While we were driving through Phoenix today we saw a sign that read, “Self Serve Dog Wash.” Right next to it was another sign that read, “Self Serve Car Wash.” Seriously, no joke! LOL! Sometimes real life can be funnier than a joke 🙂 But it’s only funny to me now because of what I’ve learned over the years. It would have made complete sense to me before I started grooming dogs as a profession. Why not wash your dog like you would your car? Soap them up, rinse them off, dry them, and boom!, you’re done. Right? As my daughter would say, “Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.” 🙂 But it’s not that simple. I believe that the general perception is that grooming a dog is just that simple, and it can be done within a couple of hours once every 2-3 months. I share my thoughts on this topic in this video:
When I think about why I was so ignorant regarding proper dog grooming, even while I was getting paid to do it, I believe it’s because I was never required to read a book to own a dog – or groom a dog. I’ve actually never even paid for a dog in my life! They’ve all been given to me, and I have 3 dogs now. The reason I bring this up is because I went to the local library and picked up about a dozen books on different dog breeds. I wanted to read what each breed book had to say about grooming. I was impressed by what I read. I know in my heart that if I had read any of these books before owning a dog I would have thought about brushing them more regularly. Had I known how important it was for them both physically and emotionally, I would have gladly done it even though it is time consuming and physically demanding. I won’t share all the notes that I took from every breed. Instead I’ve selected quotes from just a few to highlight the different coat types in dogs.
Chihuauhuas: “A Chihuahua needs very few baths if regularly brushed. Too much bathing removes the coat’s natural oils, which can lead to dry and itching skin.” (1)
Jack Russell Terriers: “A good Russell coat should only need brushing to keep it clean. The natural oils present in the coat should act as a repellent to dirt and water, keeping the Terrier’s skin dry should he find himself out in the rain.” (2)
Pomeranians: “Grooming is not just for cosmetic purposes. All Pomeranians need to be combed, brushed, and bathed routinely to keep their coats healthy, shiny, and free of mats. If the coat becomes matted, it’s insulating qualities will be lost. Mats are good hiding places for parasites, such as fleas, ticks, and mites.
…If you do not have the time, or do not want to groom your Pom, then a Pomeranian is not the dog for you. It is true that you can hire a professional groomer, but remember that for a beautiful coat, your Pom needs daily brushing.” (3)
Yorkshire Terriers: “Brushing distributes natural oils in the coat and keeps it free of mats and tangles. To grow a beautiful coat, your Yorkie has to have very healthy skin, too.
…Yorkies have very sensitive skin and can be prone to skin conditions and allergies. Grooming (brushing and combing) stimulates the skin, spreads natural oils, and gives you an opportunity to check Dickens thoroughly for signs of dry or oily skin, and for lumps and bumps, parasites, stickers, and scabs.” (4)
American Pit Bull Terriers/American Staffordshire Terriers: “Brushing not only helps to keep the skin invigorated by removing dead hair and skin, dirt and any foreign matter that may have gotten on the dog, but it actually eliminates the need for a lot of baths. Bathing your dog too often will actually harm the skin and coat of the AmStaff or the APBT. The skin and hair can become dried out and the natural luster and shine of the coat diminished.
Your consistent attention to your pet’s cleanliness needs will be amply repaid with a more presentable pet and with the additional opportunity for bonding with the animal that a few moments of brushing can bring.” (5)
I think that the last sentence pretty much sums up how I feel about grooming dogs. As you can see, it really doesn’t matter what type of coat it is. Brush more and bathe less. It’s the way Mother Nature intended, and as my hero, Cesar Millan, would say, “Always work with Mother Nature.”
1: Marion G Mondshine (2005); A New Owner’s Guide to Chihuahuas; T.F.H. Publications: ISBN 0-7938-2801-5
2: John Valentine (2005); Dog Owner’s Guide to the Jack Russell Terrier: Expert Advice on Care and Training; Firefly Books Ltd: ISBN 1-55407-087-2
3: Vanderlip, Sharon Lynn, DVM (2007); The Pomeranian Handbook / Sharon Vanderlip ; illustrations by Pam Tanzey; Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.: ISBN-13: 978-0-7641-3545-3 / ISBN-10: 0-7641-3545-7
4: Vanderlip, Sharon Lynn, DVM (2007); Yorkshire Terriers: Everything about purchase, care, grooming, health, nutrition, care, and training / Sharon L Vanderlip ; filled with color photographs ; illustrations by Pam Tanzey: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.: ISBN-13: 978-0-7641-3718-1 / ISBN-10: 0-7641-3718-2
5: Stahlkuppe, Joe (2000); American Pit Bull Terriers/American Staffordshire Terriers: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual; Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.: ISBN 0-7641-1052-7