How To Care For My Dogs Skin And Coat

Why is grooming important?

A glossy, shiny coat is a sign of a healthy pet. Providing a nutritional diet and regular grooming can help to keep skin happy and healthy.

Grooming is a fantastic way to bond with your pet and allow you to perform health checks at the same time. It improves circulation and improves coat condition, bringing out natural oils from the skin. Removing loose and excess hair helps to keep pets cool in hot weather and prevents hairballs in cats and rabbits.

The coat/hair type will vary how often your pet will need grooming. Most pets will moult a little throughout the year but have a larger shed in Autumn and Spring; grooming should be increased during these times to help rid the pet of dead hair.

It is best to start grooming from a young age to allow them to get used to it, especially if they have a long or thick coat! Grooming should be an enjoyable experience.

Different Breeds

Short & Smooth Coated Breeds

Example: Smooth Coat Jack Russell, Whippet, Siamese, short coat moggie

Average grooming required: One to four times monthly

Even short haired pets need to be groomed, some of these breeds also moult a lot so grooming is required to keep this in check! If your pet has a very thin coat, like a Whippet, make sure you are not heavy handed and use a soft bristle brush to ensure no discomfort.

We recommend: The Great&Small Grooming Glove and the Great&Small Soft Bristle Brush.

Medium Coated Breeds

Example: Labrador

Average grooming required: Once per week

We recommend: The Great&Small Medium Tooth Comb and the Great&Small Rubber Groomer.

Thick & Double Coated Breeds

Example: GSD, Akita, Husky, Pomeranian, Collie, Golden Retriever

Average grooming required: At least once per week

Neglecting to groom double coated breeds regularly will result in heavy matting and discomfort. Removing loose undercoat is an absolute must, to stop matting and keeping them cool in warm weather. Dogs like Golden Retrievers are heavy shedders so removing dead hair is essential. Care should be taken to resist temptation to over groom double coated breeds – if in doubt it is always best to speak to a professional groomer to ensure you get the best results from regular grooming.

We recommend: Great&Small Double Rotating Rake Comb.

Long & Fine Coated Breeds

Example: Persian, Ragdoll, Shih Tzu, Yorkie, Poodle (full coat), Afghan, Lhasa Apso

Average grooming required: Daily

Daily grooming is essential for most long or fine coated breeds, their coats become matted very easily, causing discomfort.

We recommend: Great&Small Double Rotating Rake Comb to comb through the coat, Great&Small Wide Tooth Comb for curly coats, once thoroughly brushed use the Great&Small Double Brush, Great&Small Slicker Brush or Great&Small Bamboo Pin Brush. The Great&Small Flea Comb and Great&Small Fine Tooth Comb are great for grooming the face.

Course & Wire Coated Breeds

Example: Wire Haired Dachshund, Border Terrier, West Highland Terrier

Average grooming required: Once per week

Some wire coated breeds need more grooming than others; Border Terriers can grow a fairly long coat if left unstripped. Grooming once a week will help remove dead hair, prevent matting and tidy up the coat. Shaving the coat is not recommended as it will alter the coat’s texture.

We recommend: The FurFixer which is a great alternative to stripping, it removes dead hair and does not alter the texture of the coat. For general grooming, we recommend Great&Small Rubber Groomer and Great&Small Double Brush. The Great&Small Flea Comb and Great&Small Fine Tooth Comb are great for grooming the face.

Small Animals

Example: Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Ferrets

Average grooming required: One to four times monthly

Rabbits can suffer from hairballs so regular grooming, especially during the shedding season, so it is essential to keep their fur in check. The hair can also become wrapped around their teeth and can prevent them from feeding. Long Haired rabbits can become matted easily, causing discomfort. Guinea Pigs and Ferrets will also benefit from regular grooming. Keep Rabbits and Guinea Pig’s bottoms areas trimmed and clean especially in the summer to avoid fly strike.

We recommend: Great&Small Soft Bristle Brush and Great&Small Double Brush.

Shedding Advice

Pets can shed all year round, but tend to shed more in the Autumn or Spring. Feeding a high quality food rich in Omega 3 & 6 and rich in fatty acids such as More, Canagan, McAdams and R.O.R will help to reduce shedding.

The more you groom, the less your pet will shed! For pets that shed a lot of hair you might find that a FurFixer will reduce shedding by up to 90% and speed up the process. The Great&Small Rubber Groomer and the Great&Small Grooming Glove will help to remove loose hair during this process.


Hygiene Check

Grooming your pet will give you a great chance to check teeth, nails and ears up close to ensure they are clean and healthy, and that nails are not overgrown. Like grooming, the earlier you can get your pet used to having these checks the better for both of you!

Nail Trimming

Pets that walk on pavements a lot will find that their nails need little maintenance, but from time to time you may need to trim their nails to stop your pet from becoming uncomfortable as the nail grows. The rate at which you should do this will vary from each animal. There is a blood vessel within the nail called the ‘quick’, this is visible in clear nails but invisible in black nails. You must be very careful not to cut the nail too short or you will catch the ‘quick’ and cause discomfort.

We recommend the Great&Small Nail Clippers and Great&Small Guillotine Clippers for trimming nails. You can help take away sharp edges are trimming by using the Ancol Nail File.


There are number of treats you can feed your pet alongside their diet to boost their skin and coat, True Hemp Skin & Coat Treats and True Hemp Dental Sticks for Skin & Coat are natural treats to give your dog an Omega 3 boost. The Great&Small ChewOn Skin & Coat Care Bones have many benefits including getting Omega oils and iron into your dog diet. Ship’s Cat 10% Natural Prawn Bites are a sustainably sourced fish treats, great for skin, coat and joint mobility.


Not all animals like getting wet but from time to time you may need to bath them, after long muddy walks or for special occasions. We recommend the Dogwood range, 100% natural, contains no soaps, phosphates or DEA. The shampoos and mists keep your pets skin and coat healthy, clean and fresh, without stripping the coat of natural oils, and maintaining the correct PH balance of your dog’s skin.


To get expert grooming advice visit one of our Dogwood Spas, to find your nearest location click here.

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