You want your pet to be the happiest, healthiest dog that they can be. And while there are a variety of ways you can support your dog’s health (like feeding them a diet of high-quality food, making sure they get plenty of exercise, and giving them lots of love and attention), there’s one key practice that is an indispensable part of your dog’s health and happiness—and that’s proper grooming.
“Grooming directly influences your dog’s physical (and mental!) health,” says Steffi Trott, owner and head trainer at SpiritDog Training in Albuquerque, NM, who regularly advises her clients on the grooming needs of their dogs.
Grooming your dog regularly is a must if you want them to feel their best (and cleanest!). But what tools do you need to keep your dog properly groomed? How often do you need to groom them? And what are the key steps you need to take to keep your dog happy, healthy, and well-groomed?
Why is grooming so important?
When it comes to grooming, dogs are, in many ways, like humans. Just like humans need to shower or bathe regularly to stay healthy and keep illness and infection at bay, dogs need to be clean and well-groomed in order to feel their best and stay their healthiest—and neglecting those needs can lead to a variety of physical ailments, pain, and anxiety.
“Having your pet regularly groomed is an essential [and] important part of keeping them healthy,” says Michelle Wildman, Director of Differentiated Services for Pet Supplies Plus, who helps to oversee grooming operations in 450 retail locations.
Grooming your dog regularly will also give you deeper insights into what’s going on with their body. This can help you stay on top of any potential health issues and get them taken care of before they progress. “Grooming can uncover additional issues that may become bigger problems if not addressed quickly,” says Wildman.
Trott, for example, once found a breast tumor on a dog while grooming. “Since I discovered it while it was fairly small… it could be removed much easier than if the owners had discovered it later on,” she says.
In a nutshell, regularly grooming your dog will ensure that they look and feel like their best, healthiest self—and can also clue you in to a variety of potential health issues you might not have been aware of if you hadn’t rolled up your sleeves and cleaned your pet.