chihuahua-with-bath-suds-on-head

Dog grooming 101: From perfect perms to dog food for sensitive skin

Dog grooming 101: From perfect perms to dog food for sensitive skin

Whether your dog looks like a Bergamasco Shepherd (aka The Mop) or a French Poodle (aka The Q Tip), we have created some dog grooming tips specifically for owners whose dogs suffer from sensitive skin.

Symptoms of skin allergies:

A skin allergy may present itself in a number of ways with some not so obvious symptoms. Whilst the odd scratch behind the ear may be neither here nor there, here is a list of red-flags to look out for:

  • Sore skin (itchy, red, moist, scabbed etc)
  • Significant increase in scratching
  • Eyes (may be runny or itchy)
  • Itchy tail (this suggest a flea allergy)
  • Ears (itchy or signs for infection)
  • Sneezing (… bless you)
  • Vomiting & diarrhoea
  • Excessive snoring (caused by an inflamed throat)
  • Paws (swollen)
  • Persistent licking and paw chewing

Causes of skin allergies:

There are a number of variables which could be causing sensitivity to your dog’s skin, some of which we have little control over. Here are some common causes for skin allergies in dogs:

  • Trees, grass and weed pollens
  • Mold spores
  • Dust and house dust mites
  • Feathers
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Food ingredients (read more below)
  • Fleas
  • Prescription drugs (including flea-control products)
  • Perfumes and cleaning products
  • Fabrics
  • Shampoos

toy-poodle-in-bandana

Dog breeds at high risk:

  • The flat faced breeds (think Shih Tzus, Pugs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels etc.)
  • Terriers
  • Setters
  • Retrievers

Dog grooming 101

How often should a dog be groomed?

This can vary dependant on dog breed, hair length and coat type. Of course, this not only effects how often you need to groom your dog, but also what grooming may entail. For short haired dogs a bath and brush is no great ordeal, however, for the likes of your Bearded Collies it’s another story.

For dogs with long, full coats:

  • Small dogs (such as Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apsos): groomed every six weeks, provided the owner regularly brushes their dogs.
  • Large dogs (such as Sheepdogs and Bearded Collies): groomed every four weeks for a ‘sprucing up’ and every 8 weeks for a deep cleanse.

For short to medium haired dogs:

  • Medium haired dogs (such as Spaniels and Retrievers) – groomed once a week.
  • Short haired dogs (such as Beagles and Labradors) – groomed up to once a month (if they can resist the temptation to jump into muddy puddles).

group-of-well-groomed-dogs

DIY vs. Groomers:

DIY – it’s cost effective and means you don’t need to worry about leaving your dog with ‘strangers’. Great, but what about when it comes to cutting nails and dealing with icky jobs? (not to mention that wet dog smell!)

Groomers are equipped with the right tools, expert know-how and dog handling expertise. A lot of salons also offer mobile grooming, meaning that there is a convenient solution for everyone. Whilst dogs with long, full coats should follow the guidelines above, we do not expect you to drop your Retriever off every week for a full cleanse. For short to medium haired dogs do what you can at home with bathing and brushing, taking your companion to groomers for specialist treatments such as nails and teeth.

Hey newbie!

Is your pup new to the world of grooming? Or maybe your long time pet has never been keen on baths? Grooming can provoke anxiety in our four legged friends, however there are a couple of things you can do to ease a your dog (new or old) into enjoying bath time just that little bit more:

Handle your dog. Little or large, handling your dog will familiarise them with a similar process as to what happens during a grooming session. Don’t underestimate how clever your dog is – try saying “ear” and then touching their ear softly (with a doggy treat rewarded for no reaction). This will help them to stay calm when the same process happens during grooming.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Try to make the groomers somewhere exciting for them to visit by incorporating walks before or after their visit. Research the local area and see what fun activities you and your dog can do together following a visit.

Treat yo’ self. If you do choose DIY, then make sure you have treats on hand. By incentivising your pooch to stay still (particularly when grooming difficult areas) you’ll find that the whole process is made a lot easier. Remember treats don’t just have to be doggy biscuits, you can also use healthy alternatives such as crunchy veg.

Specialist products:

Shampoos: avoid using insecticidal shampoos and opt for hypoallergenic shampoo AND conditioner.

Brushes: use a brush which has softer bristles. Whilst different coat types require different brushes it can be difficult to use particular brushes ‘carefully’ so shop around to find the best fit for your dog.

Diet: keep reading!

Diet:

There are a lot of common ingredients often found within dog food recipes which may be causing your canine companion to suffer from skin allergies. Ingredients such as dairy, soya, pork, eggs, wheat and gluten are medically proven to provoke allergies within dogs. The presence of artificial preservatives (such as artificial colouring, artificial flavouring and genetically modified ingredients etc.) may also be contributing towards your pet’s sensitive skin.

So exactly what is the best dog food for skin allergies? You need to be looking for hypoallergenic pet food when shopping for your dog. More specifically, grain free dog food for dogs who are allergic or sensitive to grain (such as wheat, rice, cereals etc.).

Be wary: make sure what you’re buying actually is hypoallergenic. A lot of supermarket brands now claim to be “hypoallergenic”, however, still have these red flag ingredients present within their recipes.

The dental benefits of dry dog food also play into your dog’s grooming. Whilst kibble not only concentrates a lot of nutrition in smaller volume, chewing biscuits appose to wet food also plays a vital role in maintaining clean and healthy teeth.

Good habits:

Regular brushing. By brushing your dog weekly you will make the whole grooming process a LOT easier for your dog and their groomer. Mats can form easily and build up in your dog’s coat, however, if they’re caught early then there are no consequences (involving the dreaded shaver) . This will also prevent your dog shedding which means less hoovering… Yay!

From primmed pup to model canine. Start grooming your dog early so that they get used to being handled and bathed.

It’s not just about coat, nails and teeth. Don’t forget general health checks like your dog’s mouth, ears and body (to examine their weight) whilst grooming your dog!

stunning-clean-coat-dog

shop hypoallergenic dog food

Did we miss anything? Tell us your tips & tricks for for grooming over on our Facebook page.


How to stop a cat peeing on bed and pooping in the house!

How to stop a cat peeing on bed and pooping in the house!

How to stop a cat peeing on bed and pooping in the house! ...
Mental Health Matters: Pixie’s Story

Mental Health Matters: Pixie’s Story

Mental Health Matters: Pixie’s Story (@pixiethemsd ) ...
Mental Health Matters: Jasper’s Story

Mental Health Matters: Jasper’s Story

Mental Health Matters: Jasper’s Story In light of ...
Mental Health Matters: Paws 4 a Break

Mental Health Matters: Paws 4 a Break

Mental Health Matters: Paws 4 a Break (in collaboration ...
Mixing your pets food: Dry food, wet food and everything in-between

Mixing your pets food: Dry food, wet food and everything in-between

Mixing your pets food: Dry food, wet food and everything ...