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Dog Health and Grooming

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Dog health and grooming have an unexpectedly positive relationship. As I was researching this topic, I ran across the article below.

I like going to my barber and getting my hair cut. She cuts my hair with scissors. She combs it this way and cuts, then combs it that way then cuts some more. The experience of having my hair cut is a positive one, it feels good and it make me feel better. I am sure most of you have similar experiences of having your hair shampooed and styled, or just cut.

Do you suppose it feels good to a dog to be groomed? I don’t know, but there is a definite link between dog health and grooming as the article below shows.

Beth, writing writing for TheStraight-Poop.com, mentions the things a good dog groomer can spot when they are grooming a dog. She also gives some tips explaining what to look for in a good groomer.

Dog Health and Grooming

If your dog has a lot of fur, you may never know what’s hiding beneath it unless you do some regular grooming.  It is only when you get the tangles out and spend some time looking at and touching your dog’s skin that you may notice small skin problems or tumors that may later grow into bigger issues.

Regular home grooming gives you the chance to get familiar with your dog’s body so that you can feel any changes that crop up.  You stand a much better chance of keeping your dog healthy if you find problems soon after they start rather than after they have become deeply entrenched.

For example, some breeds are prone to “hot spots”, more properly known as wet eczema.  These spots typically start off very small, but they grow quickly, and are very painful.  If you brush your dog daily or even three times a week, you are likely to notice a hot spot before your dog is in agony.  Early treatment will prevent the spot from getting any bigger.

Ear cleaning should also be part of your home grooming routine, and you will be able to spot mites or infections before they get out of hand.

Nail clipping can give you an opportunity to inspect the dog’s foot pads for any injuries, and the nails themselves for any signs of infection.


Home grooming your dog allows you to spend some quality time with the animal, which can deepen the bond you share.  There are several ways you can make the time a pleasant experience for your dog:

  • Use warm water for bathing, rather than just spraying the dog with your garden hose.
  • Use shampoo specifically made for dogs to prevent skin irritation.
  • Brush the dog before you bathe him or her to keep tangles to a minimum.
  • After the bath, brush the dog again, being patient enough to work slowly through any remaining tangles.
  • Allow sufficient time after grooming to play with the dog, showing him or her that good behavior during grooming is always rewarded with some play time with his or her favorite person.

What to look for in a professional groomer

If bathing your dog at home is just too big of a chore, or if you don’t have the proper facilities to do it right, you might consider hiring a professional groomer.  Look for a salon that is clean, with employees who seem to enjoy their work.

Watch how the employees interact with the clients, both human and canine.  Do they appear to be happy with their jobs and at least reasonably fond of dogs?  How do they treat dogs who are scared or shy?  Do they talk to the dogs in a calm voice, trying to keep them calm, or do they simply drag them to the grooming table and start clipping?

Ask for a tour of the place before you commit to an appointment.  The work areas should be kept clean and disinfected.  Check to see that hair is swept off the floor regularly and properly disposed of.   Are the cages cleaned after one dog leaves before another dog uses the same space?

Some dogs are likely dropped off in the morning and not picked up until the end of their parents’ shift.  What arrangements are made for these dogs to do their business?  Are they walked or at least let out of their cages regularly for potty breaks?  Does anyone check on them throughout the day?  Do they have any toys or activities available to prevent boredom?

Pay careful attention to the way in which dogs are dried after they are bathed.   A dog should never be placed in a heated chamber for drying, as it can cause the dog to overheat quickly.  In some cases, dogs have received severe burns from drying cages.  Rather, a blow dryer should be used to manually dry the dog, which means that a human is observing and interacting with the dog throughout the process, watching for signs of distress.

Look at the dogs as they leave the salon, particularly the purebreds.  Are the cuts in conformance to breed standards?  If you have a purebred, especially if you plan on entering conformance competitions, you will greatly benefit by finding a groomer who is both familiar and experienced with your particular breed.

When I read Beth’s article, it helped me realize the importance, for a dog’s health, of good regular, loving care not only by their owners, but also by others who are professionally trained to care for your dog. Don’t forget about the relationship between your dog’s health and grooming. Either learn to groom your dog well or take it to a professional. To read the rest of Beth’s article, click here.

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