Handsome Hounds & Pretty Pooches - Professional Dog Grooming and Teeth Cleaning Services in Mablethorpe - Where quality comes before quantity


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Grooming and Healthcare Tips from Handsome Hounds & Pretty Pooches

I am often asked questions about health care and grooming and have listed some of them which you may find helpful.

Q: I have a puppy when should I start brushing it?

A. It is important to introduce your puppy to a brush as early as possible in order for it to get used to it. Very young pups should have a small bristle brush brushed all over them. Remember to brush where you can’t see as well i.e. under armpits and between back legs. As the coat grows and changes texture choose a brush suitable to brush the coat thoroughly for example a slicker brush pictured here. After brushing use a comb to comb through the long hair to find any mats that the brush may not of loosened.


Recommended grooming equipment - Metal toothed combs and a slicker brush. Images provided by petmeds.co.uk

Recommended grooming equipment - Metal toothed combs and a slicker brush.

Q: How often should I brush my dog?

A. At least once a week depending on the breed. In an ideal world I suggest grooming daily if possible. It only takes a few minutes if you do it regularly. If your dog sits on your lap have a brush in your hand rather than just stroking it. Regular brushing reduces moulting and matting and encourages a healthy skin and hair growth.

Q: At what age should I start taking my pup to be groomed?

A. It is strongly recommended that your dog should be introduced to it's first grooming session around 3 – 4 months old. As soon as it has had it's injections. It is important to introduce your puppy to everything within it's first three months.

Q: How often is it safe to shampoo my dog?

A. With the right products, you can safely shampoo your dog every week although I would try not to. Modern canine shampoos and conditioners have put to rest old myths about too frequent bathing. Please note that most pet shampoos are designed not to lather up as much as human shampoo so don't think you have to put more shampoo on the dog to get a rich lather. Regular shampooing will help control odour and moulting. I do recommend that the bedding is changed at least once a week and washed in NON BIO powder.

Q: Can I use baby shampoo to bath my dog?

A. No, I do not recommend this although it has to be said that some customers and vets insist I do! Pets' skin has a different ph from ours and human products can be irritating to a pets skin. It's important to use a quality shampoo that is specifically formulated for pets and is rinsed out thoroughly. Always dilute shampoo with water before using I suggest you reuse an empty shampoo bottle. This will also prevent you using too much shampoo therefore your shampoo will last longer. Remember pet shampoo doesn't lather as much as human shampoo. Quite often irritations happen after shampooing because shampoo residue has been left in so rinse out well. It is important not to bath a matted dog as it makes the matting worse.

Q: I am too embarrassed to take my dog to the groomer as its coat is really matted and it won't let me brush it. What can I do?

A. A matted coat can cause severe discomfort to a dog or cat. There is very little that can be done except to the remove the matting which will make your pet more comfortable and enable to skin to breathe. Don't delay ring me and get it booked in. You may have to pay a bit more than usual but once the mats have been removed you can start to train your dog to accept the brush. I will show you how. You have a responsibility to keep your dog in a comfortable condition it is the law.

Q: How often should my dog have a haircut?

A. The answer depends upon both the breed of dog that you have and the amount of time that you can commit to the maintenance of your pet's coat. Unless you are willing to spend time every day brushing and combing your pet, your dog needs a haircut at least every six to ten weeks, depending upon the breed. I will be able to help you find a time scale that suits your dog's needs.

As a guide Cocker Spaniels, Westies, Cavaliers need a haircut every 8 – 10 weeks.

Fluffy coats, like Poodles and Bichons, need attention every four to six weeks as do dogs with long straight coats like the Shih Tzu or Afghan and soft-coated terriers like Kerry Blues and Wheatens.

Q: I have a shortcoated dog. Does he need grooming?

A. Short coated breeds have minimal grooming needs, but every dog does need attention. The coat should be brushed once a week to remove the shedding hair and to stimulate a good healthy protective cover.

Q: How do I choose a suitable haircut for my dog?

A. If you need help with this answer then please do not hesitate to call me. I can explain the requirements for achieving a style in terms of maintenance and cost. Please remember I am a beautician and not a magician! If your dog comes to me all matted then I will probably have to clip it all off and start again. The internet is a good place to look for desired hair cuts.

The style you choose for your pet should take into consideration how much time and money you want to spend maintaining the style along with its lifestyle.

Q: I have just got my first dog and have no idea how to brush it. Can you help?

A. Yes I can. Bring your dog in as soon as it has had it's vaccinations and I will show you what to do and suggest the appropriate tools you need to buy.

Q: My dog keeps scratching his ears, what shall I do?

A. If there is a bad smell or the ears are dirty and or inflamed you need to take your dog to the vets as it will probably have an ear infection. Do not try and treat yourself without seeing a vet. Ear infections can be very painful and cause long term damage if not treated. Some times they get ear mites which can be passed onto other pets so early action is required. Part of your dogs care is to check its ears regularly. Your dog will get an ear clean as part of it's grooming experience when it visits me. I will alert you if I feel it requires veterinary attention.

Q: My dog keeps chewing his back end and dragging his bottom on the floor. Sometimes it smells funny as well. What should I do?

A. You must take it to the vet without delay. It may have a problem with the anal glands which are situated either side of the anus. Sometimes these get blocked and need emptying. If the problem is left it can be very serious for the dog. An anal gland smell is very distinctive once you have smelt it you will know!

Q: My dog keeps scratching itself and even rubs itself along the carpet and furniture. What is wrong with it?

