Everything You Need to Know about Grooming Poodles
We love our curly-haired fur babies! Whether you have a Toy Poodle, a Standard Poodle, or a Miniature Poodle, they have the energy and personality to be great companions. But, how do we care for them? First, you have to acknowledge that Poodles have hair rather than fur. The hair is usually thick and tightly curled—this makes brushing an essential part of your dog’s health. An ill-groomed Poodle’s health will deteriorate. The hair can easily become tangled and matted, leading to skin infections or insect infestations. You don’t have to have a dog show quality haircut on your Poodle, but you do need to spend a little time every day keeping your Poodle groomed. Beyond the dog’s hair, you must also keep track of the dog’s ears, nails, and teeth. These are all essential to keeping your Poodle healthy.
Poodle hair must be brushed, trimmed, and clipped on a regular basis to maintain a healthy coat—regular meaning daily. If you don’t, you will end up at the vet and your dog could have painful skin infections. A coat that is neglected, even for a short time, can lead to a bald Poodle. The hair can get so tangled up that no one can fix it. The only solution then is to shave the dog completely to get rid of the tangles and matting. While the Poodle does have hair instead of fur, the dogs still shed.But one positive about their ultra-curly hair is that it traps the shed hair before it can fall out on the ground. This shed hair is what turns into tangles and mats without continuous brushing. You can certainly maintain a healthy coat with daily brushing and combing. However, you should have your Poodle professionally groomed every three to sixweeks at a minimum.
Types of Haircuts
If you want to go beyond just having a Poodle with a healthy coat, you can choose specific types of haircuts, called clips.
- Puppy clip– face, tail, and feet shaved; remaining coat simply cut with scissors
- Lamb clip – all hair cut to the same length
- Teddy Bear clip–the hair is evenly clipped all over to give the Poodle a Teddy Bear appearance
- Bikini clip– hair shaved on the face, tail, and feet; all other hair trimmed to a uniform length
- Kennel clip–topknot and tail-pouf with longer hair on the face and feet
- Town and Country clip – face, feet, belly, and neck are shaved; all other hair stays long
In addition to the professional grooming your pet needs, you will need some basic grooming tools for use at home. However, you will need to acquire brushes and tools specific to Poodle hair. You must also choose tools for your Poodle’s size. Double check when you are purchasing your brushes that they are for your Poodle’s size (Toy, Mini, Standard). You must have a bristle brush and a slicker brush. You will use the slicker brush first. It will take care of the tangles,any matting, and shed hair. Make sure you are gentle with the slicker brush. Your Poodle has very sensitive skin, and the brush could cause abrasions. Once you have all the tangles and matting worked loose, switch over to the bristle brush to straighten them out. Maintaining a gentle but firm stroke will give your Poodle a soft and smooth coat without hurting its skin. Remember that every dog, just like every person, is different. Your pup may not respond positively to being brushed. Even if you have the best brushes ever, specially designed for Poodles, your dog can still get uncomfortable. If your pet shows nervousness or seems skittish at brush time, you may need to consider a softer brush. On the other hand, if the tangles and matting seem to multiply quickly, you may have too soft of a brush. While it may be frustrating, it could take a couple of tries before you have the right brushes for your Poodle’s coat.
The Poodle is a breed with floppy ear flaps. This type of ear structure is prone to infection because the inside of the ear is moist and warm most of the time. It’s a breeding ground for yeasts and bacteria. In addition to the humid environment inside the ear, Poodles also have ear hair in their outer ear that keeps fresh air from flowing through the canals. Inspecting your Poodle’s ears weekly can give you a sense of how much hair and wax have built up. You can always trim your dog’s ear hair and find out which dog ear cleaning products will best protect your Poodle’s inner ear.
Poodles’ nails tend to grow quite rapidly. But, if you are uncertain of your skill with the nail clipper, leave this to the professionals. Dog nails have a certain spot where the “quick” begins: the soft cuticle with blood vessels and lots of nerves. If you accidentally cut through the quick, it will be extremely painful for the dog and upsetting for you because it will bleed significantly. Nail trimmings are often best left to professional groomers or vet technicians—and even they sometimes hit the quick.
Brushing Poodle’s Teeth
Dental health is extremely important in all dog breeds. Your dog’s teeth should be monitored closely to avoid gingivitis. Yes, dogs can get it too! In fact, when owners do not take proper care of their dog’s teeth, this can result in infections, tooth loss, and bone loss. Make sure to brush your dog’s teeth regularly with a proper dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste. Don’t let your pet’s oral health go downhill. When the dog’s mouth is so diseased that teeth are falling out, they are in significant pain and they will become aggressive. Often, the only solution is to remove all the diseased teeth and treat the dog with antibiotics for infection.
By taking the time to properly groom and care for your Poodle, you will ensure its good health and prolong its life. Poodles can live up to 18 years when properly cared for, so give your curly-haired baby the best!