Some of the best tips for grooming a poodle include thoroughly brushing the coat prior to bathing, and making sure the poodle's undercoat is free from matting. Grooming a poodle can be challenging because a poodle has a thick, curly coat with both a top coat and an undercoat. Daily brushing is imperative to keep the coat smooth and mat-free, and should be done with a slicker brush or metal grooming comb.
Grooming a poodle should be done on a regular basis, usually around every six weeks. If the soft undercoat is not regularly brushed, mats will occur, which will require cutting them out with scissors. This problem is even more pronounced in poodles and other dog breeds with thick, curly hair. Since poodles do not shed a great deal, maintaining their coats is relatively easy. Mat rakes and mat splitters should also be used when grooming a poodle to avoid pulling the hair.
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Poodles have long, floppy ears, predisposing them to ear infections and mites. Inspecting the ears and cleaning them with warm water and a soft cloth can help keep them clean and prevent itching and irritation. If the poodle begins scratching or excessively pawing at his ears, a trip to the veterinarian may be necessary to rule out infection or mite infestation.
Occasionally, when grooming a poodle is not done on a regular basis, the groomer may find it necessary to give the poodle a "puppy cut" which refers to cutting the fur close to the skin. When matting becomes severe, grooming a poodle can be extremely painful, so shaving the coat is generally the best option. Then, while the fur is growing back, it should be brushed on a regular basis to prevent future matting.
Even though poodles are considered happy and friendly breeds, rough grooming and inexperience may cause them to act out, from fear. This is the exception rather than the rule, however, but a poodle that is scared, anxious, or in pain may snap in its attempt to stop what's bothering it. When grooming a poodle, it is also important to cut its nails. Allowing the nails to become too long can make it difficult for the poodle to walk, and may even cause it to excessively bite or lick its paws.
Sometimes, poodles may experience "hot spots." These are areas of the skin that have become irritated and painful, causing the poodle to lick and bite at the area. Occasionally, the dog will bite at these irritated areas of skin. When grooming a poodle, its body should be inspected for hot spots and treated gently. When hot spots are noticed, the veterinarian should evaluate the skin to determine the best treatment.