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The Chow Chow is a magnificent looking dog with its blue-black tongue and lion-like looks making it one of the most recognisable breeds on the planet. If well cared for, they can live anything up to 15 years and beyond. Their superb coat is luxurious to say the least, but it comes with a price because the Chow Chow needs quite a bit of grooming in order to keep their coats looking good.
Ideally, this lovely ancient breed of dog needs to be groomed a minimum of twice a week, but ideally more frequently. However, their lion-like ruff needs to be carefully handled and brushed to avoid stripping it, which can all too easily happen by over grooming them.
There are two types of coat, with one being rough and the other being smooth. However, the most common is a rough or long-haired one where the outer coat is straight and long with coarser guard hair. They don't tend to tangle or mat so easily unlike the thicker and much softer undercoat. A Chow Chow with a smooth coat boasts a much shorter and denser outer coat and a very defined undercoat. Neither of them need much trimming but they do need frequent grooming to get rid of excessive loose fur and to prevent any tangles or mats from forming.
The earlier a grooming routine is started the better, which means if you are thinking of getting a puppy you need to start brushing and grooming them as soon as you get them home. Playing with their ears and feet is essential too as these are the areas which could turn problematic in adult dogs. The time spent grooming and handling a puppy, the easier the process will be as time goes on making it a pleasant experience for your dog and whoever has to groom them.
You'll need to invest in all the right tools making sure you buy good quality items that will stand the tests of time. The things you'll need are as follows:
Ideally, a Chow Chow should be bathed every month, but you have to be careful not to bath them too frequently because you could end up stripping valuable oils out of their coats. Before bathing your dog, you should brush them thoroughly to get out any matted and loose hair and once this is done, it's bath time!
Using a dog specific shampoo is essential because it would be H balanced, you should never use human shampoo on your dog. The other really important thing is to make sure you thoroughly rinse your pet off making sure no shampoo is left in their coats which could cause a skin irritation and then turn into an infection.
Drying off your dog's coat is easier done if you can get them to lie on their side but this is something you need to teach a puppy because older dogs might not be quite so accommodating. You may find that if they are relaxed about the situation, they even fall asleep as you dry them off with a blow-dryer. You have to make sure the device is on a lower setting and not held too close to their skin which could end up burning them.
It is much easier to dry off the coat in smaller sections because of its thickness because the last thing you want is for the thicker undercoat to pack down while it is still damp. Using the slicker brush and going over small sections of their coat also gets rid of any loose hair. Having finished brushing and drying off one side, the next step is to turn your dog over and repeat the process on the other one. Once both sides are dry, you can sit your dog up to dry off their ruff and bib in the sitting or standing position.
One of the things the Chow Chow tends to suffer from is "hot spots" which is an annoying albeit temporary health issue the breed commonly experiences. One minute an affected area is the size of a pin head and the next it's a very large, oozing sore. The problem is that because these hot spots are itchy, dogs will typically lick and chew at them making the condition even worse.
When brushing or bathing your dog, it's really important to take extra care around any hot spots they may have on their body making sure the areas are thoroughly rinsed because if any soap is left behind, it could make the irritation worse. There are some very effective ointments on the market which you should gently rub on affected areas after a bath. It the condition is very bad, you may want to ask your vet to prescribe an ointment to use on your pet.
Chow Chow's have gorgeous coats which are quite high maintenance if you want them to stay in tip-top condition and to fend off any skin infections. Daily brushing is ideal but a thorough grooming session at least twice a week would be okay too. These proud looking dogs also need regular baths which in a perfect world should be on a monthly basis although you need to be careful not to over bath them because you run the risk of stripping out all the essential oils found in their skin which act as a protective barrier.
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