As dogs age in years, their bodies age also. That includes their coats. The coat may not be as clean and shiny as it used to. It may become brittle or start to fall out. Whether your dog is a senior now or will be shortly, there are things that you can do to help improve his coat. Since your dog possibly can live to be 16 years of age or older, it is important that you keep him in the best possible health, including his coat.
A dog’s coat is his protection again the elements including weather and uninvited guests such as fleas. If your dog’s coat and skin is in poor condition, it is possible that the dog can fall prey to diseases and illness.
Think back to when your dog was younger. He probably did a lot more grooming then he does now if he is a senior dog. It is up to us humans to do a lot more grooming for them in order to keep our dogs healthier.
What type of brush should I use?
The answer to that question is not as easy as you would think it should be. The type of brush needed depends on the type of and length of the dog’s hair. Don’t go running out to the pet shop and buy every type of brush on the market. You will be wasting your money. You can always ask your vet or your groomer for advice. In the meantime, you can check out the brushes at The Doctors Foster and Smith website. They have photos of different types of brushes and descriptions of which brush works best on which type of hair – click here.
How long each day should I spend brushing my dog?
You should plan on devoting about 15 minutes each day to brushing your dog. Plan it into your daily routine and after a few days it will become second nature to you both!
What other advantages are there for the dog if I brush him daily?
People often refer to ‘quality time’ and if you and your dog spend 15 minutes together while you groom him, you are strengthening your bond. Dogs crave our company and our attention, and a daily grooming session provides that. Your senior dog may have more energy after being groomed. As you brush your dog, run your hands over his body and check for signs of lumps or tumors or anything out of the ordinary on his skin. When you are finished brushing him, give him a big hug for being a good dog!
Do I still have to give my dog a bath if I brush him frequently?
Some people think a dog needs a weekly bath, but that is not true. Your dog can live a healthy life if he only gets a bath once a month. If Fido rolls in ‘something’ and smells awful, naturally you can give him a bath, please do! The frequency depends on your dog and the type of hair he has. Your vet can give you a better clue as to how often your dog should be given a bath. But in general terms, dogs with smooth oily coats should only be given a bath when necessary. The oil on the coat is a protection and you don’t want to over-wash the dog. A dog that has a tick undercoat can go for about 6 months without bathing. Dogs with long curly hair need a bath every 4-6 weeks.
By spending 15 minutes a day brushing your dog you will be helping him lead a more comfortable life, no matter what his age. Since we never know how long we have with our pets, make every day a happy and pleasant one for your pets.