How to cope when your dog groomer is closed due to social distancing restrictions?
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How to cope when your dog groomer is closed due to social distancing restrictions?

Dogs
Grooming & Hygiene

Are dog groomers open during coronavirus social distancing restrictions? Unfortunately not. The national effort to slow the spread of coronavirus means that all non-essential businesses are closed, and however desperate some of us might be to get our roots touched up or our split ends chopped off, this unfortunately applies to hairdressers and barbers too.

As you might expect, given that human hairdressers aren’t trading at present, neither are dog groomers; which is apt to be a huge problem for many dog owners, who are hugely reliant on regular trips to the groomer to keep their dog’s coat clean, in good condition, and easy to manage.

Whilst many people bathe their own dogs at home and there are lots of breeds that are almost zero maintenance on the coat front, there are also plenty of dog breeds whose coats are hard work to care for, and that need regular attention.

The poodle, for instance, either requires daily brushing, grooming and tidying up for a natural coat or regular clipping for a rather easier to care for coat, and breeds like the Shih Tzu need a significant amount of daily brushing with their long, natural coats, or clipping every few weeks to avoid this.

Even many working dog breeds like the springer spaniel and cocker spaniel, which aren’t breeds that we usually associate with distinctive coat styles, are sometimes regular visitors to dog grooming parlours as they tend to get knots, tangles and matts in their fur very easily, and don’t pay much mind to keeping themselves clean either.

So, how can you care for your dog’s coat when coronavirus has closed all of the dog groomers? This article will help you to care for your dog’s coat at home when dog groomers are closed due to coronavirus social distancing.

Read on for some basic tips and advice on managing your dog’s coat when coronavirus restrictions mean you can’t visit a dog groomer.

Keep on top of things

First things first, if you have a dog whose coat is high maintenance, keeping on top of it and preventing it getting tangled or turning into a problem in the first place is important, even when you have a dog groomer on call to help you out.

This is even more vital when you’re on your own with things, and so you should ensure that you dedicate time every day to comb, brush and detangle your dog’s coat, and prevent those first knots and tangles from forming that can be almost impossible to undo later on.

Invest in the right tools

Grooming a dog with a complex coat means having the right tools; this makes things much easier and without the right equipment, grooming your dog is likely to take a lot longer and not be as successful.

What tools you need to groom any dog will vary depending on their breed and coat type, so start looking into this and get yourself armed with the things you need. You can order online for home delivery, and whilst dog groomers are closed during coronavirus restrictions, pet shops remain open if you need to get tools in a hurry; although you should avoid going out as much as possible if you have an alternative option.

Clever shortcuts

Detangling and conditioning sprays can help you to avoid your dog’s coat becoming knotty and tangled when you can’t get to the groomer, tools like matt splitters can make breaking up tangles easier if they can’t be recovered, and sectioning and loosely plaiting long fur can help to keep it in place and reduce its tendency to get knotty.

Spot-clean and tackle problem areas daily

If your dog gets mucky or grubby, spot clean them as and when this happens to reduce the frequency that you need to bathe them, and to help ensure that dirt and grime in the coat doesn’t turn into matting, or make your dog feel uncomfortable.

Should you try to clip your dog at home?

If your dog has a very long or thick coat, you might be wondering if it is a good idea to clip this off to make it easier to handle, if your groomer usually does this or even if they don’t.

Whether or not you should do this largely depends on what you hope to achieve, and weighing up the pros and cons if things go to plan – and if they don’t.

One thing to note is that human hair clippers are rarely up to the task of clipping dog coats, and whilst shearing your dog off like a lamb might look easy in your head, even if you do objectively do well for a novice, it’s probably not going to look great!

This is absolutely fine if practicality is the goal and you’re ok with that, but do not expect your dog to look neat and professionally turned out, and if they do end up like that, consider a career in grooming.

Remember, even if you’re relatively skilled with clippers or are even a human hairdresser, a wriggling dog may mean all bets are off, even if you would otherwise have achieved a good result.

Bathing your dog at home with minimal fuss

Not everyone is keen to bathe their own dog at home, and for some people this is highly impractical or almost impossible. However, even if you’ve dragged it out as long as you can, dogs do need to be bathed now and then and this may mean that during coronavirus restrictions you will at some point have to bathe your dog at home.

Read this article on the basics of bathing and grooming your own dog, and this article on how to decide where best to bathe your dog to get you started.

Keep an eye on the other things dog groomers often take care of too

Dogs groomers often clip dogs’ claws too, and sometimes express their anal glands as well. These are also services that veterinary nurses handle in nurse clinics, but whilst vets remain open during coronavirus restrictions, this is to offer emergency or essential care only.

This means your vet won’t be able to help with either of these things, unless they become so acute that they’re causing pain or a health issue for your dog.

Keep your dog’s claws short and so, avoid them needing to be trimmed by walking them on hard surfaces, and if your dog is prone to anal gland impactions, keep an eye out for the early signs of problems and speak to your vet for advice.

Accept that your dog’s appearance might not be as highly polished as you might like

Finally, how successful you are at keeping your dog maintained without a dog groomer during coronavirus restrictions will depend on you, your skills, your dog’s coat, and how tolerant they are; but few dog owners whose dogs have elaborate or complex coats will be able to turn them out like a professional dog groomer can.

This is something you will have to accept, and consider as less important than the practicalities, as one of the smaller sacrifices we’re all having to make at the moment to help to protect the nation’s health and keep the NHS running thanks to social distancing measures.

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