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Beth Johnston is a life-long animal lover who first groomed the family dog in the driveway at 10 years of age, and has been grooming animals for over 20 years, working with dogs, cats, rabbits, and horses. She has also successfully competed in canine events including conformation, rally obedience, and agility. She was a foster mom for the Central Carolina Poodle Club and helped rehabilitate and place poodles in forever homes. She is a certified member of the National Dog Groomers Association of America, and is certified with the American Red Cross in Canine First Aid and CPR. Beth currently owns, and can be found grooming her canine friends at, Beth’s Barks N Bubbles, LLC in Durham.

Actually your spaniel, as with most other breeds, should be getting more grooming and not less. The idea is to keep the coat from becoming tangled, which could cause even more discomfort for him. The coat should not be allowed to become so overgrown that removing the excess coat is a time consuming and difficult chore. The goal is to make the grooming easy, quick and comfortable.


You will want to make sure that: areas like the feet are trimmed to help your pet gain traction on slippery surfaces; hair around the eyes is kept trimmed to help reduce tearing and give maximum visibility (the muzzle and lip hair may need to be clipped short if your senior is now eating canned food and that area is becoming harder to keep clean); and that potty areas are kept short for ease of cleanup if your pet struggles with incontinence.

Now, for the body hair! Again, prevention of matting and excess coat is key. Senior pets should have short sessions with a brush and comb to remove any tangled areas or shedding coat. If your senior pet tires easily, train him to lay down on his side while you comb. This way he can rest while you are going over his body with the brush and comb. Carefully lift the legs and check areas that are prone to matting such as the armpit.

My large spaniel is getting

on in years and I worry about him. He has a hard time seeing and his arthritis seems to be getting worse. Shouldn't he be getting groomed less often? ~B. Smith, Chapel Hill, NC


Volume 2 • Issue 1 T The Triangle Dog

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