As pet parents, we should be caring for our pet’s wellbeing just as much as we do our own. When it comes to your dog's personal hygiene, ignorance is definitely NOT bliss… not for you, not for your dog, and certainly not for your groomer. Over the years, I’ve seen and heard it all. Here are some helpful tips from the grooming table that will help prepare you and your pet for their day at the “spa.”

BRUSH. BRUSH. BRUSH.

If I had a nickel for every time a client falsely told me “He’s not matted, I brushed him last night”, I would be retired on a beach, sipping coconut water and watching my dogs play in the ocean. It’s essential to brush your dog at least every other day. The goal is to prevent any knots or matts from forming by brushing them out before they get too big to do so. I have often compared matts in a dog's fur to getting gum stuck in our hair. Once the gum is there, it can only be removed by cutting it out! Similarly, when a dog’s fur becomes matted, your groomer is unable to do anything but cut them out. Unfortunately, because these matts are often so tight to the skin, your groomer is forced to shave your dog so close to his/her skin that there are many unnecessary risks of injury. This is not safe or comfortable for your dog and it’s most definitely not an enjoyable situation for your groomer. The great news is that it is completely avoidable! The only way to prevent these types of injuries for your dog is to BRUSH, BRUSH, BRUSH! Don’t let those matts form and your dog and groomer will both have a much more pleasant and enjoyable experience!

There are many types of brushes for different coat types. Here’s a quick guide to choosing the right brush for your dog.

Slicker Brushes: Slicker brushes have fine, curved wires close together on a flat surface. These are used for dogs whose fur continues to grow, until it is trimmed.

Undercoat Rakes: Smooth rounded teeth that are gentle on your dog’s skin. The go-to for any natural haired dog that is prone to shedding seasonally or all year round. These brushes will help to remove their undercoat while keeping the guard hairs healthy and intact.

Get on a Grooming Schedule

Bring your dog to be groomed every 4-6 weeks. There are a lot of people who feel grooming their dogs 2-4 times a year is adequate. I would strongly encourage all pet parents to reconsider this and bring their dogs to be groomed as often as once a month. Think of how YOUR hair would look and smell if you didn’t wash or brush it for a week or a month? Even worse, what would your ears and eyes look like if you only cleaned them every 3 or 4 months? Don’t get me started on how our skin and nails would look and smell if we only washed them twice a year, yuck!! Your dog’s coat needs just as much maintenance as our hair to keep it looking its best. By bringing your dog to be groomed monthly, it ensures that your dog’s coat, skin, ears, eyes, nails, etc. will be well looked after before problems arise. Maintenance is key to avoid hygiene issues that often run the risk of turning into unnecessary and expensive health problems.

Prepping for their Groomer

I think all groomers would agree upon one thing that would make us happiest. Nothing would make us appreciate our clients more than if pet parents took a couple extra minutes before their dog’s grooming appointment to take their dogs for a bathroom break. Yes… believe it or not, your dog will pee and even worse poo on themselves and us if they can’t hold it! Can you imagine the tip you would feel obligated to leave your hairdresser if you “relieved yourself” while they were putting in your highlights? Fortunately, dogs don’t experience social shame or embarrassment for doing this but believe me… it’s no picnic! It may only be a few minutes of your time but it will save your groomer the extra 30 minutes it takes to re-wash your dog. The appreciation you will get from your groomer is priceless.

With these 3 helpful tips, you’ll become more aware of how to maintain your dog’s personal hygiene so that he/she isn’t the “stinky dog” on the block, but the dog who rocks the sidewalk runways!


@thevegangroomer, Jeanine Trabucco is a Toronto based groomer specializing in personalized and stylized trims that bring out your dog’s unique personality.