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Regular grooming great for dogs

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Longer coats only keep a dog warmer if they’re properly groomed. Matted fur traps moisture, which actually makes a dog much colder in winter.

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Longer coats only keep a dog warmer if they’re properly groomed. Matted fur traps moisture, which actually makes a dog much colder in winter. Photo Store

Pet grooming is a subject that we get questions about all the time in the shop.  And the answers aren’t always what a customer wants to hear, but to keep a pet healthy, you need to keep it properly groomed.

Most grooming can be done at home by the pet owner.  With the proper equipment and a little knowledge, you can keep a dog groomed at home, but like doing your kids’ haircuts at home, not everyone can produce the prettiest results.

But that requires time, and a commitment to regular care.  It doesn’t take much for a pet to go from having a well-groomed, healthy coat to being a matted mess, or worse, pelted (where the matts are so thoroughly tangled that they have to be shaved off like a sheep being sheared). 

And if these tangled messes are left to worsen, they can seriously threaten the animal’s health.  Sores, bacterial and fungal infections, hot spots, cuts, infestations and a world of other problems can hide beneath a pelted coat.

Many owners think that leaving a dog’s coat longer in winter keeps it warm.  If the coat is properly cared for and mat-free, they would be correct.  But a matted dog actually is a lot colder in winter than a dog with short hair.   Matted coats trap moisture behind them, and don’t allow the dog’s skin to fully dry.  That can be why they get that "doggy stink", but worse, it negates the protection the long coat is supposed to give.  It’s like us wearing a nice winter coat, but having a damp wool sweater on underneath.  Sure, the coat protects us, but the cold slices right through, and chills us to the bone.  

And yes, you can have a golden retriever or husky groomed.  Double-coated dogs shed like crazy, but a groomer has the tools to reduce that dramatically.  And even a dog like a pug can benefit from regular grooming.  We have dozens of the little guys that come in every three to six months to be shaved, and the owners love that there aren’t all those little hairs sticking into everything.

In our busy lives, sometimes it is easier to leave certain jobs to professionals.  They can do the job better, faster and easier, all things your dog will appreciate.  A "day at the spa" can be a great experience for an animal, and once you find the right groomer, your dog will love going there, and coming home happy and clean, ready to play.   And you don’t have to worry about cleaning up the tub, vacuuming up all kinds of hair, the backbreaking brushing your big dog needs, or struggling to clip their nails.  

Let your groomer do the dirty work of expressing the anal glands and cleaning the goop from around the eyes.   The best ones are trained professionals, with the tools to do a great job with the least amount of stress on the pet.  And once you find your perfect match, follow their recommendations.  Don’t show up once a year and expect them to work miracles.  Regular visits keep it pain-free for your pet, and make the grooming experience a positive one.

Contact Jeff with your questions or ideas at aardvarkpets@shaw.ca or visit www.aardvarkpets.com

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