Simply put, dog grooming is the process of cleaning and maintaining a dog's hygiene and physical appearance. It includes a lot of things and can quickly become overwhelming for dog parents if they do not know what to pay attention to.
The most asked question about dog grooming seems to be 'how often should you groom your dog?'
There is no straight answer to this — it depends on many factors. Depending on your dog's breed, living conditions, and your financial limitations, their grooming schedules and needs will vary.
We can all agree that dog parents are busy people. They do not have a lot of time to plan everything regarding their pets.
Therefore, some basic guidelines go a long way in making both their and their dogs' lives much easier.
In this blog, we plan on giving you exactly that — a basic guideline for dog grooming based on many factors.
By the end of this post, you should be well informed on determining your dog grooming needs and fixing schedules, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned dog owner.
Benefits of Dog Grooming
Before we dive into the how-to, let's know why it is actually worth grooming your dog. A few benefits of dog grooming are:
- Prevent skin irritation
- Prevent bad smell
- Prevent painful hair matting
- Remove dead and damaged hair
- Remove dead skin
- Promote new hair growth
- Distribute natural oils in the coat
- Detect rashes and skin issues
- Reduce nail-related issues like split, torn, or curling nails
- Prevent ear mites and fleas
- Prevent teeth and gum-related diseases
But the benefits don't just stop at your dog. You, a human, too, can have a few benefits from grooming your dog regularly:
- Reduced house cleaning
- Reduced allergies
- Reduced dog medical costs
- Increased bonding with your pups
How Often Should You Groom Your Dog? Approaches and Factors
There are a few approaches to dog grooming. Many dog parents groom their dogs based on their breed's fur/coat or their own needs/preferences.
Further, they also consider the environment they live in and how quickly their dogs get dirty.
Here, we will discuss all these approaches and factors.
Coat-Specific Approach to Dog Grooming
Different breeds of dogs have different coat types. Some have shorter furs, some have long hair, some have single coats, and others are double-coated.
Similarly, a few breeds have wiry and wavy fur, while others have thick undercoats.
All these kinds require different grooming approaches and intervals.
How Often to Groom Short-Haired Dogs?
Short-haired or short-coated dogs include breeds like Beagle, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, Welsh Corgi, Jack Russell Terrier, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Great Dane, Greyhound, Rottweiler, etc. These dogs can have either a single undercoat or double undercoats.
You should be okay with brushing and de-shedding short-haired dogs with single undercoats twice a week. As for short-haired dogs with double undercoats, you should brush them every other day.
These dogs do not shed as much and also rarely get matted. Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to brush them to distribute the natural oil produced by their body.
Now let's talk about bathing.
Short-haired dogs do not need frequent bathing, either. Once a month (or when they start to stink) is enough.
As they have shorter fur, over-grooming or over-bathing can cause skin issues.
How Often to Groom Long-Haired Dogs?
Dogs like these require more frequent and careful brushing. In short, you would do well to brush them every day.
An Australian Shephard
Further, if you keep your dog's hair long or have less frequent visits to the groomer, brush them twice a day to keep their fur untangled.
As for bathing, 4-6 weeks is a reasonable interval to give them baths. Also, a haircut every 8-12 weeks goes a long way in keeping their skin and fur health great.
How Often to Groom Dogs with Silky Coats?
Dogs with silky coats are breeds like Cocker Spaniel, Silky Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, Afghan Hound, etc. These dogs have little to no undercoat and oilier skin.
Therefore, brushing and combing their fur twice a day will help keep them flowing freely and prevent matting.
Also, we recommend you take them to a professional groomer for haircuts every 4-8 weeks, so your pup keeps looking amazing.
You should bathe these dogs more frequently because they have no undercoats and oilier skin. A bath once a month should be good.
Many professional dog groomers also recommend adding some baking soda to the bath water to balance the pH if you're giving them a bath at home.
How Often to Groom Curly-Haired and Wavy-Haired Dogs?
These might be the dogs with the most care needed of any breed. Curly-haired and wavy-haired dogs include breeds like Miniature and Standard Poodle, Bichon Frise, Bedlington Terrier, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, designer Poodle mixes, etc.
These dogs have the highest risk of matting and thus require more frequent brushing. The best practice is to brush them at least three times a day.
For haircuts, groomers recommend keeping the hair at a maximum of two inches. Any longer and the matting can become a big problem.
Similarly, you need to bathe these dogs once a month to maintain skin health.
How Often to Groom Wiry-Haired Dogs?
Wiry-haired dogs like Miniature and Giant Schnauzers, Border Terrier, Wire-haired Jack Russell, and Wire-haired Fox Terrier have bristly and thick coats.
They do not shed much, so brushing them three times a week could be enough. They also have fewer risks of matting.
This, however, does not mean you should ignore your brushing duties as their coats can still matt, and because their fur is shorter, the matting is especially painful.
As for haircuts, you might be okay taking them for a haircut every two months.
