Your Rottweiler Grooming Guide
Thankfully, Rottweiler grooming isn't nearly as time-consuming or complicated as grooming a long (or curly) haired breed... and there's no need for ribbons or bows!
But grooming your dog is still important because Rotties shed - a LOT!
When I got my first Rottweiler I was surprised by how much dog-hair ended up on my clothes, carpets, furniture and so on. I really wasn't expecting that, but I soon found out that a few minutes of brushing every other day could make a huge difference.
It's also important to realize that it's not just your Rottweiler's coat you need to take care of on a regular basis. Rottweiler grooming should include cleaning your dog's ears and eyes, and cutting his nails too.
Rottweiler grooming isn't all about keeping your dog looking his best either - it's actually a great way to get a pup used to being handled/touched and it helps you to keep an eye on his overall condition.
So, now that you know WHY grooming your dog is important, let's take a look at how to groom a dog properly......
Rottweiler Grooming - The BasicsWhen it comes to grooming your dog, 'little and often' is the key phrase!
Under normal conditions, a Rottweiler is pretty 'low maintenance' in this department and the following routine will only take ten minutes or so once you've had a little bit of practice. But, try not to be tempted to rush through it, use the time to enjoy being with your dog - to stroke him, talk to him and generally show him some loving.
If you're grooming a Rottweiler puppy, make the sessions shorter at first because puppies have very short attention spans and you want him to see this as a pleasant experience :)
Give him the 'once-over'Before you start with the brushing and cleaning, this is a good time to run your hands over your puppy or dog and feel for any lumps, bumps, bites, sort spots or parasites (such as Fleas or Ticks) etc.
Also look inside his ears to make sure they're clean and not red or irritated. Check all four paws for any cuts, thorns, torn nails etc. and make sure his nails are short. Open his mouth and look at his teeth and gums - anything lodged between his teeth, or any red or inflamed areas, tartar build-up or tooth decay will need treatment.
Taking Care Of His Coat/SkinOne of the main parts of Rottweiler grooming is making sure your dogs coat is kept free of dead hair and matting, and that his skin is clean and free of irritation. It also helps to massage the skin and distribute natural oils throughout his coat to keep it all clean and shiny.
For a puppy, you can use a brush with 'pins' on one side and bristles on the other, such as Safari Pin & Bristle Brush with Wood Handle. For the first few sessions, just use the bristle side and be very gentle, it's more to help the pup get used to the feeling of being brushed than to actually remove the hair!
For an older pup or dog who is familiar with the grooming routine, a regular slicker brush (such as the Miracle Coat Slicker Dog Brush) is a good choice.
There's also a tool that I absolutely LOVE, and it's amazingly effective on all my dogs not just the Rottweilers. It's called the FURminator. In my opinion it's the best Rottweiler grooming tool (or dog grooming tool even) around!
Always brush in the same direction that the hair grows, and start at the head and work downwards towards the tail.
NOTE: Some dominant adult dogs don't appreciate being stroked or brushed down the full length of their back, it seems to be a challenge in their eyes. However, as long as you start your Rottweiler grooming regime when your Rottie is a pup, you shouldn't ever run into this problem.
Rottweilers are a breed that tend to suffer from canine allergies, and an allergic reaction to something (even if it's 'internal' such as an allergy to a food ingredient) usually shows up on their skin!
Rashes, 'hot spots' (red, inflamed and irritated areas of skin), excessive itching and patchy hair loss may all be signs that your Rottie is having an allergy problem.
If you do notice sore or irritated skin during your Rottweiler grooming sessions, try SheaPet Skin Repair & Dander Care for Dogs, it's a gentle herbal spray that helps control and treat itchy skin, hot spots, dry skin and dander. Very moisturizing but mild enough for dogs with sensitive skin or allergies. It can help your Rottie feel more comfortable, and works well on winter-dry skin too.
Happy Tails Spa also has a great selection of dog grooming products for just about every occasion (including a range for sensitive skins), they're all natural and smell delicious. Check them out here.....
Ears, Eyes and TeethRottweiler grooming involves more than just running a brush over your dogs coat.... his ears, eyes and teeth need regular care too.
Just like with human ears, you don't want to be sticking things into a dog's ears, but you do need to gently lift the ear-flap and make sure that the inside looks clean and healthy. Dark, waxy build up or red/inflamed membranes mean that something is wrong and if your pup or dog is showing any of these, then get him to a veterinarian for a check up.
Again, allergies of any sort can affect your dogs' ears, making them sore, itchy and red. In fact, excessive ear-scratching or head-shaking is a classic symptom of dog allergies.
You can gently wipe out the inside of your Rottie's ears (just what you can see... don't probe any further!) with a cotton pad moistened in warm water, or try a gentle, soothing Ear Relief Wash.
