We all know that the dog is man's best friend. That must make a service dog a man's very best friend. In fact, for those who depend on their service dogs for everyday life, there is probably not even a word to sum up the love and appreciation they have for their right hand four-legged pal. Since service dogs have such an important role in our lives, it is vital that they are always looking and feeling their best. Service dogs play a different role to their owners than a regular pooch.They often work in public spaces and therefore the grooming process is a little different and a little more important. Just as you make sure you're looking clean cut and professional before work, your service dog should present his best paw forward as well.
Here are five grooming tips to keep your service dog in tip top shape:
Perhaps the most important and easiest tip to a well-groomed service dog is daily brushing. Do some research to see what kind of dog brush is best suitable for your pup's coat. During shedding season and especially if your dog has a thick coat, it may be necessary to brush your service dog two, sometimes even three times per day. During the heavy shedding periods you may want to consider bringing your pup to a professional groomer.
You probably wouldn't dare to show up at a meeting with unbrushed teeth, right? The same standard should be held for your service dog. While bringing your service dog into professional environments, you don't want their breath to be a distraction, so it's important to keep the teeth clean. One thing to note is veterinary dentists recommend dog's teeth are brushed every 24-48 hours, so don't overdo it. Make sure you are using a specially formulated dog toothpaste because the fluoride found in human toothpaste is toxic for pups.
No matter how clean your dog actually is, the gunk that often builds up around canine eyes and ears, can be an unpleasant sight. It's important to get rid of this distraction and keep your service dog looking as clean as possible. There are specially formulated canine ear cleaners that you can use with a cotton ball to swab the pup's ears clean. As for cleaning the eyes, you can use a warm cloth to wipe gunk from your service dog's eyes. If your service dog is a light colored canine, you may notice it has tear stains— this is totally normal and nothing to worry about but, since we are prepping the pooch for success, we'll want to clean that area up. There are a number of products available for tear staining. Talk to your vet or groomer to find the best one for your specific dog.
Trimming your service dog's nails is another vital grooming step to ensure they are looking clean cut and ready to take on the world. Depending on your dog's nails and how much she walks, nails will need to be trimmed every 1-4 weeks. This can be done at the groomer, vet or at home. If you choose to do the trim at home, there are a lot of dog nail trimmers out there. Ask your groomer or vet what they use and where you can buy a pair. You can also ask the groomer for a quick nail trimming demonstration to make sure you don't harm your service dog on their way to nail perfection.
We already discussed the importance of a brushed coat. In order to keep that coat shining, beautiful and keep the dog's natural "dog smell" at bay, baths are important. Since service dogs have more interactions with the general public, they'll need more frequent baths than the average house pup. These can be done from once a week to once every two months. Like most things on the list, it's up to you to decide whether you want to DIY or take your service dog to the groomer. Make sure you are using a dog shampoo and conditioner for extra shine for their coat.
Your service dog plays a very special role in your life and it is important that they look their very best. Once your dog gets used to the grooming routine, a lot of them find it relaxing and enjoyable, just like we humans enjoy our day at the spa! Grooming your service dog can become a fun, bonding activity for the two of you and you will ensure you present a clean and well-cared for dog to the public.