The Importance of Grooming
New poodle mixed breeds have quickly gained popularity in recent years. Goldendoodles, Labradoodles, Cocka-poos, Yorkie-poos, Cava-poos, Malti-poos. It’s no wonder they are sought after since they are so adorable. We have seen many new poodle mixes patients lately. We would like to take a moment to remind owners of the importance of good grooming, since we tend see patients for issues caused by improper grooming.
Matted hair on the body can hide medical issues. A small abrasion or cut hidden underneath can become a bigger problem if left untreated. Matted hair traps moisture next to the skin which encourages bacterial growth, leading to a larger skin infection we call a “hot spot”. These are often treated by clipping the hair, cleaning the infected skin, and topical and or oral antibiotics.
Yeast and bacteria thrive in dark, damp environments. A hairy ear canal is just such a place. Plucking the hair from the ears and trimming around them lets the air flow more freely in and out. This reduces the likelihood of ear infections. After baths or swimming, it is helpful to dry the ears. For dogs with frequent ear issues, maintenance cleaning may be necessary.
Trimming around the eyes is often missed but particularly important. Normal eye tearing and discharge can accumulate in the inner corners of the eye. Mixing with hair, it dries and forms crusty mats. If not removed, these mats can irritate the skin and allow infection to take hold.
People often dread trimming their pet’s nails as it can be stressful for both pet and owner. It doesn’t have to be. With a little work and positive reinforcement, you can both get through it alive. Start young, play with their feet often. Save the good treats for nail trim time. Distract them with peanut butter. Make it a fun and rewarding experience. Or if you just can’t handle it, bring them to a groomer or veterinary clinic for trimming.
Imagine not trimming your toenails ever and trying to fit them in your shoes. Long nails can be uncomfortable for pets. In extreme cases nails will grow around into the paw pads causing pain and infection. Trimming the excess hair on your dog’s feet can make nail trims easier. Hairy feet can be more slippery on smoother surfaces. In winter, snow and ice can accumulate on the hair between the toes causing discomfort and possible injury.
Keeping your pet’s rear end trimmed can prevent medical issues. We often see feces stuck on the hair around the anus. In severe cases, it can inhibit the pet from passing stool. This can also lead to skin infection around the area. Trimming around the vulva keeps it cleaner and drier, reducing the probability of vaginitis and skin & urinary tract infections.
When to start?
First and foremost, make sure they are healthy and vaccinated properly. Acclimating puppies to the grooming process early can make it much easier down the road. Start brushing them, playing with their feet, and making them cooperate with being handled. Makes it positive with treats and praise. Call ahead and consult with your groomer for recommendations. Each groomer may have certain age, vaccination, and appointment requirements.
You go to the mechanic for your car, the plumber for your sink, and the lawyer when you are in legal trouble. Groomers have been specifically educated and trained in the art of pet hair care. If you want advice, consult a groomer instead of Facebook or Google. It is much easier (and likely less expensive) to do it right the first time than to try and fix a mistake.