Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that Poodles are one of (if not) the most stylish breeds of dog out there. Thanks to their dense coat of curly hair, you are able to groom them into a whole range of shapes and sizes, making them a mainstay at dog shows all over the world.
But with such a thick and textured head of hair, it should be no surprise that Poodles require a major amount of upkeep. But just how much attention does your Poodles coat need to stay in shape? Whether you are a budding dog parent or long-time Poodle fanatic, read on to find out everything you need to know about keeping your Poodles hair in check.
A Poodle’s hair grows at an average of 1” to 1.5” per month, meaning they are growing hair almost twice as fast as a human does. This means that you will need a regular grooming schedule to avoid tangles and matts. You can either have this done professionally or learn how to do it at home.
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When Should you get your Poodle Groomed?
With a monthly average hair growth of one to one and a half inches, it is recommended that you should be looking at getting your Poodle groomed every four to six weeks.
You should start as early as possible in order to acclimatize them to the procedure. However, if using a professional service it is best practice to ensure your dog is vaccinated and has built trust with you prior to introducing them to potentially uncomfortable situations.
What does Grooming Consist of?
Dog grooming consists of a variety of different procedures. It is imperative that you stay on top of your dog’s grooming as maintenance of its coat and nails are important to its overall health. Groomers attend to a variety of different aspects of your dog’s hygiene such as:
While it is important that you take the time to brush your dog at home, groomers will give your dog a cursory brush as standard in order to attend to any matting and tangling that may occur. Poodles, with such a dense coat, are particularly prone to both of these issues, and so by giving them a good brush the groomers can quickly identify and tame any problem areas.
Next up is bathing. Using a small amount of lukewarm water and pet-friendly shampoos, the groomer will wash down your Poodle, making sure to clean out any excess dirt that may have built up over time. It is important when washing the dog that the ear area is thoroughly cleaned. This is because harmful bacteria tend to quickly build up around this area, and if left unchecked it can cause an infection or worse.
Dogs explore the world with their mouths, and as such, they are prone to plaque build-up over time. While chew toys and dentistry treats can alleviate some of the plaque, some groomers will give the dog’s teeth a thorough brush, taking care of those particularly hard-to-reach spots.
As with teeth, a dog’s nails can build up dirt and harmful bacteria if unattended to. Nails also pose the problem of becoming painful if left to grow out. As such a groomer will dedicate extra care to the cleaning and cutting of your dog’s nails to make sure that they are kept in good condition.
The final thing a groomer will do is attend to your Poodle’s hair. This consists of two types of cuts. The first is a short trim. This is usually done with clippers and helps with any hair that may be obscuring the eyes or feet of the dog. For this reason, these cuts need to be relatively short, ensuring that the hair causes the dog no issues in daily life.
The second cut is purely cosmetic. These are the ever-popular hairstyles that you see dominating in dog shows. There are a variety of ways to shape and style the longer part of a Poodles coat, and with such creative freedom, it is up to you and the groomer to decide what style will best suit your dog.
How Short Should you Go?
Unlike a double-coated breed where it is essential to keep in mind that a shave down can cause permanent damage to the dog’s coat, the Poodle’s single coat can be safely groomed super short should you choose to do so.
The shortness you should go to varies between dogs, with factors such as your Poodles skin sensitivity playing a large part in the decision. In this case, it is a safe bet to choose a lower blade number (such as a 9 or a 10) in order to avoid aggravating the skin.
However, providing there are no skin issues and because of their single-layered coat, it is possible to go right to the wire with some cuts, such as the continental.
Higher blade numbers will also mean that your dog’s face won’t need shaving as often, and for this reason, professional groomers with more experience shaving Poodles tend to use a higher blade number. The bigger the number, the finer the clip.
How Often will my Poodle Need Grooming? Is it Dog-Dependent?
Your Poodle should be groomed approximately every 6 weeks. While some dogs may grow hair faster or slower, Poodles are a particularly high maintenance dog thanks to the fact that they shed very little of their coat.
Due to this reduced rate of shedding, as well as donning such a dense coat, Poodles are prone to tangling and matting. It is for this reason that you should be brushing your dog every two days at the very minimum. You may be able to reduce the risk of hair-related issues by brushing daily, however it is good practice to visit the groomer on a regular basis to ensure your dog is being treated by a professional.
It’s important to get your Poodle groomed regularly as failure to do so may result in an increased risk of potential injuries as the hair around the dogs eyes can begin to significantly reduce vision, as well as the hair on the bottom of its paws increasing the likelihood of slipping or tripping up.
Should you Always Use a Professional?
It is advisable that you always seek professional grooming if you have the option. Of course, if this isn’t doable, there are resources online to help you avoid making mistakes if you are in a situation where you need to trim your dog yourself. That being said, it is always a safe bet to leave grooming to a qualified groomer.
These professionals will have access to facilities that ensure your dog’s safety throughout the process, as well as having the right equipment and products to ensure your dog is properly groomed. Along with this, these people have experience with grooming and handling a wide variety of breeds and personality types, meaning they are well versed in ensuring your dog is safe and happy throughout.
Professional groomers will be able to make sure that your dog’s coat and hygiene is the best it can be, and as they are required to have a working knowledge of the issues and conditions a dog may face, they may be able to identify issues you may not have noticed – or even proactively deter them.
Does the Hair in Different Places Grow at Different Rates?
After their initial puppy coat, Poodles develop a dense curly coat that covers them from head to toe. This coat is low to non-shedding and hypoallergenic and therefore needs constant maintenance in order to avoid any issues.
With such a consistent coat, Poodle’s hair grows at the same rate across their body. This can be a blessing or a curse, as this hair is quickly growing and doesn’t shed. This means that Poodles are prone to matting and tangling. To avoid these issues, it is suggested that you keep a keen eye on your dog’s coat, and attend to any issues immediately.
What Brush Should you Use?
When de-matting and brushing your Poodles coat, you should be using either a slicker or pin brush.
A slicker brush is made of fine and short wires. These brushes are specifically designed for de-matting, however, you should exercise caution when brushing your Poodle with a slicker, as they can be painful if too much pressure is applied.
A pin brush has wider gaps between bristles and protective balls at the end of the wires. The larger gaps and protected ends make pin brushes ideal for a thorough brushing – great for tackling those larger matts and tangles.
Poodles are world-famous for their stylish coat, however, by now you should be well aware of the effort it takes to maintain that much hair. Quick growing, and low to non-shedding, to keep a Poodle looking and feeling good requires regular attention and frequent trips to the groomers.
There are many aspects to keeping your Poodle’s coat in good condition, and to cover them all in one article would be an impossible task. But if you’re still looking for more information on how to keep your Poodle looking and feeling good, then worry not, because we have a range of articles covering everything you need to know.
So, if you are looking to learn more, you should definitely check out our article on ‘The Clean Feet Poodle: Why are They Shaved?’ to learn more!