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Long-haired dog grooming

Even if it’s unlikely that your dog will be troubling the judges at Crufts, it’s still a good idea to give him a regular grooming. And it’s not just because it keeps him looking beautiful, although that’s a pretty good reason, it’s also a great way to keep an eye on his body condition, and spot early signs of health problems.

What are the benefits of long-haired dog grooming?

Even just giving your long-haired friend a daily brush helps to remove dead hair and distributes natural oils through his coat, keeping it and his skin healthy. While you hold him you can also check for unusual lumps and bumps as well as parasites or scratches that may need closer attention. It’s also a great excuse for cuddles so it’s hardly surprising that grooming has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and blood pressure in both of you.

How to groom a long-haired dog

  • To start with just run your fingers through your dog’s coat to loosen any matted hair. Using a brush or comb first thing could be too painful and might be met with a growl.
  • When things have been straightened out use a pinhead brush to comb through and untangle hair taking care in sensitive areas.
  • Brush forwards then backwards to bring out the natural shine in silky coats.
  • Never cut out matted hair with scissors as you might catch the skin by accident, which will definitely deserve a growl.
  • If things have become too matted it’s probably best to visit your vet or a professional dog groomer.

Starting off grooming long-haired dogs

  • It’s best to start when your dog is young so he gets used to all your grooming bits and pieces. This will spare you both a lot of stressful wrestling matches in the future.
  • First find somewhere he feels relaxed.
  • Give him a cuddle and start brushing gently at the same time.
  • Plenty of quiet praise is good and, if he’s been sitting nicely for a couple of minutes, a treat is in order.
  • Repeat brushing several times a day and after a week or so you can move on to more sensitive areas like thebelly, tail and ears.
  • For tangle-free long hair it’s best to groom every day.

Long-haired dog baths

The good news is that even long-haired dogs rarely need more than 2-3 baths a year, as too much bathing actually removes the natural oils from his coat. A quick paw wash will do most of the time but if he has a medical condition, has rolled in something unpleasant, or just smells a bit ‘off’, then a bath is probably on the cards.

Here are some tips for a successful long-haired dog bath:

  • Allow plenty of time as rushing will make your dog nervous.
  • Going for a good walk first is also advisable so he’s less bouncy at bath time.
  • Make sure everything you need is to hand as you don’t want him escaping mid-wash.
  • Depending on your dog’s size an old baby bath, sink, shower or normal bath will do, then use a specialist dog shampoo, not one designed for humans.
  • Your dog will automatically have a mad shake once out of the bath so make sure you have plenty of towels and cover up any priceless oil paintings.
  • If you can persuade another person to help you do all this, so much the better.