What are your dogs’ grooming needs?

May 26, 2020

You wouldn’t go to work without showering, brushing your teeth and styling your hair would you? We thought not! Grooming is an important part of our lives, and it’s just as important for our furry friends. We have already spoken about the importance of brushing your pet, but many pets, particularly dogs, need a little bit of extra help in the grooming department.

The method of grooming and how often you should do it will depend very much on your dog’s breed, age and your lifestyles; if your furry friend is jumping through mud puddles every week they may need more baths than the average dog!

Read on to match your adult dog with their grooming needs; please note that if your dog is a mixed breed, then refer to the category that best matches their dominant breed or hair-type:

Smooth coat and short haired dogs
Double coated dogs
Wire haired dogs
Curly or wool coated dogs
Hairless dogs

Smooth coat dogs and short haired dogs

Smooth coat breeds have short and silky hair that lies flat against their body, while short haired dogs have coarser hair; think Dalmations, Greyhounds, Bulldogs, Boxers and Pugs.

Their grooming needs:

These coat types require minimal grooming, making them suitable for pet parents who want a low maintenance dog. But while their hair may be short, many short hair breeds will still shed year-round so regular brushing is necessary to reduce this as much as possible. A quick brush with a soft-to-medium bristle brush following the direction of the hair a few times a week is all that is needed. This will also help to distribute your pet’s natural oils over their coat to keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny. Take care when brushing sensitive areas like their tummy!

This natural build-up of body oils can also cause our furry friend to get a bit woofy so a monthly bath with specific dog shampoo and conditioner is also recommended. After their bath, towel away excess moisture and then allow your dog to air dry. 

Double coated dogs

Double coated dogs can be both long haired or short haired; the double coat refers to their soft and thick undercoat that keeps them warm in winter and cool in summer, and their coarser top coat which shields against moisture and dirt. Double coated dog breeds include Huskies, Collies, Golden Retrievers, Shiba Inus, Cattle Dogs, and Corgis. 

Their grooming needs:

Dogs with this type of coat will shed twice a year, shedding their winter coat in preparation for summer, and then shedding their summer coat to make way for their winter coat again!

This type of coat requires a little bit more maintenance than their short-haired compadres and definitely requires more brushing! Investing in a good Pin or Slicker brush will help you to avoid knots and matting in their coat. Brush their undercoat outwards from the skin to remove tangles and then brush their top coat in the direction of growth.

If you have a long-haired double coated dog, you will need to divide their fur into different sections and then brush out each section from the skin outwards with a special comb called an undercoat rake and then use a wide-toothed comb to remove any loose undercoat hair. Be sure to comb their whole body for the best results!

When it comes to bathtime for double coated dogs, particularly those with long hair, you should use a special detangling shampoo to help prevent tangling and matting and be sure to use conditioner to keep your dog’s hair shiny and strong.

Towel dry then dry them off with a hairdryer set on low and give their coat another once over with a brush once they’re completely dry. 

Wire haired dogs

Wire haired dogs have a coarse, bristly coat that’s rough to the touch which helps them to repel dirt and water and they also have a soft, thick undercoat which can shed as the seasons change. Some dog breeds that come in wire haired varieties include Scottish Terriers, Dachshunds, Irish Wolfhounds, Australian Terriers and Jack Russells.

Their grooming needs:

This coat type requires more grooming than regular brushing as the wiry hair does not naturally shed, so to maintain the wiry hair at breed standard, you need to perform a process called stripping, where you would need to pluck out older strands by hand or with a stripping knife to allow for new hair growth. This can be a time-consuming and stressful process as you have to use the correct technique, which is why many pet parents choose to have this done professionally. 

Alternatively, if you are not concerned about your dog’s coat being specific to their breed, then basic clipping is an easier and less-expensive grooming technique and is perfectly okay for a wire haired dog. It will mean that your dog will lose their unique scruffy appearance, as clipping the hair will over time make it softer, making your dog lose their wiry look.

As for bathtime for wire haired dogs, they can be washed with regular dog shampoo and conditioner, but you should be careful not to bathe them too often – over washing can sometimes dry out a wire coat. After their bath, you can towel dry and then let them air dry, or speed up the process with a hair dryer set on low.

Curly or wool coated dogs

Curly haired or wool coated dogs breeds have hair in tight spirals, soft curls or waves that lie close to their body. 

This type of coat tends to shed less and so can be great for allergy sufferers, though the loose hair that is shed can get trapped within the coat and therefore requires regular brushing to remove the shedded hair before it causes knots and matting. Curly haired dog breeds include Poodles and Labradoodles, Portuguese Water Dogs, Bichon Frise and Irish Water Spaniels.

Their grooming needs:

Start your grooming session with a detangling comb and then brush with a soft slicker brush to give their coat a healthy shine. When it comes to bath-time, using a colour-specific shampoo and conditioner will give you the best results. A curly or wool haired dog’s coat will naturally absorb a lot of moisture, so following their bath dry the coat with an absorbent towel and then once they are towel-dry, finish with a hairdryer using a slicker brush brushing your dog’s coat outwards from the skin as you dry to keep your dog’s hair in top condition.

It’s also often necessary for dogs with curly and wool coats to be professionally groomed as, like us, their hair needs regular trims to prevent it from growing too long and tangling up.

Hairless dogs

No that isn’t a joke! Hairless dogs still require grooming, even though they have little or no hair. Hairless dog breeds include breeds like the Xoloitzcuintle, (Mexican Hairless Dog), Chinese Crested Dog, and American Hairless Terrier. Depending on the breed, might be entirely hairless or may have tufts of hair.

Their grooming needs:

Grooming for the tufted dogs isn’t difficult, simply comb the tufts to keep them free of knots and matting. While they won’t require regular brushing like their furrier friends, hairless dogs do need skin care. A buildup of skin cells and their natural body oils can lead them to feel dirtier and have more skin problems compared to dogs with other coat types, meaning that hairless dogs require regular bathing to keep their skin healthy. Use a sensitive skin shampoo and soft sponge or cloth when bathing your dog and rinse them well afterwards, finishing by towel- and air-drying them. Their skin can also require moisturising lotion to keep it from becoming dry and itchy. Additionally, without a fur coat to protect their skin, they will need protection from the sun so if you’re heading outside, apply a SPF 15 or higher pet sunscreen to their skin. 

Additional grooming

In addition to the breed-specific grooming we have gone through, your dog may require additional services like nail clipping, anal gland expression and ear cleaning. Our vet team can perform those services if required while your dog is with us.

If you’d like to get your pet professionally groomed, Matraville Veterinary Practice has engaged the talented Masayo Anlezark. Learn more about her services here.

If you have any additional questions about how to best care for your dog and their coat, give our team a call and we’ll happily answer any questions you may have. Matraville Veterinary Practice has been caring for the animals of Matraville and surrounding suburbs since 1994. Get in touch with our friendly team today!

Got a question?

We’re here to help you with any urgent enquiries or assistance you might need. Need a little extra help, or not sure if you should bring your pet in for a check-up? Give our team a call and we’ll happily answer your questions.