Doggy style: owners warned not to try lockdown hairdos for pooches

Dog owners should not have a go at cutting their pooch’s coat while professional grooming parlours remain closed during lockdown, animal care experts warn.

Susan Thomson advises owners to keep their pet’s coat looking its best with regular brushing while professional groomers are not working.

While many people have resorted to shearing their own or a loved one’s barnet while stuck at home –sometimes with hilarious results – it’s advised that only those who are skilled with clippers or scissors should give pets a trim.

A single wrong snip can easily injure an animal and spark a permanent fear of grooming, so it’s best not to take unnecessary risks.

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Susan Thomson, who runs the Laundromut holistic dog grooming service in Grangemouth, said regular washing and brushing is the best and safest way to keep furry friends happy and comfortable.

Only if fur has become matted should amateurs reach for the scissors, and great care should be taken.

“I have seen many photos on Facebook of grooms gone wrong. And not funny ones – a dog’s tongue almost taken off, a slice cut on a hind leg,” she said.

“Clipping a dog that is excited and moving about is nerve-wracking for the best of groomers. One quick move, even a sneeze, and you can cut the dog.”

She said a long shaggy coat should not upset a dog if it is properly managed and kept tangle-free.

“What is uncomfortable is matts in their coat, and there are areas that will matt more than others – behind ears, under arms, sanitary areas and legs.

“Imagine you had pebbles in your shoes when walking, or under your armpits – it’s sore and uncomfortable.

“Some dogs are more prone to matting, such as mixed breeds like labradoodles and cockapoos. These dogs require a lot of brushing. Also if they wear a harness, brushing in that area is required every single day.”

In response to calls from concerned clients she has recently begun offering “Zoom Grooms” via video conference call to help guide them through the process.

She also suggests pampering your pup in other ways such as painting their nails or tying up long fringes with a cute bobble or bow.

Edinburgh-based dog behaviour specialist Pamela Moffat, founder of Dog Training by Design, agrees that good coat care is crucial to keeping pets content – particularly when people and their pets are spending more time indoors together.

She said: “Grooming a dog is essential to avoid their coat becoming matted. It removes dead hair, skin cells and dirt, and brushing stimulates production of oils in the skin to help keep the coat shiny and healthy.”

It also lets owners check for lumps, bumps, fleas,ticks, overgrown claws or problems with teeth, ears and eyes.

She added: “You want them to be happy with handling and grooming – it should be a positive experience.

“Keep sessions short to begin with and watch their body language for any signs that they’re uncomfortable.

“A matted coat can make touching or stroking painful, and this can affect how the animal reacts.”

She suggests starting gently with a soft brush, and rewarding with treats. “This can take time, but be patient.”