Poodles are one of the dog breeds whose coats can become unruly if not properly groomed on a regular basis. And things can get rather "hairy" if this issue is not appropriately dealt with as soon as possible.
Besides the risk of running into issues with your aging Poodle's coat sooner or later, the lack of proper and regular grooming can also affect your dog's teeth, eyes, and mobility, not to mention the negative impact on his overall immune system health.
Regardless if your senior pooch is a Standard poodle or perhaps the Miniature or Toy variety, being familiar with the right pet grooming strategies can make a big difference in giving your canine best friend the quality of life he deserves, especially during his beyond adult years.
If you're a senior Poodle owner who's looking to take your pet grooming know-how up a notch, then this blog post is for you. Make sure you read on to find out how to really provide your golden-aged dog the Poodle grooming he really needs.
A Crucial Reminder for Senior Poodle Owners
Unlike what a lot of canine parents mistakenly think, proper and regular Poodle grooming shouldn't just be considered as something that's only needed for a dog show or a similar event. You can think of it as an essential factor in keeping aging dogs healthy and happy.
Poodle grooming is a continuous commitment.
If we're being honest, many people often become really engaged in the grooming process when they've got a Poodle puppy. However, they tend to gradually lose interest in usual grooming activities like regularly trimming and brushing their Poodle's hair when their dog gets much older.
Just to be clear, it's not just Poodle hair that we're talking about when the term "grooming" is mentioned.
It actually affects your pet's body as a whole. Many dogs often become inadvertently exposed to wellness issues like sensitive skin, irritations, mobility difficulties, oral and dental health problems, as well as parasites when consistent grooming is neglected.
The adverse consequences of the lack of grooming affect all types of Poodles.
It is crucial to remember that these wellness problems won't choose a particular Poodle variety and will indiscriminately strike at Standard Poodles, Miniature Poodles, and even their Toy cousins.
Some common effects of neglecting regular dog grooming include the infestation of mites in your aging Poodle's ears or a case of pink eye affecting your dog's eyes.
What's even more alarming is that these health issues can set off even more serious wellness problems if not taken care of the right way.
Unkempt long hair in aging Poodles can lead to hair matting and tangling, while excessive plaque buildup can subsequently result in gum disease and tooth decay.
Interestingly, all of these can be kept in check if you have a regular grooming routine for your golden-aged canine companion. And it's not that complicated to pull off as you will find out when you follow along.
Aging Poodle Hair Needs a Lot of Care and Attention
A senior dog goes through a lot of changes when he reaches his golden years. Some of these changes are physical in nature, particularly the loss of shine and luster of his Poodle coat.
Although this may seem like an "aesthetic" issue at first, like giving your dog a "Continental clip" or some other Poodle hairstyle, it's actually more than that.
See, when your Poodle is already beyond adulthood, failing to give him the proper grooming on a regular basis can have a big impact on his overall wellness.
It isn't just about the appearance of your pet's hair or coat. It can also affect your dog's skin and other body parts if neglected.
And chances are if your Toy, Miniature, or Standard Poodle is not getting the regular grooming he needs, his ears, nails, teeth, and eyes, among others, will also be at risk of illness and disease in the long run.
A poodle puppy requires a different kind of pet grooming.
When it comes to grooming, a senior Poodle will require a different treatment compared to a puppy or a juvenile adult. More often than not, older dogs twitch and wiggle a lot when you use a slicker brush to remove mats or when getting their nails trimmed.
Always remember that grooming a golden-aged dog is not as easy as giving a puppy trim. You also have to be very attentive when you use scissors or thinning shears when working on your aging Poodle's neck, belly, and tail base since he won't be staying put for a long time.
In short, grooming a senior Poodle will be a bit of a challenge.
However, as we've pointed out earlier, doing so is a continuous commitment to really give your canine best friend the quality of life he deserves. (You can also always hire the services of a professional groomer as an alternative option.)
Risks of Not Giving Your Senior Poodle's Coat Proper and Regular Grooming
Failing to properly groom your much older dog in a consistent manner won't just make him prone to a lot of bad hair days, but also to some other adverse health issues.
Below are the possible problems your Toy, Miniature or Standard Poodle will encounter if he's not placed on the grooming table as often as he should:
At its simplest, the term "grooming" primarily refers to the cleaning and hygienic care of dogs. This includes activities like bath time and getting rid of long nails.
Allowing dirt and gunk to accumulate in your pet's body, especially when you don't trim his hair and fur, will eventually attract odor-causing bacteria.
Just to reiterate, you are not merely taking care of appearances when you groom aging Poodles.
