Finding the Right Dog 2 – Lifestyle Issues – Grooming/Shedding

This is the second article about finding the right adult dog for your family. First we looked at the issue of size. This article looks at issues of grooming/shedding. Next articles cover exercise and your travel habits.

Grooming or Natural?

A major item in life with dogs is dog hair. You need to consider the amount of grooming needed and whether you can do it yourself or not. Along with grooming is the issue of shedding. The reason these two items are related is that most dogs who don’t shed need a lot of grooming.

All dogs need to have their ears cleaned and their nails cut and most should have it done at least once a month. As an owner you should be willing and able to do these things. (Willingness is key. Ability is attainable.) You should also be willing to brush your dog as often as is needed. (This can be daily for some dogs and hardly essential for some other short-haired ones)

Haircuts are the other essential of grooming. Many breeds have a style they would wear if they were show dogs and a casual style that most owners keep them in, the Yorkies & poodles for example. (About 25% of rescue dogs are purebreds and many mixes have the hair that most resembles one breed or the other of its parents.) These haircuts need to be done every few weeks (4 – 8 is recommended and varies depending on your dog and how picky you are about style) and these dogs should be brushed daily which usually only takes a few minutes. You can learn to cut your dogs hair yourself but be realistic when thinking about it. Are you really likely to do this yourself? It can get pretty expensive to take a dog to the groomer every month or two. If you do it yourself you’re probably going to want a couple hundred dollars worth of equipment but I’ve known people who used nothing more than a pair of blunt scissors.

Give this some thought before going to the shelter to look at dogs. This is a very big issue for some people and you may not even know when you look at a shelter dog whether it’s a shedder or will need a lot of grooming. If it’s important to you you’ll have to be sure to ask. In general the non-shedding dogs are more tolerable for people with allergies but there is no truly hypoallergenic dog  for all people.

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