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Ask A Groomer: How Should Grooming Change As My Dog Ages?

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As our dogs age, they can develop many health issues that can impact the grooming process.

What changes should you consider making for older dogs to have the best grooming experience?

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1. Shorter grooming appointments. Arthritis is a common problem in older dogs. Whether it’s standing for the duration of the grooming or lying in an uncomfortable kennel for several hours, long grooming appointments can be painful for our older friends. Ask the groomer if your dog would benefit from express grooming, where your dog is groomed straight through without time spent in a potentially uncomfortable kennel.

2. Simpler haircuts. The simpler haircut your dog gets, the less time they have to spend standing on the grooming table, and the faster they can be back on their comfy bed at home. This may mean transitioning from a breed-specific groom like a Cocker cut to a short all over haircut. It may mean doing an all-over cut that is a shorter length than usual, which would also increase the amount of time you can go between grooming appointments. It might mean letting your Poodle’s clean feet grow out into round feet. Ask your groomer what they recommend as your dog ages.

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3. Less perfection. Many aspects of grooming a dog become increasingly difficult as they are able to stand for shorter and shorter lengths of time. Let go of perfection so that your groomer can embrace humanity over vanity. This may mean your dog’s legs and belly are more scraggly than usual because the groomer allowed your dog to spend more time lying down instead of forcing them to stand when it’s clearly painful.

4. Listen to your dog and their groomer. If your dog suddenly becomes snappy toward their face, they may be losing vision. If they suddenly hate having their feet handled, they could be suffering from joint pain. If the groomer can’t hold your dog’s face, they might be having dental problems. Any changes in your dog’s behavior should be mentioned by your groomer. If you see something unusual about your dog’s haircut, ask the groomer why that may be. There could be underlying health issues causing your dog to react. Be sure to follow up with a vet if your groomer mentions anything unusual.

5. Go longer between appointments. Don’t wait so long between appointments that your dog becomes extremely matted, as that is cruel, but if your dog comes home sore after grooming appointments, consider waiting a few more weeks between appointments. Besides, wouldn’t you rather spend extra time with your aging pet by your side instead of at the groomer?

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You want the best for your pet. If you aren’t sure what’s best as your dog ages, be sure to consult with their groomer and vet.

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