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Does your dog look his best?

By Pet-Points

All dogs benefit from regular grooming - some more so than others depending on their breed and hair length. However it can be time-consuming for their owners and confusion abounds around the best way to do it - as there is little advice given on the grooming needs and techniques for dogs. Sadly one result of this confusion can be that dogs are given up for re-homing, as owners find the task too arduous - and dogs start to experience associated problems from a lack of this essential care.

Why should you groom your dog?
Grooming your dog`s hair will prevent hair matts - which might snag and cause pain, potentially leading to wounds or painful spots if left untreated. If you groom your pet regularly, he will also be more likely to avoid complaints such as shedding, itchy skin, bad breath and a strong and unpleasant body odour. A regularly groomed pet will also spend less time licking himself - which again helps avoid strong odour within the home. The time spent grooming can also help the owner pick out any other potential problems such as cuts, sores, rashes, fleas or ticks, which might otherwise be unnoticed without close inspection.

Additionally, proper grooming also has mental benefits for your dog, as it helps to build the bond between owner and pet. In the wild, packs of wild dogs and wolves regularly groom each other as part of pack social behaviour, and it has strong effects on their day to day interaction and behaviour.

How to groom
It should be a pleasant experience for both the owner and the dog - and build affection whilst showing your pet the attention they crave! Start when your pet is a puppy by gently and softly running a soft brush all over his body - including his ears and under their tail, and gently increasing pressure over time until he is happy to be brushed properly.

Tips on keeping your dog`s coat healthy A shiny and glossy coat on a dog is a sign of health and vitality and indicates that it is getting a good balanced diet. Like humans, dogs need a good mix of protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals. Adding fish oils to your pet`s diet will give him essential fatty acids which will help promote a healthy coat - these Omega 3 acids aren`t always found in cheaper brands of dog food, but they are essential for your dog`s good health. Avoid giving your pet too many junk scraps too - if he eats poor quality food it will show quickly in his coat and weight, in the same way as poor diet does with people! You might also want to consider dog clothing to keep your pet warm in the colder months - an extra layer of warmth will help him getting chill and promote health.

Selecting breeds
It`s worth remembering that long haired dogs will need far more grooming than their short haired counterparts! Long haired dogs in general will mean more cleaning within your home as they shed and attract more dirt. You might wish to consider either employing the regular services of a professional to keep your pet in tip top condition - or choose a short haired dog. A good dog breeder will be able to advise you on the breeds which will suit you and your family best - and they can also help you consider other aspects such as allergies and general ease of care when you are making your decision.

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