Dog grooming is the act of cleaning a dog's coat and external organs both for the sake of appearance and for the animal's health and hygiene. It is the responsibility of all pet owners to carry out basic grooming such as brushing, combing and the occasional bath, to the extent that the dog needs it. Some dogs have special grooming needs and owners must learn to take care of these themselves, or seek the help of a professional dog groomer. Neglecting dogs' grooming may lead to conditions that require the services of a veterinarian.
Some dog breeds are traditionally "shown" with a specific appearance that requires specialised grooming, other breed standards mandate that the dog must be shown in its natural state (the dog may be bathed and tidied, but nothing else).
Basic dog grooming
Dogs are descended from wolves, and they instinctively keep themselves clean, although a dog's idea of what is hygienic and a human's often diffe. Dogs wipe their eyes, they scratch away foreign material in their coats, they may immerse themselves in water if its available to help rid themselves of pests. Still, because dogs do not have human knowledge or dexterity, most dogs need some help from their humans including periodic brushing, examination to make sure they haven't picked up any foreign bodies or parasites, and the occasional bath. Some items that have to be removed by human intervention are:
- burrs and bits of twig, seeds and grass int he coat
- mud, faeces and other forms of dirt
- parasites, including fleas and ticks
- mucous and dried on deposits around the eyes
Most dogs wear down their toenails naturally, but some lightweight dogs and those that do not run on hard surfaces need toenail clipping. This can be done using a special clipper, but squeamish owners should have it done by a professional. Most vets will clip nails as part of the dog's annual examination if requested.
Many dogs maintain good oral health by chewing on raw or manufactured bones, but some finicky animals and those who weren't given bones early enough in life may refuse them. These dogs may have their teeth cleaned by periodic brushing, or may need a professional cleaning by a vet, this requires anesthesia.
Dog breeds requiring specialised or professional grooming
Breeds with special grooming needs include:
- Afghan Hound
- Fox Terrier - (wire-haired)
- Jack Russel Terrier - (rough-coated)
- Maltese Terrier
- Portuguese Water Dog
Specialised dog grooming
- coat clipping
- hand stripping
- hair rolling
- dental care
- toenail clipping
Due to selective breeding, the coats of some dog breeds have evolved to where they require specialised grooming out of necessity (as where the coat is long and prone to knotting or tangling) or out of convention, such as Wire-haired Fox Terriers or for the show clips of Poodles.