An important part of being a service dog is having a clean, well-cared-for appearance. This is especially true for one who goes out in public, like me! People would look unfavorably on me and my mom if I were unkept. Who would want to be around a dirty and smelly dog? I think you would agree with me that the answer is . . . no one!
Having a well-brushed coat, short nails, and an overall tidy appearance is necessary. It means that I’m not leaving tufts of fur from my coat all over the floors, scratches on surfaces from long nails, and an unpleasant odor in the air.
I have told you about my monthly baths in my Bath time! post and about my tooth care in the Brushing my teeth! post. Now I want to share with you the other ways my mom cares for me on a daily and weekly basis to ensure that I am healthy and pleasant to be with. And beautiful, too!
On the days that we go out somewhere, like when doing errands or going to an appointment, my mom brushes my fur before getting me dressed. She uses a slicker brush, which is a small rectangular brush with wire bristles, to brush my coat. She goes all over my body and gets any loose hairs out. This is because it would not be very good if I left any of my beautiful black fur behind when we were out in a public place.
Most evenings my mom brushes me again, but especially on those days when we have stayed home. For these brushings, she uses a Zoom Groom which is a rubber brush with short rubber nubs that are like little fingers. My mom rubs it all over my body and it feels so good. It is kind of like getting a massage!. As she rubs it over me it loosens up my undercoat. Then she takes the slicker brush to get the last little bits of loose hair.
There are times of the year, mostly in the spring and early summer when my thicker undercoat sheds. During these times my mom also uses a special type of rake that helps get more fur to come out. When I’m shedding my mom does extra brushings and I also get extra baths. This helps to get through the shedding season a bit quicker.
A fur sculpture of me!
For the past couple of weeks, my mom has been saving my fur each time she has brushed me so that she could make this furry dog!
Brushing my fur and my teeth are done daily. But there are a couple of other things that need to be done regularly. Although not every day. These are ear care and nail care. Instead of every day, I get these done weekly.
For my ears, my mom lifts the flap and looks inside most every day to make sure there isn’t anything concerning like a foul odor or an icky discharge. If all looks okay she just waits until my weekly cleaning. For this, she takes an ear wipe and rubs it over my ear flap and down inside my ear. She does this gently to not irritate my tender skin.
If there is some debris she puts a tiny bit of ear solution in to loosen it up. When my mom does this she will gently clean the insides of my ears for the next couple of days to make sure it is clearing up. And not developing into an infection.
Keeping my nails short is also very important. To do this my mom uses a nail grinder, known as a Dremel, once a week to shorten my nails. The grinder has a sanding disk that spins really quickly and buffs my nails so they are smooth and short. She also trims the fur between my pads so that I have better traction on slick floors.
My beautifully groomed paw next to Kippy’s paw!
Some people use a special nail clipper that is made for dogs but my mom much prefers using a nail grinder. She likes how short and smooth she can get my nails. And I like it because it is quick and more comfortable than a nail clipper.
Having long nails would be uncomfortable for me. They could cause my foot to splay or spread apart. Which seems as if it would be painful and could reduce my traction. Long nails can even start to curl and grow into the pads of a dog’s paw. I sure am glad my mom keeps my nails short!
If my nails were too long I could slip and slide on floors. And catch my nails in the fabric of my mom’s clothes. Or even scratch my mom’s delicate skin.
Do you know what else? With my nails being kept short I’m not in danger of leaving any scratch marks behind on floors or walls. As a service dog, I mustn’t cause any damage to other people’s property.
Hey, how could I scratch walls? Remember how I told you that I push the automatic door buttons for my mom. Well, sometimes those buttons are up higher so I have to put my paws up on the wall to reach them. With nails that are too long, I could scratch the walls. Which would not be a good thing to happen.
My mom does an excellent job of keeping me well-groomed and healthy. I know that I am looking my best when we are out in public. And that I’m not smelly or unkept looking in any way.