And finally, their bathing needs, too, are infrequent. Bathing them once every 1-2 months should be fine.
Overbathing is an issue with wiry-haired dogs as their coats are brittle and dry out quickly. Try to get professional help when bathing these dogs if possible.
How Often to Groom Brachycephalic Dogs?
Brachycephalic dogs refer to puppers with short, broad skulls and snort snout. Many breeds, like Pug, English and French Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Pekingese, etc., have these characteristics.
Among these, dogs with shorter fur need less grooming and bathing and dogs with longer hair need more frequent tending.
As brachycephalic dogs have skin folds on their face, while bathing them, these folds and the region underneath them should be cleaned.
Therefore, it would be better to seek professional help when bathing these breeds.
Other Factors Affecting Dog Grooming
Other than the dog's coat type, other factors like allergies, environment, and finances, too, affect a dog's grooming requirements. A few of these are discussed here:
When we talk about allergies, we are talking about allergies both you and your dog can have.
Dog parents can be allergic to dust, fur, and dander from the dog's skin. So, if you have these allergies or any other health complication caused by dog shedding, you should have your dog groomed and bathed frequently.
We recommend taking your dog to a professional dog groomer instead of doing it yourself to further reduce allergy risks.
As for dogs, they, too, can be allergic to shampoos used while bathing them. Similarly, brachycephalic dogs might have difficulty breathing if they are not groomed for long.
Environmental factors like the place dogs live (inside the house or outside, city or rural areas), their crates, their outside surroundings (muddy, dusty), and how vigilant dog parents are about their cleanliness all affect a dog's grooming requirements.
Also, working, herding, and outgoing dogs like Australian Shephard and German Shephard, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and Terriers, might get dirty more frequently than toy or miniature, less active breeds.
Dogs shed more during certain seasons. Generally speaking, spring and fall are the two seasons they shed the most.
Therefore, you might have to increase visits to the vet during these times of the year.
Your Finances and Budget
Not all of us who have and love dogs can afford professional dog grooming help often. So many a time, we might have to make do at home.
But this does not mean you cannot keep your dog clean, healthy, and looking great at home. Regular brushing and bathing can go a long way in keeping those visits to the vet few and far between.
You can also try to strike a deal with your local dog groomer, so you get services a bit cheaper in return for being a regular customer. Also, keep an eye out for offers and coupons these services give out sometimes.
Other Grooming and Cleaning Requirements
While many seem to forget, cleaning eyes, ears, teeth, and nails also falls under dog grooming. These are often ignored but are as important as cleaning dogs' coats.
How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Eyes?
There is no recommended frequency for cleaning your dog's eyes, but you should clean them as often as possible. At least once a week is mandatory to stop mucus and bacteria buildup around their eyes.
Use a soft tissue or wipes to do this.
How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Ears?
Like eyes, you should clean your dog's ears at least once a week. Use wipes specifically designed for dog ears for this.
Remove ear wax and other dirt inside the ear canal without hurting your dog. If you think the waste buildup is too much, seek professional help.
How Often Should You Brush Your Dog’s Teeth?
Brushing teeth might just be the most ignored aspect of dog grooming. But keeping an eye on your dog's oral health is vital for dental and digestive health.
You should brush your dog's teeth at least three times a week. Even better if you can do it once a day.
If you are busy and cannot do this often, you can consider giving them edible dog chews (like our Tibetan Dog Chews). These, too, can control plaque and tartar buildup.
How Often Should You Trim Your Dog’s Nails?
Long nails can cause issues in walking, pain in nerve endings, or even infections. So, nail trimming is crucial for dogs.
You should generally trim your dog's nails every month or so. However, this is only general advice.
Suppose your dog often walks on pavements and rough surfaces, digs, and does a lot of physical exercises. In that case, their nails keep grinding and thus remain shorter for longer.
Tips for Dog Grooming - A Summary
Here are some general tips for dog grooming based on what we discussed above:
- Brush your dog's coat every day if possible, and if not, at least three to four times a week
- Bathe your dog once every month
- Give your dog a haircut every one and a half months if they have longer fur
- Always use made-for-dogs and hypoallergenic shampoo if you are bathing your dog at home
- Consult your vet or a professional groomer for grooming practices if your dog has allergies, other health complications, or specific needs
- Do not forget to clean their eyes and ears, brush their teeth and trim their nails
- When cleaning your dog's eyes and ears, only use vet-approved cleaning agents and methods
- Brush your dog's teeth as often as possible to stop plaque and tartar buildup
- Know that regular grooming at home will probably save you money in the long run
- Fix a dog grooming schedule that meets both your and your dog's requirements
Dog grooming is a crucial part of dog parenting. It can help improve both your and your dog's physical and mental health.
Neglecting only a few factors mentioned above can cost you dearly, both in terms of finances and health. Therefore, we recommend paying enough attention to your dog's grooming needs.