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What Good Grooming Is All About

Good GroomingGood grooming is important for all dogs. It is important for long-coated dogs, short-coated dogs, dogs of all breeds, or of no particular breed at all. Good grooming is vital for your dog's comfort as well as for your own. A well-groomed dog smells better, looks better, and is a better companion.

Good Grooming is Not Just for Long Coats!

Everyone knows that dogs with long coats need grooming. Long coats retain dirt. They become tangled or matted. When dogs with long coats shed, they leave obvious skeins of hair behind to weave into furniture upholstery and clothing.

But dogs with short coats shed, too. Even though their coats may be less obviously dirty, short coats trap dirt next to your dog's skin. That dirt causes even short coats to become dirty, oily, and smelly. Not only is a dirty and smelly dog uncomfortable, you are uncomfortable too. Good grooming can make your dog a better companion by making him easier to be around.

What Breeds Need Grooming?

All of them! What breed springs to your mind when you think of grooming? If you are like many people, it would have to be the poodle. With its bouffant hairdo and poufs, the poodle is the poster child for good grooming. Curly coats, like those on the Airedale terrier and bushy coats, such as those on the varieties of schnauzers, need extensive grooming, too.

But here is a surprise: mixed breeds need good grooming, too. Your dog might not be Ch. Snoothaven's Hifalutin Belle, world-renowned Pekingese, but Couch Potato Belle needs good grooming just as much. You might need to do a bit of experimentation to find the right kind of shampoo to use or the best kind of brush to use on your dog's coat, but your dog will thank you for it.

What is involved in Good Grooming?

Although caring for your dog's coat is important, your dog needs care from nose to tail: its teeth, ears, coat, and nails all need attention. Let's look at all of these things:

Teeth: Dogs need clean teeth. Our dogs eat kibble and canned food, both of which contain corn and meat by-products. These items leave deposits on your dog's teeth. The deposits cause a buildup called "tartar", which if left untreated can cause serious health problems. Tartar buildup can lead to gingivitis, which can cause bad breath, tooth loss, and even sinus infections. Very serious infections can become systemic--that is, they can affect your dog's entire body--and can even lead to death. To prevent these things from happening, you should brush your dog's teeth regularly with a special toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs. Some solutions and gels are also available that will protect your dog's teeth once they are clean.

Ears: All dogs should have their ears check regularly to protect them against ear mites. Ear mites are readily recognizable as a brown, granular substance down in the ear canal. Regular ear cleaning can also prevent excessive wax from forming inside the ear canal. Ear mites and excessive ear wax can coexist. Both conditions are characterized by a foul odor that may be noticed even before your dog starts scratching at his ear or shaking his head. Ear care is typically simple if started early, consisting of gently cleaning the visible surfaces with a dry or slightly moistened cotton ball. Dogs with hanging ears are more prone to ear infections than those with ears that stand up.

Coat: It is pretty easy to recognize when a dog has a dirty coat. A dirty coat is more prone to matting because dirt clings to the undercoat and to the dead hair, causing them to clump together. Matting may lead to skin infections and parasites as well. Frequent brushing is sufficient to keep most dog coats free of excessive dead hair and tangles. Bathing your dog on a regular basis prevents parasites from attacking your dog as well as freeing your dog from dirt and grime.

Nails: Excessively long nails are uncomfortable for your dog. In the worst case, puppies with long nails can develop misshapen paws or have their pasterns affected. You should not be able to hear your dog's nails tap on your floor. If you can, it is time to cut them. A variety of nail clippers are available to the public, as are a variety of grinding tools. Your vet can assist you for a small cost if your dog has dark or black nails.

Good grooming is very important for both you and your dog. It makes your dog happier, keeps him healthier, and makes him a more pleasant companion. Devoting only a few minutes a week to the task is a small price to life easier for both of you.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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