When it comes to grooming different types of dogs, you have to be mindful of the different breeds, skin types, coats and dog grooming products that must be used. For example, certain shampoos and conditioners may be too harsh for dogs with sensitive skin.
The most important factor effecting how you groom a dog is the type of coat he has. Dogs can have smooth coats, medium coats, long coats, wire or broken coats, or wavy coats. Each coat type requires a different grooming style and different grooming supplies. Even the shampoo that you use is based on what type of coat the dog has.
You must also take into consideration other features like skin folds, floppy ears, skin issues, dental problems, and many other physical features. Grooming isn't just as simple as giving your dog a bath and brushing his fur. Using the wrong products or tools could cause your dog harm and do lifelong damage to his skin and coat.
In this article, you are going to learn the differences between coat types, the best products to use for each type, and why there's a difference in products and procedures. Remember that grooming your dog regularly is important to his overall health and well-being.
Grooming Different Types of Dog Coats
Dogs come with different coat types, depending on their breed or mix of breeds. Before you begin grooming your dog, you need to understand his coat type. That knowledge will give you an understanding of what it will take to make him look his best. To figure out what type of coat your dog has, take a close look at his fur. Is it long or short? Are the individual hairs fine or wiry? Is the hair soft or brittle?
Grooming Short-Haired Dogs
During my time in a grooming course for dogs, I learned that short-haired dogs do not need as much maintenance as long-haired dogs do when it comes to their coats. However, they do still need grooming. In truth, short-haired dogs typically do not need to be brushed very often. Because their fur is so short, they don't have problems with tangles.
Never use a grooming brush on a short-haired dog that is designed for dogs with long hair. The bristles on those brushes, which we will talk about in the next section, are tough, sharp, and designed to work through long hair to remove tangles. If you use one of these brushes on a dog with a short coat, it will irritate, and even scratch, his skin.
This rule also applies to human brushes, as well. Therefore, it's best not to use a brush on dogs with a shorter coat, unless the bristles are very small or made of rubber. You can purchase brushes made specifically for dogs with short coats, and those are the only kind of brushes that you should ever use on a short-haired dog.
The Furminator Curry Comb, pictured on the left, is great for dogs with short hair. As long as the bristles are soft, or very small if they're made of rubber and metal, your dog's skin will be just fine. Keep in mind that brushes can be rough on a dog's skin – always remember that. Would you use a brush with metal bristles on someone who's almost bald? Absolutely not, so don't do it to your dog.
The Furminator Curry Comb's small rubber bristles are gentle on the dog's skin and they still remove dirt, dander, and loose hair. The molded teeth also stimulate the production of the natural oils in your dog's skin, which promotes coat health. This brush is specifically designed for a pet with short hair.
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When it comes to shampoos, you can typically use any type of shampoos on short haired dogs, you just need to be cautious of any skin conditions or sensitivities that your dog may have. Also, keep in mind that using shampoo or conditioner for humans on a dog is never safe, because it will unbalance their pH levels, and will irritate their skin greatly.
Grooming Long-Haired Dogs
If you have a dog with long hair, then you know just how useful a brush is. Long-haired dogs absolutely must be brushed at least once a week, or else you're going to be seeing some knots and tangles that have come out of a nightmare.
During my time in the dog grooming industry, I've seen a lot of pup parents walk a monstrosity through the door, only for the poor dog to end up on my table. Long story short, I've had to shave a lot of dogs because of owners not brushing them. Knots and tangles can be very painful for your dog, so do him a favor and get into a regular brushing routine.
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It takes just ten minutes a week to give your dog a good brush, so you can get all of those knots out. Depending on the breed of your dog, you may need to brush more often. For example, sheep dogs will get knots incredibly fast. As I said before, dogs with long hair need a lot more maintenance than those with short hair.
A dog grooming brush like this one from Tera Pet is perfect for dogs who have a long coat. The gentle ball head pin design does not irritate the skin, unless you are brushing too close or applying too much pressure, which you shouldn't be. These brushes are designed to get knots out as quickly as possible, while still giving your dog's coat a good brushing.
Dog brushes like this one have longer bristles and are specifically designed to remove loose hair from the undercoat of your long haired pet. They work through tangles without pulling to make brushing your dog an enjoyable experience for him. Brushes made for long haired dogs typically help reduce shedding as well.
When it comes to shampoo for dogs with long hair, you're going to need a special blend. Just like different breeds, there are different types of shampoo for coats. Dogs who have long hair will not benefit from a shampoo that is made for dogs with a short coat, so do some shopping around.
You will probably also want to buy a conditioner to help keep your long haired dog's coat from getting tangled and matted as quickly. Most pet stores have a section of grooming products in the grooming isle that are specifically made for long haired dogs. The products may cost a little extra, but trust me it will be well worth it.
Grooming Dogs With a Wiry Coat
If your dog has somewhat of a wiry coat, which are common for breeds such as Scotties, West Highland Terriers, and Jack Russells, then you're in luck. These types of coats can easily be taken care of using products for dogs with a short coat. Even though the texture of their fur is a little rough, they are able to be grouped within the same grooming class as dogs with short hair.
Therefore, you can use a small brush with soft bristles, and just about any other product designed for dogs with short hair. Although, there are some products that you can find at your local pet store which are designed for dogs with a wiry coat, you don't really need to spend the extra money on them if you don't want to.
This goes the same for shampoos. You can use the formulas for short haired dogs, since they're both classified the same. Again, there are shampoos and conditioners specifically for wiry haired breeds, but you could go in either direction. Just be sure to keep your dog's skin needs in mind when shampoo shopping.
Using Clipper Blades
Clippers are typically only used on dogs who have wiry fur, long hair, or dogs that are involved with shows, such as show poodles. Clippers are usually used in the summer time when it starts to get hot, even though dogs shed this time of year. Just remember that dogs with double coats should NEVER be shaved, as it will permanently damage their fur.
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Unless you have experience using clippers on another human or animal, it's best to leave it to the professionals. If you don't know the proper techniques you could end up hurting your dog or damaging his skin or coat. If you are going to change your dog's look drastically, for example completely shaving a golden retriever, it is best to have a professional groomer do it for you.
Grooming Your Dog Yourself
Grooming your dog can be a fun experience for the both of you, as long as you know the proper dog grooming products and procedures you'll need to use. Otherwise, it's best to leave the job of grooming your dog to the professionals. As a groomer, I know how difficult it can be when you have an irritated dog who hates being groomed, trust me.
The last thing you want to do is hurt your dog or scare him. Then he'll dread being groomed and it will be much harder for anyone that tries – professional or not. Grooming should be an enjoyable relaxing experience for your pet, and if you can't give him that, than it is best to leave it to someone that can.