at bay.

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