Basic At Home Grooming Tips
"A dog's idea of personal grooming is to roll on a dead fish." ~James P Gorman
I'm sure our dogs would rather roll on fish or jump in mud than be groomed, but grooming not only provides us with a freshly shorn and fresh scented pet, regular grooming also helps us keep our loving companions healthy. Below are several at home tips along with professional grooming recommendations.
One of the most important things you can do for your new family member is brush, brush, brush! Along with professional grooming, your Australian Labradoodle needs routine combing or brushing at home to keep their silky soft coats matt free. Breeds which do not shed have a tendency to matt. We suggest brushing 3-4 times weekly from head to toe focusing on areas where your dog is prone to matts like under their legs, at the collar, and ears, as well as beard. Matting especially occurs when the coat is kept longer or when your dog is transitioning from a puppy to adult coat. Matts creep on you quickly! (We know this from personal experience) It's best to stay on top of them with routine brushing and combing vs having to have your dog's beautiful coat shaved down to the skin. Our favorite comb is a basic metal comb with wide and narrow teeth. We also like the "Doodle Brush" designed specifically for labradoodles.
Routine Ear Checks/Cleaning/Hair Plucking
Between trips to the veterinarian and professional groomer, while at home you want to keep a close eye on your dog's ears. Since the Australian Labradoodle has a floppy ear, he will be prone to ear infections if the ear is not kept clean and air is not allowed to circulate.
Ear hair: It is important that hair is plucked from your pets ears to ensure adequate airflow. Ears should be examined once a month for hair growth and the excess hair plucked. There is a powder which you can purchase to assist with this if you so desire to do at home.
Cleaning: After plucking the hair you should make use of a good ear cleansing solution to remove excess way and dirt. We recommend a solution that states it is cleaning and drying.
Wax: Australian's ears are overproducing wax, it could also be a sign that your dog has a food allergy or environmental allergy which is contributing to the wax production.
Some dogs really like to get a bath...most do not! Australian Labradoodles have naturally occurring oils which help protect their coat so weekly bathing should be avoided as it strips these healthy oils. Therefore, it is recommended to bathe your ALD every 3-4 weeks and some can go 5-6 weeks without a bath. If your pooch rolls in mud or something stinky or just starts to make your nose turn*, then go ahead and bathe. Before you bathe, however, you should brush completely from head to toe to get any matts out which have formed.
*Australian Labradoodles are not known to have a "stinky dog smell" if your dog starts to stink there could be an underlying condition. Your veterinarian can help you determine the root cause.
Nail Trimming and Paw Condition
You can expect your dog's nails needing to be trimmed every 2-4 weeks. There are numerous types of nail trimmers on the market. We personally like one which has a guide on the back to ensure we do not cut the quick of the nail.
While you are trimming your dog's nails it is also good to take a minute to look at his paws. Look for any sores between the pads, worn pads, or discoloration. If you see any of these issues, consult your veterinarian. Lastly, the fur between the pads of the paws also need regular trimming. It is a good idea to keep a small pair of scissors on hand and trim this fur while inspecting trimming their nails to decrease chance of matting and help your dog walk and run without hinderance.