A. Dogs which are constantly itching can cause damage to themselves so it is important not to ignore it. Just because he has "always done it" doesn't mean it is normal. Make sure you treat it regularly for fleas and ticks and wash it's bedding in NON BIO washing powder. Check to see if you can see any skin infection, scabs or redness. If you can take it to the vet. Sometimes dogs are allergic to dust, certain foods or pollen so the vet will have to do some tests. Ensure you feed a high quality dog food and avoid feeding human leftovers. Cheap dog food is often the cause for irritations and licking particularly involving the feet. If you have a white dog with red stained feet this is caused by too much licking. If the coat is very matted this could also be the cause of irritation so get it booked in with me as soon as possible.

Q: Is it too cold in the winter to have the coat cut? Won't my dog get cold if it is?

A. A long coat in the winter is the last thing your dog needs. My Spaniel gets clipped off in Winter and I wouldn't do it to her if I thought it cruel. A long coat will get caked in mud and takes ages to dry out. My Spaniel would take four hours at least to thoroughly dry out in the winter and whilst she is drying out she would get cold and shiver with all that wet coat hanging around her. I strongly suggest dogs are kept short in the Winter months especially Spaniels as the feet also get dreadfully matted when the mud dries hard in between their toes and pads. It will make them much cleaner around the house as well!

Q: How do I keep my dog cool in hot weather?

• Don't allow your dog to sun bathe, especially white coated dogs as they are prone to skin cancer.
• Give your dog a little paddling pool with a couple of inches of water in it so it can cool down in it. My Cocker Spaniel loves hers.
• Give your dog a cotton sheet to lie on instead of the synthetic covers sold with the beds. Make sure their bed is not in the sun and is in a cool part of the house.
• Avoid walking in the mid day sun. Choose walks which have a lot of shade and do not walk for so long. Take water with you to offer the dog.
• Dogs will pant to cool down so don't be too alarmed however a dog suffering from heat stroke will pant excessively. Place the dog on a cold wet towel in a cool area and sponge down with cold water. Offer it some fresh cold water and if it won't drink sponge the mouth area to encourage it to drink. If the gums and tongue change colour you must get to vet as soon as possible.
• Never leave a dog in a hot car even with the windows down.
• Placing a wet cold towel on the floor and/or over a dog will help cool it.
• Always provide ample fresh cold water which is not left in the sun. Ice cubes are also a good way to cool water and some dogs will enjoy chewing them. Some pet shops sell a meat flavoured ice lolly type treat.
• If you can't avoid walking in the direct sun consider buying a pet sun block. This is especially applicable to white coated dogs or dogs with very thin hair growth.
• Like us, dogs can get a bit grumpy in the heat so avoid stressful situations which may upset your dog such as young children teasing or wanting to play with it.
• There is a fabulous dog coat on the market which is like a chamois leather that you soak in water and place on the dog. I use one and although I receive a lot of verbal abuse from well meaning people thinking I am being cruel my dog is beautifully cool underneath it. Look up Cool coats for dogs I really recommend them.

Q: My Cockerpoo (or similar poodle cross) has a really matted difficult to manage coat and wont let me brush it. What can I do?

A. These cross breed dogs are becoming increasing popular but the new owners have no idea that these coats are extremely high maintenance. They need brushing daily to keep free from matt's with a slicker brush and comb to finish with. If you don't have the time to do this then I would suggest you keep the coat short. It will be impossible to have a long curly coat if you don't brush it daily to keep it matt free. As soon as you have your pup vaccinated make an appointment to come and see me. I will show you how brush it and make life easier for you and the pup. If the coat becomes matted I will have no choice but to clip off and that can look awful on a dog so young. SO you have been warned on a nice way - Brush daily or risk letting your pup become uncomfortable and needing a clip off. Avoid bathing a matted dog at all costs. The shampoo will make the matt's worse!

Q: My dog has had a grass seed in its ear (or paw). It has had to have an operation to have it removed. How can I prevent grass seeds from doing this again?

• Summer time is lovely for those walks in the country but a nightmare for dogs if they are not checked. After each walk check the paws, ears and all over your dog and pick out any seeds you see. Separate the hair between the pads in the feet and around the nail bed to ensure there aren't any lingering around.
• Keep your dogs hair short in the summer particularly around the feet and ears (Spaniels are particularly susceptible to grass seeds in ears and feet because of all that hair!)
• If you do notice your dog head shaking or paw licking excessively, then make an appointment at the vet. Don't wait for the problem to get worse. Seeds which get stuck and have not been noticed will cause great discomfort and a large vet bill to have them removed so act sooner rather than later.

If you have a question you would like answered please don't hesitate to contact me.

To make an appointment or discuss further please ring Nicki on
07508 443451.

Studio Opening Hours: 9.15am - 6.15pm Monday to Friday. Closed Saturday - Sunday.


This phone is answered between 9.15am - 6.30 pm weekdays. Answer machine out of these hours. Leave a message and I will phone you back.

The Komondor Dog is meant to look like this. Image provided by http://divaboo.info/


(only joking this dog should look like this. I think the owner would sue me if I clipped this coat off!)


A 12 month old Wheaton Terrior before and after grooming

This 12 month old Wheaton Terrier came in for its first clip! The poor dog was 100% matted from head to tail. The middle picture shows the coat being clipped like a lambs fleece. All this matting had made the dog very uncomfortable and the skin was sore in many places. I had no option but to clip off - poor thing!


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paw prints image