Coat Care

Tips for Dog Owners by Daryl Conner, Master Pet Stylist

As a loving pet owner, you take excellent care of your companion dog. You feed it well, take it to the
Veterinarian for annual care, and share your heart and home with it. Keeping your pet looking its best is
important, too. Here are some tips and tricks to help you maintain your dog’s appearance.

All dogs require regular brushing and combing. This reduces shedding, keeps mats from
developing in long coats and helps remove dirt and dander. Choosing the correct brush for your dog is
important. Most pet owners purchase a brush from the grocery store that has metal “pins” on one side,
and bristles on the other. Sadly, this popular style brush is fundamentally useless on most pets. A good
quality “slicker” type brush is best for coated dogs. A quality metal pet comb is a must. After brushing,
make sure you can get the comb through the coat from the skin out, all over the dog. Pay attention to the
area under the collar, the soft hair behind ears, and any place where there is friction, such as armpits.
Dogs such as Dobermans, Beagles, and such do well with a shedding blade, curry comb and/or a bristle
brush. Ask your groomer to recommend what tools are best for your pet.

Make a regular routine out of brushing. At least once a week your dog should be brushed from
the skin out, head to toe. Many dogs behave better if they are elevated a bit off the ground for grooming
sessions. Small dogs can be placed on a no-skid mat on top of the washing machine, larger dogs on
a bench or small table. Of course, never leave your dog unattended where it could fall. Accustom your
dog to having its feet handled, its face touched. This will make it easier for your pet when it visits the
Veterinarian or groomer. Be firm but gentle, and teach your dog that it is expected to stand still while
being brushed. Take this time to examine the animals eyes, ears and mouth to make sure everything
looks and smells normal and healthy. Give your dog a treat and some praise when you done, ending the
session on a happy note!

Dog’s nails need to be trimmed regularly. You can learn to do this at home, or take your pet to
the Veterinarian or groomer for frequent trims. If left to grow too long, nails can catch on carpets and
things and tear, can alter the way the foot hits the ground causing bone pain and deformities and nails
can even sometimes grow right into the pad of the dogs foot causing pain and infection. If you trim nails
at home, make sure your nail trimmer is new and sharp. Dull trimmers crush nails before the cut, causing

A dog’s ear should look and smell clean. Any discharge or odor is a sign of trouble that needs
Veterinary attention. If your dog shakes it head, holds its head to one side, or scratches at its ears, it has
a problem and needs attention.

Many people leave dogs ungroomed in the winter, thinking that the long coat will keep the pet
warm. If the dog’s coat is not kept well brushed, however, it will become matted, causing discomfort. Keep
in mind that a matted coat does not insulate well. If it becomes wet in the rain or snow, it holds moisture
against the skin, actually causing the dog to become chilled more easily. A heavy, matted coat can hide
parasites and even damage the animal’s skin, causing sores or bruising. Regular grooming at home or
by a professional will keep the dogs skin and coat healthy, and help the coat maintain optimum insulating
potential. It is an old wives tale that dogs should not be bathed during cold weather! We bathe and wash
our hair and survive nicely, your dog can, too!