Home Grooming Tips
Long Haired dogs such as Westies, Shih Tzu's, Bichon Frise, Spaniels, Yorkshire Terriers etc.
  • Invest in a Slicker Brush and a Good quality steel narrow-toothed comb
  • Always, Always, Always comb your dogs coat through in conjunction with the slicker brush
  • The Slicker brush is great for opening up hair strands and fluffing out the coats texture
  • The comb will do what the slicker brush can't do - pick up any matts or tangles starting in the coat
  • Salmon Oil and Cod Liver Oil supplements are great for a glossy and healthy coat and nails
  • Always brush your dog BEFORE and after you wash them, as water will only tighten and knot any pre-existing tangles!
  • Always use a dog shampoo and conditioner - human shampoos can be too abrasive and can strip your pets hair of its natural oils
  • Try to limit bathing your pet to once a month if possible. Pets can be washed more regular than this if necessary, but you will need to use more intense conditioners to prevent drying out the coat - please ask me for advice if you're not sure about this!
  • The frequency of how often you need to brush and comb depends on the breed, as a rule of thumb I never let more than 2 days go without a full and thorough brush/comb out, which for a Shih Tzu for example, takes approximately 15 mins.

Special Note for Bichon Frise Owners: Grooming your Bichon is not only a way to connect with your best friend, but a way to keep your dog healthy and happy, to see if there are any health problems, such as lumps which may be a cause for concern, little cuts that could have been caused by running through the shrubs, ticks or fleas which can be a health concern, and matts and tangles, which are uncomfortable for your dog.

The Bichon Frisé has a dense curly coat and it is considered non shedding. Many breeders would have owners believe that this makes the breed low maintenance when it comes to grooming. This could not be further from the truth. Bichons are high maintenance dogs. Not everyone wants their pet to look like a show dog, or indeed have time to groom their dogs to this level. But your dog needs you to groom his coat on a regular basis. Regular professional grooming is necessary every 4-6 weeks along with grooming at home, at least three times per week.

There are a few simple steps you can take to keep your Bichon in good condition. You will need a soft or firm slicker brush and a medium comb.

Start brushing your dog at its feet, usually the hind legs first, work up in an orderly manner, line by line, so you can see the skin clearly under the hair you have just brushed. Make sure not to brush too hard as this can cause brush burn. If you cannot see the skin after brushing, it means that the coat is still matted underneath & it is necessary to re-brush this area to remove the matting. When you have completed the dog, go over your pet once again with the comb. This way, if you have missed any tangles, you will be sure to find them with the comb.

The areas that get tangles the easiest are: under the front legs, in front of the back legs (flank area), around the neck, under the ears, the cheek area on the face and under the back legs. This is due to friction, when you have a collar or harness on your dog, when your dog is walking and getting up and down, and when he has the odd scratch, particularly if his ears are bothering him.

Regularly check your dog’s teeth for Tartar; this is simply done by lifting the lips and looking at your dogs teeth. They should not have Tartar on them and should be cleaned, if necessary scaled by a Veterinary surgeon. A good diet is necessary for your dog’s health and for its teeth. Bad breath can also be a sign that your dog’s teeth need attention.

Your dog’s nails should be trimmed once a month. You can take your dog to your Vet or groomer. You can also do this yourself; ask your vet or groomer to show you how to clip your dog’s nails the correct way. If you do not feel confident about doing this, please leave it to the professionals.

Ears need to be plucked to keep excess hair out of the ear canal, this can easily be done with a little powder on your fingers, gently pull small amounts of hair out of your dogs ears. The ears should be clean and pink and not smell or have thick black wax in the ear.

Some dogs need their anal glands expressed. If you do not know how to do this, again go to your groomer or Veterinary surgeon. The usual sign that the glands need to be expressed is the dog scooting its bottom along the ground.

Bathing your dog will wash the accumulated grit, mud and oil out of your dog’s coat. Too much bathing or not rinsing shampoo out completely can sometimes cause irritation to your dog’s skin. Please remember to brush your dog’s coat completely removing all matts before bathing. If this is not done, matts will tighten as they air-dry and compound the problem. If you would like to blow dry your dog, please ask your groomer to give you a demonstration. Your groomer can also advise you on the most appropriate shampoos and conditioners for your dog’s coat.

Sometimes your dog’s coat might get a little out of hand. You will need to bring your dog to your groomer and get the coat either groomed out or clipped short. This may seem drastic but remember, it is hair and will grow back. The main thing is to remember, your dog cannot groom its self, unlike cats, and therefore it needs your assistance to keep the coat in tiptop condition.

We know this can be a hard task sometimes due to other commitments such as work, children and home, but think of the love your pet gives to you and asks nothing in return. Please groom your dog, for its comfort and health.

If you need any demonstrations, please feel free to ask Denise when making your appointment and she will allow some extra time to run through home maintenance with you!

Short Haired Dogs such as Labradors, Jack Russells, Beagles, Corgis etc.
  • If shedding is a noticable problem for you and your furniture seems to be wearing most of your pet - you need to invest in a Furminator. This is available from most good pet stores and averages around €30. This is the only brush you will need and it immediately removes the dead undercoat which finds its way onto your sofa! I would be happy to demonstrate this for you, when brushing is done correctly at the correct pressure it will save you time at home!
Long Heavy Double-Coated Dogs such as Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands, St. Bernards, Collies etc.
  • Invest in an undercoat rake and a firm slicker brush. Use both of these, one in each hand when brushing, and pay special attention to back of rear legs, as this is an area commonly matted in these types of coats!
  • If shedding is a noticable problem (though dogs that are groomed when needed every 2-3 months will usually have this work done at a groom), you will need to invest in a "Furminator". This de-shedding tools lifts out the dead undercoat which is packing your pets coat and affecting the texture of the hair and how it sits on the body.