The poodle is one of the most popular breeds of dog in the U.S. However, as is quite evident from the dog's coat, grooming them is time-consuming, challenging, as well as fun, especially since it is a great time to build a stronger bond with your pet. While grooming is required by all dogs, it is particularly necessary for poodles. Apart from looking his/her best, it will help in preventing problems of the coat, skin, nails, ears, and teeth.
Giving a Bath: You can bathe your dog as frequently as once in a week. Fill a tub with warm water and allow his/her coat to saturate thoroughly, making sure that it is wet right up to the skin. Since poodles were bred to be water dogs, their coat is very dense, hence, this may take some time. Then, using a mild dog shampoo, bathe and rinse thoroughly, finish off by using a conditioner for dogs. Next, towel your pet, removing the excess moisture, and then use a blow dryer to dry her/him off, being careful not to take the blow dryer too close. While blow-drying, use a slicker brush gently, for this will make the coat soft and fluffy.
Brushing and Combing: Brushing and combing the coat is very important in order to prevent the hair from tangling and matting, spread the naturals oils of the skin, increase the blood circulation in the skin, plus, because your pet will actually enjoy it. Although many people think that poodles don't shed, they actually do, but the shed hair remains in the coat and gets matted. Hence, it is absolutely essential to thoroughly brush and comb your dog at least twice a week. Begin by brushing the hindquarters, then the hind legs, then move to the forelegs, the body, and then to the head and ears. Use a natural bristle brush for the areas that have longer hair, and a slicker brush to pull out matted and dead hair. After brushing, comb out any snarls that may have been missed.
Clipping Nails: Clipping your dog's nails is another important step. If allowed to grow excessively it can damage the feet, making it painful for him/her to walk or run, sometimes even leading to lameness. Use dog nail clippers, which can be bought from any pet supply store, cut only the tips. If you cut too far back, it will cause pain and bleeding. Just in case this accident should happen, it is a good idea to keep styptic powder handy, which you can use on the wound. It is advisable to learn how to clip your poodle's nails from a veterinary doctor first before attempting it yourself.
Taking Care of the Teeth: Dental care is as essential for your pet as it is for you. If the teeth are neglected, it can lead to tooth decay, bleeding gums, bad breath, and so on. You will need to clean the teeth at least once in a week, although it is better to do it everyday. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and toothpaste for dogs to gently brush all around the teeth.
Taking Care of the Ears: Ears need to be checked regularly. In case there are wax deposits or dirt, dip a cotton-tipped swab in mineral oil and clean it out gently. It is important not to go down to deep into the ear, or it will cause injury. It is best to learn the procedure from a veterinary doctor first before attempting it yourself.
Taking Care of the Eyes: Keep the eyes clear of dried matter that collects in the corners. Use a cotton swab dipped in warm water to gently get rid of them. However, care must be taken not to rub the eyes with cotton, because the fibers may cause irritation. If there is any discharge from the eyes, or injury, or any other problems, they need to be treated by a veterinarian promptly.
Clipping the Coat: There are various styles of clipping your dog's coat. Given below are a few:
Puppy Clip: This is meant for poodles below the age of one. In this style, the base of the tail, the feet, and the face are shaved, while the hair on the rest of the body is kept long.
Lamb Clip: In this style, the base of the tail, feet, and face are shaved, while the top knot, tail, and legs are kept fluffy.
Kennel Clip: The base of the tail, feet, and face are closely shaved. The hair on the body is kept short, the hair on the tail and the top knot are kept longer compared to the body hair. This style is easy to maintain and is particularly good during the summer.
English Saddle Clip: The tail, forelegs, and face are shaved, with a pompom on the tail's end and puffs of hair on the forelegs. A short covering of coat is kept on the hindquarters, with a curved area of hair on the flanks, and each of the hind legs have two shaven bands. The hair on the rest of the body is left long and full.