Have a Pup? Thinking of Getting a Pup?
Here's some food for thought surround Grooming Expectations and Costs
Each pup has its own grooming needs. No two pups are the same. While you may have a non-shedding dog or a shedding dog or a combo, all require regular daily maintenance.
A Non-Shedding Dog (they still shed contratry to popular belief) needs daily combing and brushing. Brushing alone will not keep your dog mat or tangle free. Combing gets to the root of the hair along the skin and helps remove any tangles forming. Once a week or once in a while tending to is also not conducive to keeping their coats well maintained. The sooner you introduce your pup to the comb and brush and any additional item their coat may need, the better.
When should pup start the grooming process?
That's a simple answer: As soon as possible. Anyone who tells you to wait for an inordinate period of time (i.e. 6 mos-1 year) before having your pet groomed, is giving you some serious misguided information.
Why is not safe to wait that long?
Your pup's coat won't grow healthily, they will be fearful of the process and will be more difficult to teach and overcome any fears they incur.
You can absolutely introduce the comb and brush to your fur baby as early as you bring them home. They will need to get used to the sensations of being combed and brushed and of you handling them patiently and gently. When in doubt, reach out to a groomer for pointers! Schedule a meet and greet before you bring pup home or contact your veterinarian for how tos. The more professional information under your belt the better.
Your pup may not take to the comb and brush right away and may mouth, nip or complain and rightfully so. They don't understand why this is happening to them. Patience on your part, a quiet environment and feedback from a professional groomer or veterinarian go a long way.
Do not use home remedies or hacks online to rectify matting. Honey, Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera, Rubbing Alcohol etc, will not solve your pups hair needs or health problems(matting, odour etc.). Step away from Dr. Google and/or dog groups and contact a professional when in doubt.
Shedding Dogs(i.e. Golden Retriever, Labrador Retrievers, Australian Shepherds etc.) don't need regular grooming.
FALSE: ALL of the above mentioned dogs need regular grooming. The more double the coat the more likely their coats can become impacted (a type of matting), begin hot spots, and have unhealthy skin to name a few.
Shaving a shedding dog will stop them from shedding.
FALSE. Shaving a shedding dog or as commonly known as a double coated dog will ruin their coat and will not stop any shedding. It will damage their coat (may not grow back healthily or evenly). It will not help your dog's temperature regulation (it can throw it out of sorts) and they will absolutely continue to shed small, sharper pieces of hair. Trust me when I say, you do not want that type of hair sliver stuck in your skin. It is painful and can cause infection. It feels more uncomfortable (and sometimes more painful) than a splinter.
All dogs require daily brushing and combing with the correct tools to get to the root of their hair and stimulate their natural oils and get out the dead hair.
While bully breeds like Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Boxers Etc, don't need combing, they still need brushing to help their skin and coat. There are brushes specifically designed to help massage out their fur and get those oils going. One of the best ones is a curry brush.
What is this going to cost me?
There's no sugar coating this; dog grooming is costly. Even if you do it at home, the expense of shampoos, brushes, combs etc. will run up a hefty bill. There's no way around it. If you are planning on attempting grooming at home, I commend you! It is not an easy task to do regularly but it is well worth it if you learn how to properly do it. If you do attempt to home groom, make sure to purchase good equipment. I can't stress this enough; you get what you pay for. A good set of hair clippers start at at least $150.
The average cost for a small dog groom is at least +$90+HST. Costs typically vary but that rounded number is something for you to factor into your budgets every 8 weeks or so. If you are charged more, either you have asked for additional services to your pup's groom or the likelier reason that they are pretty far gone matting wise.
I want to keep my dog on the longer side. How can that be achieved?
A regular grooming schedule is the way to do it:
2-4 Weeks = Fluffy Coat / 6-8 Weeks= A Little Fluffy/ 10 Weeks + SHORT SHORT SHORT!
The more you keep up with at home maintenance; the better the chance you can keep your dog on the fluffier side. Your dog's coat condition is entirely dependent on YOU.
Matting does not happen overnight, over a weekend, within a week, or two. Matting occurs over a prolonged period of neglected grooming habits (i.e. No Combing, Brushing or maintaining a regular grooming schedule).
Groomers will always know if your pup has been without regular grooming and for how long by another groomer by the state of your pup's coat. Trust me again when I say; we cannot be fooled, and your grooming invoice will be reflected as such.
The more work to be done to your pup (shaving mats out of pups is painful for them!) to help make them comfortable again and start fresh hair growth, is time consuming.
The average small dog appointment is 2.5-3 hours. Tack on extra minutes/hours for a severely matted coat. That is a lot of time for your pup to endure a situation they didn't create.
What tools should I use to help maintain my dog's coat?
There are many great tools out there and also many gimmicky things too. You don't need anything fancy and going into the pet shops or going online may overwhelm you. That's O.K.. Usually pet shop staff are well versed but if you're still not sure reach out to your groomer beforehand! We're not only here to assist your fur kids but you too! We don't want you to be spending an arm and a leg on something that isn't going to work.
Here are the tools yours truly uses on "non-shedding" dogs and shedding dogs.
A comb: What is known as a Greyhound Comb is the best comb out there for your pup! This is the one yours truly has used her entire career and it's gentle to use:
Brush: (Both types of coats)
Make sure the bristles are soft It doesn't have to be this exact model but something similar will help:
A Curry Brush (Great for Bully Breeds)
This brush massages the skin and promotes healthy oil production. It's also a great tool to use for a long haired shedding dog in the tub. It Massages out all the dead hair!
Undercoat Rake (Shedding Dog)
The combo between a comb and a brush (My favourite!!)
DO NOT USE A MAT BREAKER OR MAT BRUSH/COMB. If you are not familiar with the use of this tool, it can cause serious injury to you and your pet. Even experienced groomers are extra cautious with this tool as it is not meant to be used the same way as a regular brush or comb.
I hope these pointers have been helpful and a means to help prepare any new pet parents, help build up existing pet parents' knowledge and prepare your wallets for the expense surrounding grooming. When in doubt or you are unsure of what you should purchase or how often you should groom your pup; contact your groomer for help. We are here to help you too!