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I was in my early twenties when I began exhibiting Rottweilers in AKC dog shows; I had no idea what I was getting into nor did I realize the time, money and effort it took to create an AKC Champion. Dogs have to be trained, physically conditioned and groomed. Once they’re ready to hit the show ring, the owner will have travel expenses, show entry fees, and fees for a professional dog show handler if they aren’t exhibiting their own dog. Once they become an AKC Champion, owners have the option of trying to earn enough “points” to gain a coveted invitation to the prestigious Westminster Dog Show. I haven’t exhibited a dog in close to 7 years, but I still visit a show from time to time. Today I’m sharing tips for grooming your dog like a pro and information on how you can win one of hundreds of prizes from Purina and Petco.
We purchased our Rottweiler Kitty last spring as a pet. Our previous Rottweiler Chief had been a rescue and he passed away fairly young from cancer. I wanted a puppy/young dog that could grow up as a companion to Gabe, so I found a reputable breed who conducted the appropriate health clearances and showed her own dogs. Kitty’s sire is an AKC Champion, and we’ve discussed possibly showing Kitty when she’s old enough. Right now she’s content with the roles of farm dog, couch potato, playmate, and our family jester. We like to keep her groomed and looking her best, even if she never enters the show ring.
Strong muscles and a shiny coat begin with good nutrition. The past 10 Westminster Best in Show Champions were fed Purina® Pro Plan® brand dog food. It contains high-quality ingredients that can improve coat health and promote lean muscle mass. It’s available in 5 formulas including:
- Purina® Pro Plan® Focus which includes lines such as Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach Salmon & Rice Formula and Adult Weight Management Formula
- Purina® Pro Plan® Bright Mind™ – which is formulated for dogs over 7 years old
- Purina® Pro Plan® Sport® – performance formula when contains a ratio of 30% protein to 20% fat
- Purina® Pro Plan® Puppy- formulated for puppies and includes antioxidants to boost a puppy’s immune system and DHA to nourish brain and vision development
- Purina® Pro Plan® Savor®- which is available in several protein specific shredded blends formulas.
Our Kitty is eating Purina Pro Plan Sport Dog Food because she has very active days playing on the farm; it promotes endurance by optimizing oxygen metabolism. Our terrier mix Matilda eats Purina Pro Plan Focus Small Breed Dog Food because it’s specialized for adult dogs weighing under 20 pounds and it has perfect size bites for her small mouth.
Tips For Grooming Your Dog Like A Pro:
- My biggest piece of advice is if your dog doesn’t like being groomed, try to make it fun for them and exhaust them before the grooming process. Other than the occasional nail trimming, our dogs don’t mind the brushing and the bathing. It’s much easier to groom a tired dog than an overstimulated one. If your dog likes to play fetch, toss the ball around before you start. You could also try to taking a long walk.
- Invest in the proper grooming tools for your dogs coat. Rottweilers typically have short coats with an undercoat. Matilda, the terrier mix, has a longer, wiry coat. I have tools for both. If you have a dog prone to shedding, it’s best to use a shedding blade regularly. It helps to gently remove loose coat. Dogs with double coats need an undercoat rake to power through thick fur. Slicker brushes are good for all coat types and can help remove tangles. Our Matilda needs a bristle brush to help detangle her wiry coat, as do lots of other terrier breeds. Combs and pin brushes are best for long coated breeds. They glide through hair gently and can help you detangle an unruly coat. Several breeds/mixes might require the occasional clipping, I recommend leaving that to a professional groomer.
- Regularly nail trimming must be a regular habit. Our terrier-mix is much more difficult to trim her nails, than our Rottweiler. We started trimming Kitty’s nails early and we discovered what works with her. They key is getting your dog into a comfortable position. Invest in a heavy duty set of nail clippers that have an adjustable guard. The guard helps prevent you from clipping off too much nail and hitting the quick. Clipping into the nail quick can be very painful and can cause more bleeding than you imagine. It’s often visible on the underside of a dog’s nail. When the guard is lowered on the nail clippers, it only allows you to clip off a small amount of nail at a time. You can try rolling your dog on it’s back or side, allowing them to stand while you lift their paw, or with larger dogs you can often clip nails while their feet are still firmly planted on the floor. It’s always good to keep a small bottle of styptic powder on hand in case you cut into the nail quick and you need to quickly stop the bleeding.
- Purchase some ear cleaning solution and/or wipes to quickly wipe out ears. This can help greatly reduce the number of bacterial and yeast ear infections in your dog. Just like in humans, you don’t want to push anything down in the ear canal.
- Dental health is important too. Regularly brush your dog’s teeth.
- Do you use a combination shampoo and conditioner on your hair? If you don’t, why not? In all likelihood it’s because you don’t think it works as efficiently as separate shampoo and conditioner. The same holds true for dogs. Using a separate shampoo and conditioner adds an additional step to your grooming routine, but it could help your dog’s coat. I generally wash my dog’s hair twice to make sure an excess dirt or oil is removed. It’s very important to rinse their coat well with cool water, residual shampoo or conditioner can irritate your dog’s skin. If applying a separate conditioner, allow it to soak into the coat for a few moments before rinsing.
- Brush your dog again and towel dry. You could also invest in an inexpensive dog dryer, if you really want them to look professionally groomed. Dog dryers push cooler air, faster than human hair dryers.
Enjoy your fresh smelling groomed dog, as long as it lasts; with our Kitty it might last a few mins or a few days.
Just remember that good grooming habits can’t make up for poor nutrition. It’s important that your dog eats a high quality diet to help ensure strong bones and muscles, and improve coat health. Purina Pro Plan is Nutrition that Performs®. You can find the entire line of Purina Pro Plan formulas at your local Petco store. You an also enter to win one of hundreds of prizes by buying your Purina Pro Plan Dry Dog Food at Petco and texting CHAMP to 35350 to find out how to submit your receipt to enter.
You learn more about how Purina Pro Plan has fueled the last 10 Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show Champions by watching this short video.
Do you have a regularly grooming routine for your dog? I hope these tips for grooming your dog like a pro were helpful and that you’ll check out the line of Purina Pro Plan dog food available at Petco.