Grooming is an essential part of taking care of your fur friend and it differs for every dog depending on their coat. Take, for example the Bergamasco Shepherd (see image below) with its unique coat that is non-shedding needs a special type of grooming. In contrast, other dogs shed so much fur that you could potentially start a dog fur pillow business. Whether a short or long haired dog, if you have a dog who goes through the typical scratch-shed cycle (that is common amoungst dogs in warm, tropical climates) you too must be desperate for tips, like we were!
The Bergamasco Shepherd's unique coat is made up of three different types of hair forming a coat of flocks (strands of hair weaved together creating flat layers of felted hair) or loose mats, covering the body and legs, and protecting the dog from weather and predators. With its origins in the Italian Alps it was originally worked as a herding dog especially with cattle.
While shedding is a natural process for most dogs, this can sometimes extend beyond the seasonal changes in Singapore thanks to the year-round warm and highly humid weather.
We are big on DIY so we decided to speak with both an expert and our circle of dog lovers and bring you some easy DIY grooming tips.
To begin with, we spoke with Ms Heidi Chow, who leads the grooming team at Yappily Pets and also serves as a member of the Singapore Kennel Club Grooming Committee and here are her top five tips:
1. Singapore's hot and humid climate means our dogs' skin and coat often gets more dirty than in other countries, making frequent baths more necessary. A weekly bath helps wash away the excess oil and dirt build-up.
2. Daily brushing for those long-haired dogs helps ensure their fur does not get matted and remains clean. Matted hair that is not attended to can lead to moisture build-up and even yeast/fungal infections ... so it's important to make sure the fur does not get matted.
3. Invest in some grooming essentials such as:
- A good brush: A soft slicker brush for short-medium coats; and a curved slicker pin brush for long coats
- Ear cleaning cloth/wipes and ear drops, if required
- Good quality shampoo & conditioner
- Nail grinder or clipper (if you think you can trim the nails on your own !)
4. Choose a shampoo with a good pH balance scale (opposite from human scale) and avoid silicone or alcohol-based shampoos as they can attract dust, encourage tangling, cause brittle hair and dry skin. While selecting a shampoo and conditioner avoid the heavily perfumed or citrus-scented products as they can cause extra dryness to both the dog's coat and humans hands. Make sure both shampoo and conditioner are completely washed off after an application.
5. Consider adding some organic coconut oil into your dog's diet, which will help build your dog's immunity and give a nice, healthy coat!
"Grooming must be an enjoyable session and routine. It builds a bond with your furkid and it's through grooming you can notice any pre-exisiting condition on them and seek consultation earlier. Play with their body parts, especially the ears and paws." said Heidi.
Besides the expert advice, we also gathered some popular home remedies for your easy reference:
- In case you find your dog itching and scratching a lot without any obvious medical condition or wound, mix 50:50 ratio of organic apple cider vinegar and clean water to give your dog a good rub down. While the apple cider will give temporary relief, it can also be drying so measured usage is advised.
- Increase omega 3 intake, either through coconut oil or other natural sources such as anchovies to help your dog's general health and keep a shiny coat
- Pure, good quality essential oils such as lavender can be used on animals as in humans to help with anxiety and stress, but only after research and education on correct dosage.
- And lastly, if you think your dog will be too stressed out or there seems to be a severe health issue, forget the DIY and immediately seek professsional help!
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the company's view.