People who don't own dogs tend to believe that pooches are groomed for purely aesthetic reasons.
But as a dog owner, you're well aware that caring for a dog's coat, claws and teeth is about much more than just making your furry friend look pretty--it's about making them happier and more comfortable.
Veterinarians often talk about another benefit to grooming - the tangible health benefits.
Regardless of the breed, a regular grooming schedule can help prevent the development of a number of annoying health conditions in dogs, while also helping owners identify several serious conditions early on.
Curious as to why this is? Here are five reasons why a regularly groomed dog is a healthier dog.
1. Prevent Skin Infections
An unkempt coat can pose serious risks to your dog's health. Dirty coats (especially long ones) are perfect repositories for mould and bacteria. As these grow and multiply, they can cause skin conditions and sores on your dog's skin, which can easily get infected and lead to more serious health issues.
Long-haired breeds like Collies or Shih Tzus are at a higher risk of developing these conditions, but short haired dogs can still get them.
All dogs can benefit from a regular grooming schedule that includes a good brush, wash and in some cases, trim.
2. Keep Them Cool
For thousands of years, dogs have accompanied us as we moved around the world. Wherever we settled, our furry friends would settle too, and as we mingled with other peoples, so did our dogs.
This mingling has left us with a wonderful diversity of dog breeds, each of which can be traced back to a particular place in the world. But while these breeds developed to thrive and survive in particular places, today they can be found all over the world.
This means that many dogs breeds are ill-equipped to deal with the weather of the places where they live, which can affect their health.
For example, heat stroke and heat exhaustion are very real things for dogs. Regular haircuts can help many dogs, but especially long-haired breeds, avoid them.
Keeping a short coat during the summer months, can help dogs cool down in excessively hot environments, keeping them happy and healthy..
3. Prevent Eye and Ear Infections
Dogs with longer facial hair often develop crusts on the corner of their eyes due to irritation that can lead to discomfort and infection, especially when bacteria and mold grows in their coat.
A similar thing occurs in a dog's ears. There, bacteria growing in unkept hair can also lead to the development of ear infections, which can be painful and annoying.
Routine grooming in the form of washes and trims will help prevent the developments of these annoying and painful infections, resulting in happier and healthier dogs.
4. Improves Posture
When most people hear about dog grooming, they immediately think about cleaning and cutting a dog's coat. But grooming also includes trimming the dog's nails, which (perhaps surprisingly) also has significant health benefits for dogs.
Veterinarians often recommend regular nail trimming because it decreases the risk of your dog getting their nails caught (and torn out) on floors, carpeting and furniture, which can be EXTREMELY painful for your pooch.
But on top of this, the benefits of regular nail trimming on a dog's health can be far more important. Overgrown nails can change the physiognomy of a dog's paws, which forces them to change their natural stance and gait.
This unnatural posture can lead to the development of arthritis in their legs and hips, which can make your doggy's life a living hell, especially as they grow older.
5. Helps Identify Serious Conditions Earlier
In addition to helping prevent skin infections from developing, regularly grooming your pooch can help identify serious conditions by allowing you to see any lumps, bumps or growths that may be developing on your dogs skin.
Identifying these signs early on (especially in the case of tumerous lumps) may help save your dogs life.
A happy dog is a healthy dog
Just like with humans, there's a direct link between a dog's happiness and their health.
That's why keeping your dog comfortable and happy with regular grooming is another great way to boost their health.
And what's more: a clean, well-groomed dog is a pleasure to cuddle and curl up next to, which will make YOU happier and healthier too!