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Grooming is an important part of a dog’s care. Since most dogs live indoors now, we want our dogs to be smelling good, have healthy skin, don’t bring in parasites and we like to keep shedding under control.

Our handlers at A Walk in the Park do a health check on all the dogs in our care every day, but often, skin conditions and bumps and lumps are only discovered during the grooming process.

There is a science to the grooming process. We use the right shampoo for the right coat. When bathing the dog, we wash away some of the sebum, the natural oils on the dog skin, that can hold dirt and dander. But use too harsh a shampoo and you leave the skin dry and vulnerable to allergens and irritants. We then apply conditioner to replenish some of the moisture back into the skin.

Drying is important. We use forced air dryers to dry, but to also remove undercoat and dander, and to straighten out the hair so it is in the right condition to be clipped. Using the forced air dryer can reduce the amount of brushing. Too much brushing can actually damage the hair leading to more tangles and mats.

How often you bathe and groom depends on your dog’s breed, their coat and their lifestyle. A dog that regularly runs through the mud, the brush and the burrs will likely need to be groomed more often. Dogs with a long coat should be groomed every 4 to 8 weeks. Our groomer can give you a recommendation and set up recurring appointments to keep your dog in the best shape.

Every time your dog gets groomed, he will have an experience that will affect how he feels about the grooming process. Dogs that haven’t been groomed and whose coats have become matted, will have an uncomfortable experience. It is difficult to get the mats out, as the groomer needs to try to detangle them or cut them out. Over time the dog can become intolerant of the grooming process. Even shaving the dog down, which sometimes is the only option, can be hard on both the dog and the groomer. Schedule regular grooms and keep the coat shorter, if it tends to get matted quickly.

Puppies need to be introduced to the grooming process. They need to be handled gently so they get used to it. Lots of rewards need to be given in order to create positive associations. We offer a puppy introduction package to get them slowly familiar with the grooming process. Call us at 419-208-9222 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Dirk Broersma