Grooming is a vital part in the well-being and healthiness of a dog which can improve their lifespan. All breeds require daily grooming. How much depends on the breed, age, or health of the pet. Regular grooming helps to ensure the dog is healthy and comfortable. It is important to note that while many dogs shed, others (such as the Poodle), do not shed (see Moult) as profusely, and require grooming by a professional every 6–8 weeks maximum.
The main reasons for daily grooming include:
decreased chance of various health problems, such as thrush, scratches, and other skin problems
general cleanliness of the dog
monitoring of the dog's health by checking for cuts, heat, swelling, lameness, or changes in temperament, all of which could be indicative of illness
forging of a closer bond between dog and owner
reducing infestation load of external parasites on skin.
Dogs can be bathed by being sprayed with a hand-held shower head, or doused with water from a bucket. Often, one bath will not make a dog truly clean. A second bath is excellent to ensure the entire body has been cleaned. Dogs should be bathed with warm, not hot water, in order to make it a more enjoyable experience. Dogs with a heavy or matted coat should never be bathed without first being completely brushed out or clipped of any mats.
Many types of shampoos and conditioners formulated for dogs are available; however, using a shampoo without mixing it with water may be a bit strong for a dog that's just getting a touch-up bath. If the dog needs a bath, shampoo should be mixed with cold or hand-warm water in the manufacturers recommended ratio to make it easier on the dog and to make sure it rinses entirely. If any shampoo remains on the dog after the bath, it may become irritating to the skin. Most dogs do not require frequent bathing; shampooing a coat too often can strip the coat of its natural oils, causing it to dry out.
The coats of many breeds require trimming, cutting, or other attention. Styles vary by breed and discipline. While some hair removal has its origins in practical purposes, much is based on the taste of the owner, whether or not the dog will be shown, and what work the dog does.
A six-month-old Lhasa Apso before and after a visit to a professional groomer.
The rubber grooming gloves and dog brushes are intended to drag loose hair from the short-coated dogs and are some of the most popular grooming tools amongst pet owners. They are easy to use, as using them basically means massaging the coat in firm strokes and have the advantage of being suitable for both wet and dry coats.
Some breeds of dog, such as the Lhasa Apso, do not shed fur but have hair that grows constantly. As such, the fur around the legs and belly can get very long and become matted and the hair around the eyes can impair the dog's vision. In such circumstances, hair trimming can be performed to keep the eyes clear of fur and keep the main body free of knots. However, some owners prefer breeds, such as the Lhasa, to have long, flowing coats that reach down to the floor and will undertake a greater brushing regime than is required for a dog that has its fur kept shorter.
Deshedding is the process of pulling the dead hair out of the coat of a non-shedding dog, either by using a deshedding comb. A hard, wiry coat has a cycle where it starts growing and then sheds as it reaches maximum length. Deshedding coordinates the shedding and makes room for a new coat to grow. Deshedding is the proper grooming method for most terriers, spaniels, and many other breeds. The hair is removed with a deshedding comb, with the top coat removed to reveal the dense, soft undercoat. If done correctly, the procedure is painless. Many dogs are reported to enjoy having their hair deshedding, especially when they are introduced to it as puppies.
Nail trimming is essential for maintaining good health. If a dog's nails are allowed to grow, they will curl over into a spiral shape; walking will become increasingly painful to the dog as they grow, putting pressure on the dogs toes (a bit like walking in shoes that are too small). Uncut nails may curl so far that they pierce the paw pad, leading to infection and debilitating pain. If one does not trim a dog's nails on a monthly basis the quick will grow along with the nail, making it nearly impossible to cut properly. Owners may choose to trim nails themselves or may opt to take their pet to a groomer or veterinarian.
Nail trimming is done with a nail clipper. There are two main types of nail clippers, the guillotine clipper and the standard scissors nail clipper.
Additional options that some groomers provide include services such as coloring dogs' fur and painting dogs' nails.
While traditional grooming achieves to conform with breed standards set by the official breed associations, creative grooming heads to the opposite direction, creating a unique, sometimes exquisite look.
The lighter version of creative grooming is known as pet tuning and is more owner-oriented, adjusting the pets' visual appearance to their owners' amusement or life style, while the creative grooming is more of an art form, therefore more artist (groomer) oriented.