If you are about to get a dog or thinking about the right breed for you, don’t forget about the amount of time you will need to keep it well groomed.
Obviously long haired dogs are high maintenance and will need daily brushing. Medium haired dogs tend to get matted hair, especially Spaniels who love to get into bushes and the undergrowth. Short haired dogs are easier to look after using a soft bristle brush and can go longer between grooming sessions. However, most breeds who love off lead fun and play often come home with grass seeds and burrs attached to their coat, so regular brushing and attention is a must.
It is a good idea to get your puppy used to being groomed from an early age – introduce the brush and being brushed for a short time each day and you will have a happy dog who loves being groomed and touched. Introduce touching his paws regularly. Dogs don’t generally like their paws touched, but clipping claws is a basic need and getting him used to having his paws touched, cleaned and stroked will be a bonus when you have to take him to the vets or the dog groomer. Long claws can break which is painful and can become infected. Long claws can also affect the way your dog walks and in extreme cases can cause joint problems. Claw clipping can be done at home, but you have to be careful not to cut too short or you could cut into the quick and make it bleed. A good instruction guide is available at http://www.wikihow.com/Clip-Dog-Nails. Alternatively, consult a professional dog groomer or a vet nurse.
To keep the dog coat in good condition, make sure you have the right tools for the type of coat your dog has. Paws Plus One has a good selection of grooming products from Groomers which are used by professional Dog Groomers nationwide.
Avoid shampooing your dog too often to maintain the natural oils in his coat; once a month is probably about right unless he is particularly dirty. Working dogs and those that are outside a lot, will require more regular bathing, but often a good hose down after a walk in the countryside is good enough to keep him clean and smelling fresh with a shampoo once a month or so. Always use a good quality mild and natural shampoo with the right pH balance to make sure the skin does not get irritated. If your dog does has a skin condition or irritation, a shampoo with tea tree oil is a good remedy, but always take to the vets if it does not clear up for a specialised treatment.
Don’t forget the ears! Spaniels and long eared breeds in particular, will regularly need their ears checked and cleaned. Some breeds are prone to ear infections, especially those that love the water and swim a lot. If you dog’s ears become smelly, it is likely he has an ear infection, so take him to the vets for some ear drops to clear it up. If it is not treated, it can become very severe and painful and could also affect your dog’s hearing.
Some breeds such as the Poodle, do not shed hair so their hair keeps growing and will need regular cutting or clipping. Some wire haired terrier dogs, need to be hand stripped and it is best to consult a professional dog groomer to do this and not attempt yourself.