How often should you take your dog to the groomer? 

Great question! There are several factors to take into consideration. We’ll break it down for you here.

When getting a pet, there is so much learning to do. “How often should you take your dog to the groomers?” is one of those very important questions. Dog grooming isn’t just about beauty, it’s about your dog’s health and overall well-being. The very general rule of thumb is about every six weeks which is not too frequent to irritate the dog’s skin but often enough to prevent severe problems like matting. However, this is very dependent on your dog’s needs. Read on to find out more about how often your dog needs to be taken to the groomer.  

What determines how often your dog should be taken to the groomer? 

Some breeds need more frequent grooming than others. Breeds like the Bichon Frise, the Afghan Hound, the Doodle, and the Portugues Water Dog, among others, require monthly trips to the groomers. Why? Their coats are more prone to matting and need to be trimmed much more often. 

The Afghan Hound being groomed. This is a dog in need of frequent grooming.
Picture of the gorgeous Afghan Hound. Image courtesy of thewildest.com

If your dog has hair rather than fur, he will shed less but require more frequent grooming because hair grows longer and gets matted more easily. 

Oily skin is another factor to consider. Some breeds’ skin produces much more oil than others, such as the Basset Hound and the Cocker Spaniel. While you don’t want to dry out your dog’s skin by bathing them too often, there are dogs that are the exception due to how much oil their skin produces. 

Hairless breeds, such as the Chinese Crested Dog, will also need to be bathed more often. 

Nail trimming is another factor to consider in how often you should take your dog to the groomer. If you hear your dog’s nails clicking on the floor, it’s time to trim them. If you allow your dog’s nails to get too long, it can affect their joints while walking. It will also make it hard for them to grip slick surfaces and will cause pain. Additionally, if the long nail splits, it exposes the quick, the sensitive part of the nail that contains blood vessels.  

How often your dog’s nails need to be trimmed is determined by a few factors. The type of surface they spend time on (hard, rough, soft, etc.) and the types of activities they do (dig, walk, etc.) determine how worn the nails naturally get. Additionally, if your dog eats a well-balanced diet, his or her nails will be stronger and less brittle. 

You can certainly trim your dog’s nails at home, but it is a very sensitive task as you may cut into your dog’s quick which is both painful, and traumatizing, and exposes them to infection. Therefore, it is best to see a professional do this first. Ask your vet or groomer to show you how before attempting it on your own. 

Less common needs a groomer can take care of

While some things can be done at home rather easily, like brushing your pet’s fur regularly, other things are a bit harder to take care of. If you are wondering if you should take your pet to the groomer do it at home, here is a post that talks about the advantages and disadvantages of both. 

However, there are some things you will likely want a professional to do. They are not needed as often, but they are important to not neglect.

Anal glands

Not every dog will develop problems with his or her anal glands, however, a professional groomer will know what to do and how to prevent this with an anal gland expression

If your pet has never had a problem with his or her anal glands, then it won’t be an issue. However, you may not recognize the signs like a professional groomer can. 

Anal glands on a dog. These need to be expressed only by a professional groomer or vet.
Yep. We went there. Picture of anal glands courtesy of Westwood Hills Veterinary Hospital.

Whisker care and facial fur

If your dog is prone to shedding, his or her facial hair can get matted easily as it is often a forgotten area. If your dog’s whiskers get caught in the mat, you will need extra precautions and care. This is best left to a professional as one wrong move can result in serious injury. 

An additional area to consider is the fur around the eyes. To trim this, your pet must be perfectly still as this is a very delicate area. We do not recommend you do this at home. 

Tooth brushing

Do not forget the importance of oral care for your dog’s overall health. This is something that should be done every day, ideally, and not something your groomer needs to do. A professional groomer cannot give your dog a deep clean like a vet, so while this is an important part of your dog’s hygiene, it is something that should absolutely be done between visits to your groomer. If your groomer has a vet on board, they can do a deep clean for you. At Grooming Girls, we offer tooth brushing and fluoride treatment. 

Ear Care

Breeds with closed ears may suffer from afflictions affecting the ears due to poor air circulation. Their ears need to be cleaned monthly. Dog breeds with long, hanging ears, such as the Bassett Hound, are more prone to ear infections. Checking your dog’s ear health should be a regular part of your routine. If your dog spends time in water, it is also important to read up on ear health and ear cleaning and ask your pet groomer or vet for signs of a problem.

So, how often should you take your dog to the groomer? The conclusion: 

Yet again, it depends! To summarize, things to consider are:

Hair vs. Fur:

Does your dog have hair that’s finer and grows longer? If so, this is an indication that you want to get him or her to the groomers more often as their hair is more prone to matting. 

A white poodle is being professionally groomed. It's style is one that requires a lot of upkeep and can only be done by a professional groomer.
This is a style that needs a lot of upkeep. Image courtesy of the American Kennel Club.

Nail length:

If your dog’s nails aren’t getting natural wear and tear and you’re hearing clicking on the floor, time to trim them. You can do this at home, but you need to make sure you are very skilled at this before attempting it as you can inflict serious damage.

Ear health

If your dog is more prone to ear infections and getting moisture trapped in his or her ears, then going to the groomer more often may be beneficial as a professional groomer knows what to look for. 

However, if your dog has an ear infection or you suspect one, get him or her to the vet! 

Anal glands

If your dog has a history of anal gland problems, certainly consult your vet. But a professional groomer can help you by expressing the anal glands when needed (and not too often as this can also cause a problem). 

Facial fur

If there is any matting on the face, if the fur needs to be trimmed around the eyes, if there are whiskers that are getting caught in the mat, leave it to a professional groomer. This is not an area to take risks with. 

Conclusion

All dogs are different and have different needs. The general rule of thumb is to take your dog to the groomer every 4-6 weeks for long fur breeds and every 8-12 weeks for short-haired breeds while taking all the above factors into consideration. 

Remember, your professional groomer and your vet can help set a schedule based on those needs. 

Are you overdue for a pet grooming visit? Book an appointment with Grooming Girls today and rest assured, your pet is in very well-trained hands. Want to know a little more about our qualifications? We have a blog post for that. 

1 thought on “How often should you take your dog to the groomer? ”

  1. I adopted a dog last week, and I have no idea about his breed or haircare, so I’m not sure how often I should give him a bath. I liked what you explained about how each dog breed has different oil levels, which could tell a lot about their bathing needs, so I’ll start looking for a pet groomer right now. Thanks for the insight on why we should take our dogs to see a groomer.

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