How important is grooming and hygiene for my dog's health?

It's really important. Not only does it make them look better and feel better, but it may undercover some medical conditions and it may prevent medical conditions from occurring.

Dr. Mary Beth Soverns
Countryside Veterinary Clinic

Do all dogs require grooming?

They all do. Here's an example of a little dog named Finn. He's a short-coated dog and still requires grooming. He's going to require brushing and nail trimming at times. And once in a while, you should look in his ears and clean those out and brush his teeth, too.

Do I need any special tools for these?

Yep. Gather a few things before you start, as you're going to need nail trimmers. These are industrial strength ones that we use here at Countryside Veterinary Clinic. We want the nail trimmers to cut the nails and not crush the nails so it would be not too painful or anything for your dog.

The second thing is you might need some ear cleaner on hand and a little bit of gauze. Look down in the ears, try to clean them out a little bit. Put a little bit of the cleaner on the ear and clean out both ears as needed.

And then third, you're going to want to have a great shampoo. This is aloe in oatmeal shampoo and has a great smell to it. Oatmeal shampoos help with itching and minor problems like that. This is a soap-free shampoo, so it's not going to be drying to the animal. You're always going to need some kind of brush.

Kiwi here is an example of a dog who had a long coat. She has a very long, fluffy, beautiful coat. She's going to need a lot of brushing to keep this coat from getting matted. And so you're going to need to have a good brush that you can count on. And then if you're going to brush their teeth, you'll need dog toothpaste and a toothbrush for them.

How does regular grooming contribute to my dog's health?

When you don't groom them, the coat can get very dirty. The skin can get clogged. Their coats can get matted. If you keep them properly trimmed the right length and keep all the undercoat out, the skin has a chance to breathe and become healthy and you're less likely to develop any bacterial infections. Grooming them is also a good time to look for fleas and ticks and make sure you're preventing those as well.

How soon should I start to groom my dog?

We usually ask you to go to a groomer about 12 or 16 weeks of age, and you could actually do a little groundwork before they even go to the groomer for the first time by touching their feet, touching their ears, and petting them a lot so they're used to being handled like that.

How often should my dog be groomed?

I think probably every dog, whether they're short-coated or long-coated, needs a good brushing, shampoo, and nail trim. A long-coated dog like Kiwi probably needs to be groomed every 8 to 12 weeks to keep their hair coat in great shape.

What dog grooming services does Countryside offer?

We actually do bathing and nail trimming. We'll clean their ears, but we don't actually do professional grooming and haircuts. We don't do that, but we can help you out in those other ways.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (410) 461-2400, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Grooming - FAQs

Dr. Mary Beth Soverns
Countryside Veterinary Clinic

Is there such a thing as bathing too often?

Not really, as long as you use a shampoo that's pH balanced for a dog. I believe you can bathe them just about as often as you need to, because some dogs play a lot outside. When they're puppies, some dogs soil themselves in their crates. You just give them a good bath and get them cleaned up.

Is it better to groom your dog at home or have a professional groomer do it?

I think if you have a short coated dog and they just need a good bath and their nails trimmed a little bit, that's certainly something that you can do at home. But when dogs really need their hair to be cut, it’s probably best left to groomers. They know how to do it safely. They know what the breed standards are and they are trained professionals on how to get it done so they can get it done quickly and your dog is happy to have that done.

Does my dog need to be vaccinated and on flea control to be groomed?

Great question. Yes. All the dogs should be current on their vaccinations for that area in Maryland or wherever you are. It's going to be distemper and rabies and bordatella and sometimes canine influenza.

And, yes, they absolutely need to be on flea and tick control as well. We don't want to spread any fleas from one dog to the next. And when groomers require that, then every dog can go into a grooming facility safely and come back cleaner and brighter than when they went in.

If my dog has behavior problems, will they be welcomed by the groomer?

Usually so. The groomers are professionals. They have managed a lot of different behavioral problems, whether the animal is just young and is new to getting groomed, whether they are maybe sensitive about their feet being touched, etc. Some of them are probably a little bit nervous and groomers are very used to that. And they're usually soft-spoken, they go slow, and they're gentle and they can get your dog groomed.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (410) 461-2400, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.