Grooming an Older Dog

Proper and effective grooming contributes only indirectly to your dog’s general health but becomes a more significant factor with increasing age. As the natural skin oils come to be less effectively produced, the skin can become dry and scaly, causing itchiness and discomfort.

Matted or tangled hair-coats likewise cause scratching and, in addition, can hold dirt and debris on the skin from which bacteria can readily enter skin that is already abraded by the scratching and chewing. Bacterial dermatitis is not at all uncommon in older dogs.

The daily grooming patterns begun in earlier years should be continued throughout a dog’s lifetime. It is my firm belief that all dogs, with the possible exception of some show dogs and those with certain skin diseases, should be combed and brushed every day of their lives with a metal comb and a wire-bristle slicker type brush.

Combing should be done first, as its purpose is merely to remove tangles and separate the hairs so the slicker brush does not get caught in them.

This is followed by the brush which should be used in firmly applied, long, slow strokes. The object of the brushing is to get the wires down to the skin, which is where the dirt is, to remove that dirt and the dry scales of dead skin.

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