Pancho here. I'm here to put to rest some misperceptions about grooming. I'm a dog's dog, you know. I like to get down and wrestle in a nice patch of dirt like any other dog, but that doesn't mean I don't take my grooming seriously. It's not just about looking sharp for me. It's about health. (And looking sharp. You hear that ladies?) Raaawr.
For example, I need a bath about every 2-3 months. I love to get lathered up and howl a little John Legend as I get washed from tip to tail. The acoustics in the bathroom are amazing. If I've participated in some aforementioned dirt wrestling or splashed around in a lake, river or unusually large puddle, I take a bath after that too. My human Gabby makes sure I use a safe, natural shampoo for dogs. No Pantene for me.
While a bath is a human's daily routine, mine is a good brushing. It makes my coat shiny, prevents matting, stimulates healthy skin and helps with shedding. Plus, it feels amazing, like a thousand tiny tickles across my back.
To keep my ears fresh, Gabby does what she calls a "smell test" by sticking her nose into my ear and taking a whiff. While she's there, she usually whispers that I'm the best dog ever, but that's beside the point. A clean ear smells like nothing at all. If she smells anything sour or sees redness or fluid, she cleans my ears with a special solution our vet recommended. (I love our vet, she smells like butternut squash.)
Getting a paw-dicure is not my favorite activity, but I do appreciate the feeling of nice, trimmed nails after the fact. When nails get too long, they are uncomfortable and can crack. Plus, they keep my paws from getting all the sensory info they need. Sometimes I get my nails trimmed at the groomers, and sometimes Gabby does it at home with a special set of clippers. Either, they are always careful to not trim into the quick, the blood-filled nerve that connects to the nail. YOW!
Keeping my teeth clean is a two-part process. First, Gabby makes sure I have lots of toys to chew on. This keeps tartar from building up and stimulates my gum. I also get my teeth brushed at least three times a week with special canine toothpaste and a toothbrush that Gabby insists is not a toy. (Sure seems like it would make a good toy to me. Just sayin'.)
Some of my long-haired friends need regular haircuts and trims, especially around their eyes and ears where hair can interfere with sight and ear health. This is best left to a professional--I've seen what happens when you humans trim your own bangs.
In warm months, my long-haired friends also enjoy a close shave--a coat of long hair is literally like wearing a coat of long hair in the summer. Feels good to them to take it off and not risk overheating in the summer sun.
And finally, let's talk about (ahem) delicate parts of dog grooming. It's important to keep the areas where 1 and 2 exit clean and clear so that 1 and 2 don't have any problems exiting. Some dogs need help expressing their anal glands, which I promise is as uncomfortable for us to think about as it is for you humans. But it's a necessary task if things get backed up, and some breeds need it more than others. If you notice a foul smell or your dog pulling his rump around on the carpet, it might be time.
So there you have it, grooming is a good idea for dogs, not just the ones named Fifi.