Tibetan Spaniels in Warrenton, VA
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Grooming the Tibetan Spaniel

Tips and hints on grooming your Tibetan Spaniel.

Deborah Ayer - May 2009

Grooming your dog is not just to keep him looking good - it is also necessary for his health. An ungroomed dog is more likely to get sick, smell bad, get parasites, and suffer from periodontal problems.

The most important aspects of home grooming are daily brushing and a regular bath.

Tibbies have a double coat that is of medium length and is very soft and silky to the touch. To keep this in tip-top condition, and knot-free, requires careful attention by the owner. Daily brushing is essential and a full grooming session should be planned for every month.

The daily grooming will be done with a pin brush, slicker or specialist comb (all available from the better pet stores and catalogs). This brushing will remove cotters and tangles before they build up to cause a serious problem. Knots, particularly under the arms and behind the ears can become very painful if left to build up.

When doing a more extensive grooming, it is important to make sure that you get the undercoat thoroughly brushed out as well as the top coat. If you don't, you run the risk of it getting matted when it is soaked in the bath.

When bathing your dog, it is easiest if you put him in a bathtub with an anti-slip mat in it to avoid him slipping about. This makes him easier to handle, as well as limiting the possibility of him slipping and getting hurt. Most dogs are not very keen on being bathed! It is important to recognize this and to talk to him in a soothing voice to keep him calm. If he still gets agitated, try putting him on a leash.

The bathing should be carried out using a gentle, purpose made dog shampoo. These are specially formulated to maintain the hair in good condition and keep it shiny, without stripping out the natural oils.

While bathing your dog, pay particular attention to the area around the eyes. Tibbies, like many small dogs, have a tendency to have the lower area of their eyes wet. If so, they need careful cleaning otherwise the area will stain. It is sometimes necessary to trim the hair away from the eyes, but this is best left to a professional.

Bath-time is also a good opportunity to check for any ticks that you may have missed during the daily brushing sessions. If you live in a town this is not likely to be a problem, but if he is walking in a park, or the countryside, ticks are a persistent problem in many parts of the country. They also carry serious diseases that as well as making your dog ill, can sometimes be transmitted to humans.

Before getting started with the bath, you must first get to work on his coat.

The first thing to tackle is untangling any knotted hair. Start out by brushing your dog with a hard comb being careful not to hurt him. It's best to use a quick, but not hard movement - see if you can watch a professional at work to see how they do it, or ask your breeder for a demonstration.

If knots are difficult to remove, special combs are available to help with the most difficult parts. The important thing is to keep your dog calm and make sure that he doesn't get either hurt or distressed. If he does, he will remember that next time you go to groom him, and it will make him more difficult to handle.

While you're grooming your dog, you should check his nails to see if they need trimming. You should ask your breeder how to do this - it's much easier to see it demonstrated than to describe it!

You will also want to check his teeth to see if they need cleaning. It's a good idea to brush them regularly anyway, and to have your veterinarian clean them professionally every couple of years.

If you practise these basic grooming techniques they will not take you long to master and will then only take a few minutes each day, but the effect on your dog will be noticeable. He will look and smell good, and be more likely to stay healthy, as well as being less likely to leave a trail of hair wherever he goes!

Deborah Ayer has been breeding and exhibiting dogs for over 20 years.  She shares her love and knowledge of the Tibetan Spaniel breed on her website Milestone Tibetan Spaniels.

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