Grooming Short-Haired Dogs
Short-haired dogs need grooming too! While it’s easy to assume short-haired dogs only require wash-and-go baths, they actually need a bit more. Short-haired dogs do shed. While their shedding coat doesn’t fall out in clumps during spring, it does slowly shed year-round.
Check out these 5 dog grooming tips that will keep your short-haired dog looking stunning regardless of the season. And be prepared for fellow short-haired dog owners to stop and ask, “How do you keep your dog’s coat so shiny?”
How Short is Short?
Just to make sure we’re on the same page, I classify short-haired dogs by their coat length. Short-haired dogs should have a coat length of 1 inch or shorter, and their hair should be very straight.
Examples of short-haired dog breeds are:
- Labrador Retrievers
- American Pit Bull Terriers
- Bull Terriers (Standard & Miniature)
- Boston Terriers
1. Invest in a Good Brush
Yup, short-haired dogs need to be brushed. Short-haired dogs need regular brushing with a really good brush made specifically for short hair. You’ll need a stiff bristle brush with bristles that are tightly pushed together to remove the maximum amount of dead hair. You can pick one up at your local pet supply store or, if you want to splurge on a super nice brush, I suggest Chris Christenson’s Original Ionic Brass Boar Brush (he has a nylon version too if the boar thing creeps you out). Use this brush for daily brushing on dry hair.
For baths, I highly recommend the Zoom Groom by Kong. For some reason, dogs tend to shed a bit more during a bath, so use this to your advantage. After applying shampoo to your dog’s coat, slowly brush in the direction of your dog’s coat.
2. Use a Gentle Dog Shampoo and Conditioner
Ideally, short-haired dogs should be bathed once a week. I know many old school dog owners still follow the timeless motto of “bathe your dog only when he needs it” rule, but I think times have changed. Dogs are sleeping in our beds now, going for walks and traveling with us; you’ve also got to remember they don’t wear shoes. Plus, bathing your dog weekly removes dead hair and dander and moisturizes your dog’s skin and coat.
Before bathing your dog, brush your dog thoroughly with a bristle brush first. This pre-bath step will help loosen and remove dead hair plus loosen dry skin flakes and dander, so shampoo can penetrate and moisturize your dog’s skin during the bathing process.
Choose a gentle and natural shampoo that rinses easily and leaves no residual stickiness behind. Check out this article on my favorite gentle dog shampoo and tips on washing your dog effortlessly.
Conditioner for Dogs
There’s a lot of debate on using conditioners on short-haired dogs’ coats. Personally, I think it depends on your dog’s coat needs. Also, conditioners have come a long way; they are no longer heavy oil-based concoctions that leave a greasy feeling after rinsing. Newer conditioners contain silk proteins, aloe and shea butter that moisturize your dog’s skin while leaving his coat feeling like soft, expensive suede.
For short-haired dogs, you’ll need light or leave-in conditioners that also protect your dog’s coat from the sun. My favorite is Chris Christenson’s Silk Spirits. It smells heavenly, can be used as a leave-in conditioner or rinsed out, and can be purchased on Amazon.
3. Keep Dog Nails Trimmed Short
While your dog is standing, take a look at his paws from the side. Nails should be touching the ground, which means you don’t hear tick-tick when he walks on hard surfaces. Long dog nails are painful, and will cause arthritis, so trim your dog’s nails weekly. Check out this article on trimming overgrown dog nails if your dog’s nails are way too long.
4. Keep Brushing Those Pearly Whites
I’m totally obsessed with canine dental hygiene; it’s something that can be easily prevented with daily brushings. Diseased teeth and gums not only smell bad and look horrible, but it can also cause heart and kidney disease too. If your dog’s breath smells, you’ll probably need to schedule a veterinary dental appointment. After your dog’s dental, keep his teeth clean with regular brushings.
5. Spot-Check Pads, Ears and “Down There”
During your dog’s bath, take a look at your dog’s paw pads, ears and genital area too.
Look for dryness, cracks or cuts on your dog’s paw pads and moisturize as needed. If your dog’s paws are dry and cracked, I would moisturize them with paw cream daily. For cuts, keep the area clean. If your dog is licking at the area or you notice his paw cut is getting worse, it’s time to schedule a vet visit.
Now, take a peek and sniff in your dog’s ears. You should see healthy light pink skin and your dog’s ears should be odor-free. If you see debris and it smells yeasty or foul in your dog’s ears, it’s time for a veterinary checkup.
Now, it’s time to look at your dog’s genital and anal area. 🙂 Female dogs, especially those spayed before one year of age, can develop brown residue around their vulvas. Don’t freak out. This residue can be easily and gently cleaned during their bath. For males, check the penis opening for healthy looking skin. If crust or redness is present, I suggest a vet checkup. Checking and cleaning your dog’s anal area is pretty important too. Dry fecal matter builds up in the area, which can irritate your dog’s skin. If you notice any discharge, swelling or lumps around your dog’s anus, I highly recommend scheduling a veterinary exam promptly. It could be anal gland issues or worse.
Now, you can certainly glam it up with spray glosses made for dogs, but that’s a whole other topic. Short-haired dogs can wear it all! 🙂