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

Grooming and hygiene for your dog are essential. Dogs generally groom themselves every day, and it can be an indicator of good health, as well as when they're not grooming themselves, maybe there's something that we need to be looking for on your veterinarian's end in terms of your pet's overall health that might be the reason why they're not grooming as much anymore. But it also helps with their hygiene. And there are things that we as dog owners need to do to help with their hygiene. And sometimes it's as simple as bathing them once a month. Dogs' skin goes through a turnover cycle about every 21 days. And so it's recommended that they get bathed at least once a month. And if you have a dog that's not hypoallergenic or does shed, believe it or not, brushing them out more can help reduce their shedding because we're getting all that loose hair off that has gone through its life cycle. The dog's body's trying to shed and release, and it helps reduce the little tumbleweed dust bunnies that run around everybody's house.

Dr. Cara Hill
Advanced Animal Care - Berea

Do all dogs require grooming?

Not all dogs require a visit to a professional groomer, but all dogs require home grooming in regular bathing and brushing. So I have a short-haired dog that doesn't go to the groomer, except maybe once a year when I get her undercoat blown out. But I do have a little dog - a Pomeranian Poodle mix - and his hair grows incredibly long, and so he goes to the groomer about every six to eight weeks to get his haircut.

How does regular grooming contribute to good health in dogs?

Regular grooming in dogs is a significant indicator of skin health, and it does help maintain that skin. The skin is the largest organ of the body, and, of course, it's our barrier to a lot of stuff, pollens and allergens and insect bites, and things like that. And so we want to ensure that we're taking excellent care of it. And as I said, monthly bathing is great. I love using this Dermalyte shampoo by Dechra. It is an easy shampoo on their skin. It smells great, but it helps restore that skin to being the good natural barrier. And sometimes we recommend some supplements here too, like Omega-three fatty acids. So I've got two different forms of those here, and they can help reduce shedding quite a bit, too.

How should I start to groom my dog?

So the best time to start is as soon as you get your dog and a lot of times with puppies; when they're in here in the clinic, we're messing with their feet constantly. And the reason we do that and why we love to mess with their feet is so that they become more comfortable with us touching their feet for things like nail trims. If you've got a long-haired dog, getting them used to being brushed when they're a puppy is vital because we have run into some situations where a dog isn't brushed regularly. When the owner does try to brush them because they do notice some matting of the hair coat or things like that, the dog gets nippy or snippy about being brushed.

The best thing to do is start introducing them to all of that when they're little. Even sometimes, too, if you get a dog that you feel will need to go to a professional groomer regularly, you should call that groomer and talk to them about their recommendations to make the experience positive for years to come.

What dog grooming services does Advanced Animal Care, Berea offer?

We do a ton of nail trims here. When clients come in for their dog's annual wellness exams, they often ask for a nail trim as well, and we are so happy to do that for you guys. So that would probably be our top grooming service, but we also offer bathing. Many times, we do it for a medicated bath or things like that. And then we do what I call medical or functional haircuts. And so we're not groomers here, but some dogs come in, and they need a little bit of help, and they can't get to a groomer, or maybe they need some treatment because we've noticed some sores or things like that. So we'll do some functional haircuts or medical shave downs, and some dogs get stressed too. And so sometimes they need a little bit of sedation to take off that stress and anxiety.

Some owners like to have that professional haircut done, but their dog gets a little too stressed at the groomers. So I have a groomer that I work with. She works out of Lexington, and she will come down to the clinic and do sedated grooms for us.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 985-5678, 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. Cara Hill
Advanced Animal Care - Berea

Is there such a thing as bathing a dog too often?

Yes, there is such a thing as a dog that's bathing too often. It's dependent on what kind of shampoo you're using. Some dog shampoos are safe to use on your pet and bathe them every day. Sometimes we recommend a medicated shampoo for your dog, and we may have you bathe your pet every other day for a period of time. But if you're using human shampoos or Dawn dish soap, or anything like that, many of those can be drying to their skin. And so we don't really recommend using those, but if you do use them, we definitely don't want you to use them super frequently. I would say no more than once a month, but the best thing to do is talk to your veterinarian about what product you want to use, or they can even make suggestions for you. I love this shampoo by Decora. It is safe if we had to use this one every day, but I like this for my general once-monthly bathing.

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

So that's your comfort level. I have owners that take their dogs to a professional groomer, and we have owners that do the grooming at home because their dog is stressed or at the groomer. I would also encourage you to make sure that you are comfortable doing it as well. Of course, what we don't ever want to see is somebody accidentally cutting an ear with a pair of scissors or maybe getting too short on their nail trim or things like that. And so, the best thing to do is maybe if you're not comfortable in doing it is to seek help from somebody that can help you or find those professional groomers out there.

Does my dog need to be vaccinated and on flea control to go to the groomer?

So it's really dependent on each and every groomer. I would encourage you to select a groomer that does require vaccines for your pet. The reason is that they care about your pet's health and safety and the other pets coming into the facility. Like boarding facilities, many animals in a small space can make it easy to cat or transmit some contagious diseases, and vaccines can generally prevent many of those. So I would look for a groomer that does require vaccines. And in terms of flea and tick prevention, being on flea and tick prevention is going to be the best thing for your pet regardless. A groomer may not require it, but if a pet has a flea infestation or maybe even what we call a flea allergy dermatitis, meaning your pet is allergic to the saliva of the flea, it can cause a severe skin rash or infection that could be uncomfortable to your pet to make things challenging for their visit at the groomer.

If my dog has behavior problems, will they be welcome by a groomer?

So that's very dependent on each groomer. I have a groomer that I use, and I work with personally, and she takes each pet as they come. We offer sedated grooms here. That could be something that an owner feels like their pet needs to be groomed, as their pet gets a little stressed out, or maybe they get a little nippy, and sedation is the best way to go. But there are also some safe medications that your veterinarian can prescribe that your dog can take maybe an hour or two before going to the groomer to make it a more enjoyable experience and make it safer for everybody.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 985-5678, 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.