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At-home grooming tips for the holiday season

Most groomers take a well-deserved break over Christmas and New Year’s. But our dog’s coats don’t stop shedding or getting dirty.

We asked our Grooming Ambassador Wendy Drummond to share her top tips for grooming your dog in between appointments over the summer.

Wendy is a NZ Certified Master Groomer, NZ Groomteam member, international award-winning groomer, examiner and certifier of Groomwise Academy, and founder and administrator of NZDG, New Zealand’s largest groomers-only Facebook group. Wendy founded Groomwise Academy in early 2020 – Rotorua’s first grooming academy for local and international groomers to hone their skills and reach an elite standard of grooming.

1) Don’t wait, book your next appointment now.

Wendy’s top tip is to book your appointment for the new year now and ensure you stick to it. Otherwise, you risk the gap between appointments getting too long. The longer you leave it the greater the chances of irritation, unruly nails, and mats and tangles.

2) Brush your dog properly and regularly.

A lot of owners get scared that their dog will bite them, or they’ve already been bitten when they’ve tried to brush their dog’s coat. That’s why it’s important you handle your dog properly.

Regular brushing helps remove dead hair, dirt and dandruff and release the natural oils in your dog’s fur or coat. As you brush, the natural oils spread across your dog’s fur, leaving their coat healthy and feeling good.

If you have a double-coated dog, brushing and combing is vital to remove dead hair that can interfere with airflow – which they need to keep cool over summer and warm in winter. Brushing removes hairs before they fall on the floor and promotes new hair growth.

3) Use a table to brush your dog – not your lap or the couch.

The couch or your lap is for love, not grooming your dog. When you put your dog on a safe and sturdy table, it helps your dog recognise it is groom time not cuddle time. They associate the table with the groomers. It’s also easier to handle your dog this way and do a good job of brushing them thoroughly. Not to mention, a table is easier on your back!

4) Always use conditioner.

As shampoo removes all the natural oils, always follow up with conditioner. Massage the conditioner and leave it for the required time. Too often, itchy skin is a result of not using conditioner.

5) Don’t cut your dog’s nails yourself.

It’s too easy for owners to accidentally nick the blood supply and can bleed profusely. It’s hard to stop the bleed and, before you know it, you have a very stressed dog and blood on your carpet and furniture. While it’s important that you don’t let your dog’s nails get too long, leave nail clipping to the professionals.

6) Dogs will tolerate grooming when done regularly and introduced early.

Bathing and grooming can be an opportunity to bond with your dog and check for any issues. But for them, it’s not like how we feel when we’re at the hairdressers or getting our nails done. Most dogs will tolerate grooming when introduced early and kept regular. Having that in the back of your mind can help you be more patient with your dog if they are hesitant about being brushed or getting in the bath.

7) Your dog will pick up on your mood – don’t groom when you’re feeling stressed or anxious.

If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, your dog will pick up on this. If you’re not in a good mood, centre yourself first and leave washing or brushing your dog to times when you’re feeling calm and happy. This will make the experience much more tolerable for you and your dog.

8) Rinse and dry coats thoroughly.

It’s vital you rinse off all shampoo and conditioner. Follow-up by drying coats thoroughly.

If you have a big double-coated dog, towel drying is unlikely to be enough. What can happen is their coat will still be damp underneath, which can cause hotspots, skin irritations and fungus. Wendy recommends investing in a high velocity dryer if your dog will tolerate this.

Again, it’s also essential you brush double coated breeds properly.

9) Keep your dog healthy inside and out.

As well as a lovely looking dog, the main goal for grooming is our dogs enjoy healthy skin and coats, free from irritation and issues. Grooming improves their quality of life.

As well as coat and skin care, keep your dog healthy inside and out with the right diet, plenty of water and keep them sun-safe.

Grooming is a great opportunity to check your dog for ticks, fleas and dry patches, or problems with their nails, teeth, ears, and eyes such as infection or inflammation. If discovered early, these problems can be treated straightaway before they have a chance to develop into something more serious.

10) Remember elderly dogs can’t stand for too long.

If you have an older dog, they may find it uncomfortable to stand for long periods due to arthritis, back or hip issues. It’s a good idea to use a nonslip mat on the table and let them stay in a position that’s comfortable for them – like sitting or lying down.

Take care of your dog’s skin and coat at home with luxurious, naturally effective products

To promote and improve healthy skin, coat and general health year-round, your dog will benefit from the smith&burton Canine Collection – the very same collection Wendy Drummond trusts and uses in her grooming salon.

We invite you to browse the smith&burton Canine Collection here.