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Chow Chows are often compared to giant teddy bears or even tamer and cuddlier lions due to their incredible puffy coats, but with big hair comes big responsibility.
If you were looking for a low-maintenance dog that you’d be able to go weeks or even months without grooming and maintenance, then this gorgeous breed probably isn’t for you and their lion-like fur coat requires a lot of TLC from their owners or groomers.
We’ll be guiding you through the best practices to groom and maintain your Chow Chow’s fur to keep it in prime condition and to prevent matting from occurring as well as some other grooming tips that can be carried out at home.
Step 1: Brushing
Before you even consider putting your chow chow in the bath, you’ll need to give them a thorough brush to remove any matting and loose hair from their coat – this will make it easier to brush them after they’ve been washed.
You should try to brush your chow chow daily if possible using a large slicker brush or metal comb to ensure all the matting is removed.
Chow chow tend to go through a shedding phase twice a year, in which you’ll need to pay particular attention to brushing more as it’s easier for their loose hair to get tangled in the coat.
Step 2: Bathing
Now it’s time to place your dog in a tub and begin soaking them with warm (not hot water) until they are completely covered.
Start applying your shampoo to the coat (ideally, a specialized formula for thick coats should be used), and make sure to squeeze it through the coat so you know it has reached the skin to be properly cleaned.
Rinse the shampoo in cool water to ensure the shampoo has been removed and then go in with a conditioner to nourish the coat (if the coat is damaged you may want to use a heavier conditioner).
Then rinse the conditioner out and make sure all the suds have been removed from the coat as any residue can lead to fungus growth on the coat.
Step 3: Drying
Grab a towel and begin to bloat your chow chow’s coat to remove excess moisture before going in with an HV dryer which is held a good distance from the fur to prevent it from drying out and becoming frizzy.
Continue drying until the coat is completely dried to the skin.
Step 4: Brushing
Once they’re dry, you’ll want to go back in with your brushes to remove any matting that has occurred during the drying process. It may be best to work in sections and is typically recommended to work from the feet up to avoid pulling at your dog’s hair.
Then try to brush through your dog’s coat with your hands to see if they get stuck to ensure there are no hidden areas where you might have missed.
Step 5: Hair Trimming
You won’t need to trim the body hair of your chow chow as it helps them to stay insulated in cold weather and if you’d like them to keep their puffy coat then you may want to tell your dog groomer this as well before they shave it all off.
You can save yourself a few bucks by attempting to tidy up and trim your chow chow’s fur coat yourself and it’s not even that hard.
Cut and trim away the excess hair on their feet to prevent dirt build-up and then move onto the hair around the ears using some special dog grooming scissors (be careful not to cut them).
You can feather the hairs on their legs and chest air to make it slightly thinner and shapely so their coat looks tidier.
Think carefully about what clip attachment you use to trim your dog’s body hair as choosing the wrong one could result in your chow chow looking unrecognizable.
Step 6: Cleaning
The final touches to grooming a chow chow are maintaining their nails, eyes, teeth, and ears.
Check your dog’s ears regularly and if they look dirty then pop some ear wash solution in the ear canal, wait a few seconds for it to settle, and then remove the dirt or wax with some cotton balls. Maintaining the fur around their ears is especially important as it can be easy for excess hair to get stuck inside.
You may want to use a damp warm cotton ball to wipe away any dirt or mucus around their eyes.
Try to brush your dog’s teeth daily and if not, then weekly to prevent cavities and big dental bills.
You may also want to trim and pay special attention to the fur around their anus as this is a prime area where dirt build-up can occur.
If your dog’s nails aren’t naturally being filed down on their walks, then you may need to cut them yourself with some dog nail trimmers. The best practice if they dislike this step is to reward them with a treat after each nail you cut. Otherwise, you can leave it up to your dog roomer to do this step.
It’s recommended to get your chow chow comfortable with the idea of grooming and maintenance from the beginning and if you intend to get them professionally groomed each time, then it’s best to do so from an early age.
We’d recommend getting your chow chow a good haircut before summer months creep in, or even early in the year if you live in a warmer climate. This will help keep them cooler and more comfortable and will hopefully prevent them from developing skin conditions.
If you’re not confident with grooming your dog at home, then taking them to a professional groomer will be the best option as they’ll know exactly what kind of haircut to give them to keep them comfortable and you may also be able to achieve many different styles of haircut based on your preferences, including the teddy bear, the lion cut and even the puppy cut.
Bathing and grooming a chow chow can be a long and strenuous process that some dogs may not enjoy, so it is recommended to distract them by using a lick pad on the wall of the bathroom that they can eat from whilst you tackle their coat.