by Jenny Noland
It’s that part of life everyone is afraid of – getting old. It happens to you, it happens to me, it happens to our dogs. Sadly, our pet’s old age comes much faster than our own. The loveable pooch you’ve watched grow up, watched become a member of the family, becomes frail and quaky on his or her feet. For this geriatric, there are many aspects of your dog’s life that also become slightly scarier. That’s why it is especially important to take extra care to ensure your old pup is as comfortable as they can be while they’re being groomed.
There are many ways that a dog can become uncomfortable during the grooming process. From anxiety brought on by the sounds of grooming equipment to the unnatural positions they are sometimes needed to be coaxed into.
Unsure of how to feel about growing old especially from new aches and pains, a dog may become timid and nervous in new situations, just like the care taken with puppies when grooming, the same precautions need to be taken with senior dogs as well. Just simply changing a groomer may startle an old dog so routine is important, which leads us straight into our first tip –
Look for an Experienced Groomer
This is very important. We hear many stories from dog owners who first learned how to groom their pet using YouTube videos but as they age, soon lack the confidence to comfortably groom their dog as they grew older.
There is nothing at all wrong with this, grooming can be a great opportunity to bond with your pet but as more care is needed and as your dog grows in maturity it may be time to consider other options.
Many owners may be afraid of finding a groomer who will not treat their pride and joy well, but the internet is now the perfect place to do your research before committing. You can find reviews and check out pictures all from the comfort of your own home, easing the decision making process.
If this story sounds similar to the above, it may be time to consider doing some research on local groomers. Most of them are friendly and caring to all pets. Think about it, they love animals so much they go into business taking care of them. Also, most local groomers cannot afford a bad review on the internet so there is extra motivation in treating a dog with the utmost respect and love.
Make them feel Comfortable
If you chose to groom your families “oldest” member yourself, good on you – this is something many are not brave enough to at first. Whether you decide to go down the route of home grooming or taking your pet to a professional groomers, their comfort should be a number one priority.
Old dogs may not be able to stand in position for as long of a time, so look for signs of distress. If your dog grows restless, do not be afraid to continue grooming them later if needed. Let them sit or lay if it is more comfortable and change your grooming sessions to suit them.
It may be more time consuming this way but your dog will appreciate it and let’s not kid around, making them happy is what makes us happy.
Make sure especially to look at and check the ears eyes and mouth for foreign debris. It is a common tendency for there to be more of a buildup matter as your dog ages. Use a warm wet rag to remove these particles from these sensitive areas and ensure that there is no discharge from the ears or strange odors.
If you do notice a buildup or any issues that haven’t previously affected your dog than it is well worth consulting a veterinarian as this could lead to a dangerous infection. Remember to just be gentle with your pupper and show them more love as they grow old.
Brush Your Dogs Coat Often, Quick, and Gently
There are many reasons to brush more frequently. But first, try buying softer, gentler brushes that do not tug as much. The skin grows elastic over time and these tuggings and pullings can distress the dog for hours after a grooming.
It is not a bad idea to consider more regular brushings to prevent hair from matting. Matted hair does not hold the insulation that brushed hair does and combined with the geriatric state makes it easier for your dog to succumb to the cold.
More regular brushings also allow for grooming sessions to be shorter, which helps comfort an older dog. Another good idea is to make sure to maintain good brushes. The skin, as already said, is more delicate and because of this is more likely to break, cut, and scratch from older, damaged brushes. This means that more frequent replacements may be needed.
These are just a few tips that make your geriatric pooch more comfortable during grooming sessions. Hopefully, they are helpful as these have been what I have learnt to be great ways to groom dogs as they have faced what all of us must one day face – growing old. This of course shouldn’t be a bad thing, how you adapt to this change is the important part and as pet owners that is doing all we can to make sure our dogs have long and happy lives.
Jenny Nolan enjoys long walks with her energetic Spaniel & chilled weekends, even better when able to calm young Roxy enough to combine the two! As a professional pet groomer she contributes to her family run blog Cleaner Paws.