There is currently a micro-epidemic going on in Moab, and that is a lack of grooming services for your dog. That’s right, Moab is full of dirty and hairy dogs. There has been a large shift in availability of groomers, some moved away and some have changed careers. We field many calls a day about this topic, so we thought it may be helpful to give some at home grooming advice for all types of dogs.
The high maintenance hair (Poodle, Maltese, Yorkie, Shih Tzu, etc.): These dogs need grooming consistently and frequently. Some people spend a lot of time on their own dogs and use professional grooming occasionally, but most often people take these little guys in every 4 to 6 weeks to get done. If you are still looking to book an appointment and your little guy blends in with your mop here are some things you can do to extend your trip into the groomer. First don’t bath these guys when their hair is matted, it will only make it worse! Always do the bulk of your brushing or trimming before the washing. If you are not comfortable with scissors or electric trimmers, just getting a slicker brush and comb giving it a good 10 to 20 minutes twice a week to keep a longer coat in good shape. If there are mats, we recommend using a mat splitter to work through mats that are pencil to thumb thickness. Anything larger than a thumbs diameter should be cut out or shaved. If you are working through smaller mats, hold the coat and skin firmly below the mat so you are not pulling on the skin and hurting the dog. Always work in the direction of the mat. Start at the bottom of the mat and work your way to the top with small strokes so you are using the smallest amount of pressure and tug.
Regular brushing can even keep these long haired lovelies from needing an actual bath. But if you need to wash some stink off, after your brushing we recommend using a diluted no soap shampoo. You want to see things like Aloe Vera and Coconut as the base for the shampoo and not things that are sulfate based. We recommend diluting the shampoo at least in half and using a moderate amount so you don’t overdo it. Always use a conditioner and rinse, rinse, rinse! Once the dog is dry an additional brushing and coat conditioner (like “The Stuff”) will help them look awesome and fresh.
The Shaggy dog (Aussie, Golden, Akita, Sheperd, etc.): These dogs can be shaved or just groomed regularly, or even just occasionally brushed based on their coat density and condition. Often these dogs get professionally groomed about 1 to 3 times a year. Many of the people that have these dogs use our dog wash frequently too as they are aware of basic grooming needs and often these dogs fall into the category of hikers, bikers and runners. They are outdoor lovers, just like their owners and they get pretty dirty having fun. With these dogs there are a lot of the same needs as the high maintenance dogs, like brush before you wash! This is very important in sporting dogs because often they have grass seeds and debris in their coat and washing will just make it harder to get them out. Many of these dogs have hairy feet and grass seeds can get stuck in their toes. We highly recommend using wipes and or washing these dogs’ feet often, even without a bath. Check for grass seeds, as they can get imbedded as well as infected and painful if they go unnoticed. These dogs are made for outdoor living and their coats can get matted as well so we recommend twice weekly brushing with a slicker brush, undercoat rake or comb, 5 to 20 minutes based on the thickness of their coat. By brushing them often these you will distribute the natural oils in their coat, helping them stay shinny and looking good. If you shave your dog with a coat that is not intended to be cut remember to brush them often as it grows out. This helps prevent matting as hair that is not intended to be cut can grow in very downy and thick at first, so stay on top of it. These dogs don’t usually need a bath more than every 4 to 6 weeks.
The sleek and shiny pooch (Lab, Dachshund, Pincher, Bulldog, Boxer and Pitbull): These dogs are the exception to many of the rules for other coat types. They can benefit from more frequent bathing, and often get pretty stinky quickly. Monthly bathing is recommended. You can also brush these dogs before or after bathing, it doesn’t make much difference. Rarely do these dogs get matted, but they do need regular brushing. My short hair dogs shed like crazy, and if I brush them once a week really well it keeps me from wearing a fur coat worth of stray hairs each time I leave the house. We use a shedding blade (similar to a horse brush) and a comb around their neck where the fur is thicker. We also use a Furminator (specialty comb) that takes as much hair in 1 swipe as it takes with 10 swipes of a shedding blade. It is amazing! These dogs also benefit from regular foot washing as they do track an awful lot of what we try and keep outside. This can also help keep allergens out of your house if you suffer from allergies or let your dog sleep in bed. It would be like going to bed with your shoes on, yuck!
Make sure to maintain your Mutt properly and stay on top of hygiene. If you spend time each month touching and grooming your dog you will be more likely to find lumps, bumps, and things out of the ordinary plus it is a bonding experience. Make sure to get everything you need prepared before grooming, use treats or rewards for those dogs that don’t like being groomed so much and always keep it positive. Here’s to a cleaner, happy healthy pet!