Each time you give your pet a thorough brushing or a wipe down, you're also making sure that he won't unexpectedly give off an unpleasant smell.
Tangling and matting
Matting and tangling basically mean that your senior Poodle's hair and fur have clumped together.
Besides causing discomfort, these issues can also make your canine companion prone to skin issues like irritation, rashes, hot spots, as well as fungal infection.
What's even more alarming is that when a dog has a tangled and matted coat, it becomes very difficult to notice the presence of disease-causing parasites like ticks, fleas, and unwanted visitors.
This is the reason why have to carefully trim the same at a uniform length on a regular basis.
Pro-tip: shorter hair in Miniature, Toy, and Standard Poodles is much easier to manage, especially when coupled with thorough brushing and frequent trimming. Having a slicker brush for his hair is also essential when tangles and mats are concerned.
Difficulty in movement
As we've emphasized previously, overgrown hair and fur can lead to tangles and mats. And these could become more and more ensnarled if not given the right trimming or attention.
The longer these develop and clump together, the more compact they will become, especially among long-haired Poodles.
See, even when your dog does gently lift his legs or move his body slowly, it will be rather difficult for him to make even the slightest maneuver.
This is because these mats and tangles will create a pinching sensation. This discomfort will just become more and more intense making movement very burdensome.
Susceptibility to skin issues and infections
If you can't remember the last time you gave your Miniature, Toy and Standard poodle a trim or a brush, it's highly likely that he is already going through some type of skin issue or infection.
This can include dry skin, rashes, sores, dandruff, hot spots, itchiness as well as the risk of having ringworm and pyoderma.
Additionally, skin issues and similar conditions can also spread to other areas of the body like your dog's neck and head.
Failing to groom your aging Poodle on a regular basis can possibly result in the inflammation of hair follicles, too.
Risk of parasites
Unkempt hair and coats in Toy, Miniature, and Standard Poodles are very attractive to parasites. Not making it a regular habit to brush and trim your pet's fur can invite the sudden occupancy of lice, mites, fleas, and ticks.
The presence of these parasites will not just be uncomfortable for your dog, but will also make him susceptible to a lot of possible health issues.
This can be anything from contact dermatitis and anemia to canine Bartonellosis and even the risk of tapeworm infestation.
Overheating or hypothermia
Matted and tangled coats in a senior Poodle can make it very difficult for him to regulate his temperature.
This means he won't be able to properly stay cool during warm weather. The same is also going to be true when it comes to staying warm when the weather is cold.
This risk can even become potentially fatal in certain situations like when you take your aging Poodle for a walk on a hot day.
Although brushing and trimming your aging Poodle will only take a few minutes or so, its benefits can literally help save his life.
Mental health issues
Imagine a situation where you can't move properly or experience a lot of pain and discomfort without a warning. Wouldn't that make you feel really annoyed and irritated?
Sadly, this is what your aging Poodle may be going through all the time when he has an unkempt or poorly groomed coat.
This can lead to very high levels of stress, which can eventually result in anxiety and even depression in senior dogs. Additionally, these mental health issues can also affect puppies and juvenile adults of the breed.
Is Professional Grooming Really Required for Your Aging Poodle's Hair?
If we're being honest, the answer to this question is it depends. There are actually a lot of useful resources online where you can gather tips and pointers with regard to appropriately grooming your beyond adult Poodle.
Examples of these include YouTube videos and instructional clips on other social media platforms. You can even learn a lot when you sign up for a free e-book on relevant pet health and wellness sites like Zumalka.
There are grooming strategies that you can easily do yourself.
If you're a seasoned dog parent, chances are you're already a "home groomer." This means you are familiar with basic grooming strategies like brushing and trimming your pet's coat, getting rid of the gunk in his ears, as well as keeping his nails short and clean.
There's even a possibility that you've got a grooming table at home, too.
There are also grooming strategies where you'll need professional help.
As a Poodle parent, it is highly likely that you've already heard of the terms "Continental clip," "Bikini clip," "Lamb cut," "Top knot" and "Miami clip." These require special skills, experience, and tools (like a special "chosen clip," a guard comb, and curved scissors) to pull off.
And it's best if you leave these aspects to the pros.
Additionally, if there are grooming strategies that you're not that confident to take on, such as nail trimming and hygiene care for your dog's nose, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional groomer to get the job done. This will save you a lot of time and effort—not to mention the risk of untoward incidents in the process.
How Often Should You Groom Beyond Adult Poodles?
Before we tackle this part of our discussion, we'd just like to stress that there is no universal answer to this question. This is because senior Poodle grooming involves a lot of key factors that you should consider to make things as successful as possible. We will explain this more in detail as we go along.
