The Newfoundland is a very large dog with a lot of hair. Newfoundlands have water-resistant double coats. A Newfoundland's undercoat is typically soft and dense, and the outer coat is coarse and long. Because Newfoundlands have very thick coats, they require frequent grooming to prevent mats and to keep their coats and skin healthy. Professional grooming services are costly, so many Newfoundland owners groom their dogs themselves. Grooming your own Newfoundland saves money, but unless you know how to do it correctly, you may find yourself paying a groomer to fix problems.
Combing and Brushing
Brush and comb your Newfoundland's coat at least weekly to control shedding and to keep his coat and skin healthy. Newfoundlands shed their undercoats heavily in the spring and fall in a process that is called "blowing" the coat. During those seasons, you probably will find yourself combing your Newfie at least daily just to control the shedding of the undercoat.
Go over your Newfoundland's coat with a large slicker brush to remove mats. Brush your dog's coat in slow, short strokes in the direction of hair growth. If you encounter a mat, try to free it gently, using your detangler comb. If you can't clear up the mat, carefully cut it out, using a pair of straight shears.
Brush your dog's coat using a large wire-pin brush or a firm bristle brush. Use long, gentle strokes, moving with the direction of hair growth. Start at your dog's head, work down the shoulders, then along the back and sides, finishing with the legs and tail.
Work through your Newfoundland's undercoat using the wire-pin or bristle brush. Use your hand to lift the outer coat. Brush the undercoat opposite the direction of the hair growth in short, gentle strokes.
Trimming the Coat
Ask your veterinarian or an experienced dog groomer to show you the proper procedure for trimming the fur around your Newfoundland's ears, feet, legs and chest without risking accidentally injuring him. Trimming the hair around your dog's ears helps to prevent matting and increases airflow to the ear canal, which helps to keep the ears dry.
Thin the fur on your Newfoundland's chest using a grooming rake. Hold the rake at a 45-degree angle to your dog's body, and move it through his coat with firm strokes in the direction of hair growth. You may need to pause frequently to remove dead hair from the rake.
Trim the fur around your dog's feet to prevent bacterial infections. This requires careful cutting of the excess fur between your dog's toes using a pair of straight shears. This can be a risky task, particularly if your giant dog does not feel cooperative. Have a professional groomer trim excess hair on your Newfoundland's feet if you are not experienced at this task.
Bathe your Newfoundland only when necessary. Bathing too often can remove the waterproofing oils on your dog's coat and may dry out his skin, causing skin problems. Baths twice a year are generally sufficient for Newfoundlands.
Fill your bathtub with 6 to 8 inches of lukewarm water and lure your Newfoundland into the bath with a dog treat. Wet his coat by pouring water over it and massaging it into the fur. You probably will need to use a pet sprayer or a handheld shower head to penetrate the thick double coat.
Drizzle a thin line of dog shampoo down your Newfoundland's back, and massage the shampoo into his coat with your hands. If possible, use a bath mitt to work the lather deep into your dog's coat. A bath mitt is a specialized grooming tool that makes it easier to distribute lather and to penetrate thick coats.
Rinse your Newfoundland well, massaging his coat and using the sprayer or shower head to remove all traces of shampoo residue. Shampoo residue that is allowed to remain in a dog's coat can dry out his skin and cause irritation.
Drain the bathtub, and use a large bath towel to dry your dog's coat. Remove as much moisture as possible with bath towels, then finish drying your Newfoundland with a blow-dryer on the low heat setting.
Extra Grooming Tasks
Ask your veterinarian to show you how to trim your Newfoundland's nails, or take your dog to a professional to have it done. Trimming a dog's nails incorrectly can result in pain and bleeding, so it is a task that only dog owners with proper training in trimming nails should undertake. Depending on natural wear, your dog's nails may need to be trimmed at least monthly.
Check your Newfoundland's ears regularly for signs of inflammation or ear infection. If your dog's ears seem to be troubling him, consult his veterinarian.
Clean your dog's ears once a month using a dog ear cleanser. Squirt several drops of the cleanser into the ear canal and massage the ear for 10 seconds or so to distribute the solution. Use cotton balls to remove ear wax and debris along with any excess cleanser.
Avoid getting your dog's ears, eyes and nose wet during bathing. To wash your dog's face, use a washcloth. If you are worried about getting water in your dog's ears, plug them with cotton balls, taking care not to insert the cotton balls too deeply into the ears.
Newfoundlands are particularly prone to developing mats behind the ears, between the back legs and under the front legs. Check and brush these areas daily to prevent matting.
Always brush your Newfoundland before you bathe him. Brushing will clear away loose and dead hair that could form mats during bathing if they are not removed.
Items You Will Need
- Large slicker brush
- Large wire-pin or firm-bristle brush
- Detangler comb
- Straight shears or regular scissors
- Grooming rake
- Pet sprayer or handheld showerhead
- Dog shampoo
- Bath mitt
- Large bath towel
- Dog ear cleanser
- Cotton balls
- loving newfoundland image by Scott Slattery from Fotolia.com