6 Myths About Dog Grooming

Regular grooming does more than just keep your dog clean and looking good.

Grooming can help prevent matting, reveal potential problems—from skin issues to lumps—and keep your dog feeling comfortable.

Myth #1: Some Dogs Don’t Shed

All dogs shed, although just how much depends on their coat type, according to Tracey Ditto, Groomer and Host of DIY Puppy Grooming Classes at Dogtopia in Waco, Texas.

“There are several breeds considered non-shedding or low-shedding—these are breeds that do not have an undercoat such as a Maltese, Poodles, and Yorkies,” says Ditto. “Although they may still lose a few strands here and there, they do not have an undercoat that is shed as the temperature changes throughout the year.” This makes them a popular choice among dog owners who are allergic or who don’t want to worry about having to vacuum their home four times a day during shedding season.

Myth #2: Low-Shedding Dogs Don’t Need to Be Brushed

Brushing is not just about removing loose hair—regular brushing has benefits for all dogs.

“The type of coat will affect how you brush and what tools you use,” says Ditto. “A double-coated dog such as a Golden Retriever or Husky should be brushed with a pin brush or slicker to remove any excess undercoat; for dogs with an excessive amount of undercoat, you may need an additional tool such as a rake-type brush to remove all the shedding coat.”

Low shedding dogs with hair instead of fur, like the Maltese, need regular brushing with a slicker brush and a comb to prevent tangles and mats, which can be painful and lead to skin irritation, explains Ditto. “Short-haired dogs like Pointers or Bulldogs will benefit from regular brushing with a curry or rubber brush to remove old hair and keep the coat looking shiny and healthy.”

Myth #3: Short-Haired Dogs Don’t Need Grooming Either

Short-haired dogs need grooming in the form of nail trimming, ear cleaning and occasional baths, explains Ditto. “They also benefit from light brushing to remove shedding fur and evenly distribute the natural oils in their coat.”

Myth #4: Grooming Can Replace Baths (or vice versa)

The truth is that both grooming and baths are important. “Brushing is important for all kinds of dogs because it helps remove dead hair, dirt and dandruff,” says Laurel Birmingham, Director of Veterinary Health at the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA. “Bathing helps keep parasites off of your dog as well as helps you spot any lumps or bumps that may not be obvious under dry hair; and, of course, bathing helps with odor.”

Myth #5: You Can Use Human Shampoo

Human shampoo is not formulated for a dog’s skin and can affect the pH balance of their skin, according to Birmingham. “Even using human shampoo once can cause your dog to develop flaky, dry skin and rashes or bacterial skin infections,” Birmingham says. “There are many safe dog shampoos available that are specifically formulated with your dog’s delicate skin in mind.”

Myth #6: Dogs Don’t Need Grooming in Winter

Year-round grooming for dogs is very important, particularly in long-haired breeds or those who have thick undercoats, says Birmingham. “Winter brings snow, rain and mud, which can spell disaster for your dog’s fur, with matting and tangles galore,” Birmingham explains. Keeping up with grooming throughout winter will mean a much easier transition into spring and summer.

Meet the Author: Diana Bocco

Diana Bocco is a full-time writer and avid adventurer. She's gone hiking in Siberia,snorkeling in Thailand, and canoeing in the Mekong River. She also loves caves and has been known to get lost in one or five around the world. Diana's work has been published in the Discovery Channel website, Yahoo!, Popular Mechanics, and more. You can read more of her work on her website at www.dianabocco.com

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