Routine grooming is different between Poodle puppies and their senior counterparts.
Although grooming between aging Poodles and the younger members of the breed (like a puppy or juvenile adult) basically involves cleaning and hygienic care in the general sense, factors like size, strength, and underlying health conditions should not be overlooked.
A Poodle puppy is not going to be that wiggly and can easily be kept in place. Older dogs will tend to be more fidgety and will need more effort to restrain. Another aspect to take into consideration is the difference in size between a puppy and a senior dog.
Poodle grooming is rather diverse and depends on several factors.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Poodle breed has distinct varieties. What works for a Standard Poodle may not be that effective to the Miniature or Toy type and vice versa. To reiterate, age, size and underlying health issues must always be in your checklist.
Key areas to consider when it comes to the senior Poodle grooming process.
As we've highlighted earlier, grooming aging dogs is not just about keeping their coats as clean as possible. It rather involves their bodies as a whole. However, just to give you a simple and practical guide, the following must be deemed as "priority areas" when grooming your golden-aged dog:
Teeth, tongue and gums
Inner thigh and belly
Paw pads and spaces between the toes
Key Grooming Tips for Aging Poodles You Should Remember
Maintaining your golden-aged Poodle's coat as gorgeous as can be—while helping him stay happy and healthy—is not that tricky to achieve. Make sure you include these straightforward pointers in your home grooming guide and you're sure to be on the right track:
#1. Get in touch with a professional.
Before you do the actual grooming for your dog, don't forget to consult a pet wellness expert or a vet. This is to help you identify problem areas as well as get useful recommendations with respect to how you should groom, brush and trim your dog's hair and coat.
#2. Make a dog grooming schedule that is simple and realistic.
Time is a very important element when it comes to grooming dogs. Come up with a realistic grooming schedule that you can follow on a regular basis. Depending on the activities that you have in mind, having at least an hour to do so is recommended.
#3. Having the right tools is essential.
As a home groomer, you can't expect to successfully get the job done without the right tools. Use scissors designed to trim Poodle hair and fur and not just go for ordinary ones.
Having the right brush is also essential. Moreover, having an elevated surface as a working area is also important to keep your hands moving freely.
#4. Always remember to be as gentle as possible.
Notwithstanding the grooming activity you're doing, being gentle is the way to go when it comes to much older dogs. Keep in mind to brush gently always when dealing with an aging Poodle coat. Bath time should be done in a very light and tender manner, particularly when working around your dog's head. Trim hair purposefully but use a gentle method when doing so.
#5. Start grooming sessions short and build your way up.
It's not uncommon that your senior dog won't be that cooperative during a grooming session. As a home groomer, make it a point to brush his fur quickly but in a precise manner. The same technique should be applied to his ears during cleaning or when brushing his teeth to prevent tartar buildup.
It is crucial to be as gentle as you can the whole time regardless of the target areas you're working on, be it your dog's hair or fur, teeth, paw pads, or ears.
Moreover, make your aging pet feel that grooming is a bonding activity. Gradually make your sessions longer when you notice that he isn't that fidgety or impatient anymore.
#6. Keep a close eye on your senior dog's body language.
Observing your golden-aged Poodle's body language is a must during grooming. Take note of the body parts that he likes you to focus on and those that he isn't a big fan of.
Common signs to keep an eye on include leaning away, having his tails between his legs, and constant licking of his feet.
#7. Reward your aging pet with a treat as you go along.
Make it a point to have a reward before, during, and after your grooming session. This is especially important when you work on parts that need to be attended to thoroughly like his hair and fur.
As a home groomer, rewarding with treats helps your pet calm down. In your dog's perspective, he's going to have a great time. It's going to be a win-win situation for both of you.
HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne is a certified Homeopath with over ten years of experience creating natural products for cats and dogs. She co-founded eCommerce brand, Zumalka in 2013 with her husband Matt and is on a mission to help thousands of animals naturally improve their quality of life and shares her experience on their popular YouTube show. Hence, she created a line of high-performance natural pet supplements to target the root cause of common health issues.
Suzie was influenced by her mother-in-law, who practiced homeopathy and made natural remedies from home. After being on prescriptions for many years for a skin issue without resolution, she wanted to try something new. Her problems were cleared up within a few months of dedication to a better diet supplemented by homeopathic remedies. That's when she knew that homeopathy worked! During this process, she wondered why there weren't better options for pets and soon created a popular line of natural remedies that have helped thousands of pets across the USA.
When she’s not traveling or reading the next personal development book, you can find Suzie snowboarding, working out, or enjoying a daily hike.
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