All dogs have natural instincts to keep their coats clean, e.g., rolling around on the floor, licking or chewing any mats in their fur. However, for optimal cleaning, your Lhasa Apso will need some help from their best friend - you.
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When you regularly groom your Lhasa Apso, you not only help keep them clean, you are also helping to keep them healthy: ignored matted hair can lead to yeast infections; uncared for teeth can lead to periodontal disease; overlooked ears can lead to a buildup of ear wax that can trap dirt and bacteria causing ear infections.
While regular grooming is serious business, it should nevertheless be fun and enjoyable for both you and your Lhasa Apso - and it will be, if you keep these guidelines in mind:
First, if you do not have the time to thoroughly groom your Lhasa Apso (because it can be time consuming), do not feel guilty - simply take them to a professional groomer.
Second, if you're going to tackle grooming sessions by yourself, establish a pattern and schedule, and if your pet is new or young, make sure your Apso is relaxed (setting a regular schedule will help), and start out by keeping the sessions short and easy, about 5 or 10 minutes. Gradually extend the sessions as your Apso gets used to being touched and handled. Also, gradually extend where you groom the Apso, i.e., into sensitive areas such as the ears, the stomach, around the mouth and eyes, and the feet.
Brushing: because the Apso's coat can be quite long, it is best to start with the undercoat and work your way to the top. Train your Apso to lie on it's side. To make the grooming as easy as possible, use a warm anti-static mixture, e.g., a detangler or creme rinse with water. Lightly mist each area before you start. Start with the tail, then the back legs, then the front legs, and then the tummy area. Turn the dog over and repeat. Finish with the neck, ears, face, and the top of the head.
After brushing, you can then bath your Apso. First, completly wet your Lhasa. Second, apply the shampoo to the Lhasa's coat in a downward - not circular - motion; a circular motion will tend the tangle the Lhasa's coat. When you are finished, remove excess water by squeezing and pressing the coat between a towel - no rubbing. Once you've removed the excess water, end by completely drying your Apso with a hand held blow dryer set at a comfortable temperature and speed.
Other areas to pay attention to are the Lhasa's nails, teeth, and ears. These areas can be tricky, and both you and your Lhasa should be relaxed and patient. Use only clippers designed for dog nails, and clip only the tip to avoid clipping any veins. Brush your dog's teeth only with toothpaste and bushes designed for use on a dog. Finally, use a Q-tip to clean only the exterior of the ears - never put the Q-tip inside the ear. If you are not comfortable doing any this, or if you feel you just do not have the time, use a professional groomer.
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