To some pet owners, dog grooming may be done to pamper their dogs but for the most part, grooming helps to promote a dog’s overall quality of life. In a veterinary clinic, grooming may seem just another small add-on service but most vet clinics in the Philippines offer grooming services for the reason that regular grooming helps keep pets healthier and happier.
A typical grooming session lasts 1-2 hours, depending on whether the dog is easy to handle or not. If the dog is quite difficult to handle, it may take up to three hours for it to be completed. It is a job that must be handled with utmost care and cannot be rushed, as rushing it may result in lousy work or even cause injury to the dog.
Dogs especially long haired breeds will require regular grooming more often than short haired breeds primarily because their hairs grow very long and are very prone to matting. Unless you can devote one to hours everyday brushing and combing your dog’s hair, your dog must get a hair cut every two to three months to avoid hair matting issues.
A small tuft of matted hair will attract and entangle surrounding hairs into the area until it grows bigger and bigger, so it is quite important not to allow mats of hair to even start forming. I have seen dogs covered with matted hair all over the face and body with carpet-like consistency and this can become painful as it creates a hair pulling effect (“sabunot”) on the skin of the dog.
When your dog’s hairs become so matted, it will also lead to skin irritation and will encourage commensal bacteria on your dog’s skin to overgrow and cause obvious local bacterial infections. The skin involved in these areas look red and crusty.
Sometimes its worse than that. Sometimes matted hair will also be so soaked with feces and urine and believe it or not, sometimes we find garbage materials such as plastic and electrical tape tangled up with the matted hairs. You would think that these things really shouldn’t happen but somehow some owners find a way to make it happen.
Next to the skin and coat, the ears must also be cleaned and plucked if there is so much hair growing into the ear canal. The reason hairs are plucked from the ear canal is to provide adequate ventilation into the ears. When there is poor ventilation inside the ear canal, moisture is trapped and may predispose the ear environment to bacteria and yeast infection. These ears often have foul smelling discharge from them and will need to be treated.
When it comes to the nails, these things grow constantly when left uncut for months. Dogs with very long nails cannot walk properly and may feel discomfort as they walk. Also, sometimes the nails, especially the dewclaws (the extra digits located on the forelegs, sometimes may also be seen at the hind legs) may grow in such a way that they get buried all the way into the surrounding integument, causing wound and local tissue inflammation.
Fortunately, all these things are avoidable through regular grooming. Don’t wait until you see matted hair and smelly ears and overgrown nails bother your dog. Our dogs deserve pampering as much as we do, but more importantly, they also deserve tiptop preventive healthcare and attention.