When you train with a guide dog, you soon learn the importance of grooming. No matter what breed you are matched with, grooming is necessary to keep your dog healthy and clean. As these dogs have access to all public places, their appearance is very important. As well as combing and brushing, grooming can include bathing, checking for any signs of health problems, cleaning ears and teeth, and even clipping toenails. It is also a good bonding process between you and your dog. Unfortunately all pet dogs don’t get groomed as regularly as guide dogs, even though they would benefit from it just as much.
Everybody approaches grooming differently. I spoke to a guide dog owner who happened to mention that they recently spent almost two hours drying their lab with a hair dryer after bathing it with shampoo, combing it and then putting on conditioner. Now that’s dedication!
I could lie and tell you that I groom O J every day. It’s more like every second or third, but I always do it if we’re going somewhere special or to someone’s house. No matter when I do it, lots of hair comes off! I don’t clean his teeth. The chews he eats take care of that, and the vet checks them often. I have never needed to clip his toenails yet, but think I would let Dougal’s groomer do it, rather than risk nearly cutting a blood vessel, which is apparently very very painful.
I try to wash him as little as possible, as too much washing can remove the natural oils from their coat. I’m not really into all this doggy perfume and stuff, but all the brushing ensures that he doesn’t smell. People constantly tell me how shiny his coat is (not sure if this is a black lab thing, or just my luck.) O J loves being groomed, but other
Don’t make it so easy!
I have thought of getting O J groomed professionally sometime, to see how he would react and to see if he can get any shinier! Maybe that could be his Christmas present. All groomers charge different rates, and some apparently reduce their rate for assistance dogs. I know a guide dog owner who’s local groomer will collect his dog at work, groom it free of charge and return it to him when its done. Talk about good service!
So what does your dog’s grooming routine involve?