Rottweilers usually don't have eyes that need a lot of cleaning, as they should have close fitting eyelids (not drooping), and there's no white coat to get stained by tears. Again, wiping with a cotton ball moistened in warm water is fine.
Until a few years ago, most dog owners never really considered brushing their dogs' teeth! Feeding a dry dog food, and providing bones and chews were considered enough. However today things are different.
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs have periodontal disease by the time the're 3 years old... and this can lead to all sorts of serious health problems including heart, lung and kidney disease.
To protect your pup, add tooth-brushing to your Rottweiler grooming routine. But, don't use human toothpaste - it's not safe when ingested and dogs don't spit! Instead try this herbal dental care kit for dogs or this 'Kissable' toothpaste/toothbrush combo kit for clean teeth and fresh breath.
Rottweiler Grooming - The BathUnless your Rottie is playing in the mud on a daily basis, or rolling in stuff that smells none too good, then he really doesn't need to be bathed too often.
Also, his sensitive skin is prone to becoming over-dry, and when it comes to Rottweiler grooming it's important to use only very gentle and moisturizing shampoo.
While your Rottweiler is a puppy you will be able to bathe him in the tub quite effectively, but once he weighs closer to 80lbs than 8lbs, it won't be quite so straightforward. Because of that, if you have a walk-in shower it may be a good idea to get him used to being showered rather than dunked in the tub (I speak from experience!).
Either way, just make sure the bottom of the tub or shower stall has a non-slip mat to make him feel more secure and prevent injuries, and use water that is warm but not hot. Keep shampoo away from his eyes, excess water out of his ears and make sure he's rinsed and dried thoroughly before getting out of the nice warm bathroom.
Here are a few shampoos that you might want to try, they're all safe, gentle and smell good!
Doc Ackerman's Herbal Colloidal Oatmeal Shampoo
This soothing shampoo, which contains 3.8% Colloidal Oatmeal, is perfect for your Rotties sensitive skin,
It's gentle enough for your regular Rottweiler grooming needs, but also effective enough to deal with itching, dryness, dandruff, and certain types of dermatitis.
Only Natural Pet Organic Grooming Shampoo & Conditioner
All gentle, all-natural shampoo and conditioner.
This product contains colloidal oatmeal, aloe vera, jojoba oil and herbal extracts (70% organic ingredients).
Professional quality and non-toxic ingredients make this combo safe and gentle on your Rottweilers skin.
TrueBlue Pure and Sure Puppy Shampoo
An all-natural, detergent-free, botanical formula that's extra mild on your puppys' delicate skin.
Hypoallergenic, gentle, soothing, and tear-free. Contains milk, honey, sunflower, & oatmeal too.
Rottweiler Grooming - Cutting NailsWhen you're grooming your dog there is one more task that needs to be taken care of regularly and that's cutting his nails.
If your puppy or dog has nails that are too long it will interfere with the way he walks and cause him discomfort. They are also more at risk of getting ripped or torn when they're long and that can be very painful for your Rottie.
Because they are basically black dogs, a Rottweiler's nails are black too and this means that it's a bit trickier to cut them than it would be if the nails were light colored as they are on dogs with white/light coats.
But as long as you're careful and go slowly you can do it without too much trouble, and the more familiar both you and your pup get with the nail-trimming routine the easier it will get for everyone.
For a tiny puppy you can use human nail clippers and they're actually a good choice at first as they don't look scary, or make much noise when cutting. But, as your pup gets older you'll need something a bit more heavy-duty, and I'd recommend getting some proper dog-nail clippers such as Conair Yellow Dog Nail Clippers.
It's also a good idea to have some styptic powder on hand as if you cut a little too close to the 'quick' (blood vessel that runs through the nail) it can bleed quite a bit. Kwik-Stop Styptic Powder applied to the cut end of the nail will stop the bleeding right away.
Your best bet is just to cut the very tip of the nail at first, not going higher than where the nail starts to curve, that way you should be fine.
Alternatively, you can try a nail grinder, or dremel, to file down the nails rather than actually cutting them. This is popular with some dog owners and you can go very slowly and carefully so that there's less chance of cutting the quick, however these grinders can be a bit noisy.
If you plan to use one of these, just grind for a few seconds at a time at first and build up gradually so that your dog has a chance to get used to the strange noise and 'feel' of it on his paws.
Take a look at the Oster 78129-600 Gentle Paws Cordless Nail Trimmer to see if you'd like to add one of these handy tools to your Rottweiler grooming arsenal.
Want to know more about Rottweilers?
I'd recommend these books as a great place to start (after this website of course!).......
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Not intended to replace professional opinion or recommendation. Consult your veterinarian for advice about the medical condition/treatment of your dog.