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updated 8/23/10

These instructions are primarily intended for the pet owner but may contain information helpful to the new show person.

 For the majority of you who are visiting this page because you want to learn how to care for your own  Pomeranian's coat, rather than using a groomer, or even for those in between grooming appointments, read on!

Even if you do use a professional groomer, your Pomeranian will look and feel so much better if he gets a complete brush & comb out once a week. It is so much easier to brush and comb out a Pom that has been kept up, than it is to do one whose coat has been neglected! Toenails should be trimmed every other week, and a bath  once a month. If you are willing to invest in the handful of quality tools needed, and a little time to learn the simple techniques of trimming the ears and feet YOU can have a tidy, sweet smelling Pom welcome on anybody's lap :)

Grooming your Pom means having the basic tools on hand, and some knowledge as to how to care for the coat. The first & most important lesson is a word on tools and products. Simply said: YES it makes a difference. I give in depth info concerning tools and products on the grooming supplies page, with this page  being dedicated to the art of grooming.

While these instructions are basically for the pet owner, new show people may also find some of the tips helpful as you begin the search for grooming tools, products and techniques. 

It is very important to make certain that your Pom's coat is completely brushed and every hair combed and separated until it is free from all tangles BEFORE you bathe him! If you wet the coat before thoroughly brushing and combing it, you will "set" any snarls in and they will be difficult if not impossible to get out. Always do this prep work first! 

 

Part 1 Grooming

Let's begin.

 Assemble your first stage grooming items (a towel, pin brush, small slicker brush, comb, conditioning spray, nail trimmer, styptic powder, eye cleanser, cotton pads) 

Click on the magic wand to see the Grooming Tools and Products page.

Begin by laying the Pom on a towel in your lap with the head towards your left hip and the feet kind of angled toward your right knee. We're going to begin in the skirt ( or pants) area. Lift the skirt hair slightly with your fingers. Now lightly mist the coat with the conditioning spray which you have mixed and poured into a fine mist spray bottle. We like Crown Royale Magic Touch Grooming Spray Concentrate formula #3 (#3 is for double coated breeds). Cost about $25.00 for a 16 oz bottle. Expensive, but you mix it 1 part concentrate to 15 parts water. This will last you for a very long time. Now remember, we are just misting. Do not saturate! Over wetting the coat will "set in" any tangles or snarls. Give the skirt a light quick brushing just to move it up and out of the way, toward the head. Now part off a small 1/2" wide section to work with at the bottom layer. Working with small parted sections at a time, brush thru the first parted section with the '#1 All Systems 35mm pin brush' and then go thru that same section using the course end of your 'Chris Christensen 7.5" Fine/Extra Course comb'. If you've been correctly keeping up with the weekly line brushing, this will go fairly quickly, I'd say before your favorite 30 minute TV. show ends. If you run into any snarls you can use the slicker sparingly to work those out.  I like to use a "#1 All Systems" brand slicker. Because of their softness they are not as apt to break the hair, or scratch the skin. Mist the area lightly with your Magic Touch Grooming Spray, for each section you part off to work through.

Once you have worked up to about 1/2 of the Pom's coat on one side, flip them over to do the other side the same way. With the bottom half of the Pom completely snarl free, turn him so that the head is now toward your knee and the rear feet are directed toward your hip.

 

Now let's line brush the upper half of the Pomeranian..

You will continue working with small parted sections only this time starting with the fur right behind the ears. Begin by lightly brushing the head and upper body hair back away from the face and out of the way. Lightly mist the coat. Now part off a small section and brush it forward, toward the nose. Mist each section lightly being careful never to over wet the hair. After brushing the small section, run the course end of your comb through the same section to make sure it is snarl free before moving on to the next. This is called "line brushing" Continue working in this manner until you have gone through all of the coat on the upper 1/2 of the body, on one side of the dog, then turn your Pomeranian over and do the other side.

 Finally finish by line brushing the bib, then brush & comb the tummy and leg feathers. Lay your dog on his back and work the bib from the bottom of the chest area, working on up to just under the chin. Another option is to stand the dog up on a grooming table to do the bib. Begin at the bottom of the bib working thru 1/2" partings just as you've been doing.

 

With the weekly line brushing out of the way, finish off by flushing the eyes with the sterile eye wash solution. Then squeeze some of the sterile eye wash solution onto a clean cotton pad and clean the eye area where tear staining and eye matter tends to collect. If you don't keep this area clean, it could become infected and lose some of the fur near the eyes, so don't neglect this important step!

Tip

In the areas just behind the ears, under the arms and within the bottom layer of the skirt, I find that using the small, soft slicker brush is often helpful to clear those areas of any tiny snarls.

 Do be sure to line brush your Pomeranian thoroughly once a week to avoid having to snip out tangles thereby ruining the beauty of the coat! A once a week complete line brushing and combing all the way to the skin, will keep your Pom in great condition!

Part 2 Grooming

Time for bubbles!

Assemble your second stage grooming items at your bathing station. ( towel shampoo, conditioner, ear cleanser, kitchen timer) Your bathing station might be the kitchen sink or a laundry sink. (When you are finished "line brushing" it is time for some bubbles! I recommend that the companion Pom be bathed once a month. Wet the Pom and lather him with your favorite dog shampoo. Human shampoo's have a more acidic pH where as canine skin is considered mildly alkaline. I have made some suggestions on the grooming supplies page.  If the skin is flaky, itchy or odorous, due to a skin condition I would suggest  Malaseb  shampoo which will combat any yeast, staph, or bacteria taking residence on your dog's skin. You can also use <<   >>  shampoo on flaky skin.

Lather well rinse and repeat. When using an expensive shampoo such as the Malaseb, we usually do a quick lathering with an inexpensive shampoo for the 1st lathering then use the good stuff for the 2nd go 'round :) Follow up with a detangling conditioner such as Coat Handlers, following the instructions on the bottle.

With the bath and rinsing finished, wrap the Pom in a towel to absorb excess water. Mist the coat lightly with your ever ready bottle of conditioning spray throughout the drying process. If you don't own a powerful forced air dryer (recommended) set your blow dryer on warm (not hot) drying the dog as you brush.

 

Trimming the nails!

Now it's time to tidy up the little tyke! Unless you purchased  your Pom from a breeder who has already begun routine grooming sessions, I would recommend introducing the Pom to all this stimuli in small doses. Consider doing the line brushing & nail trim one day. On the next day bathe and dry him. The third day do the trimming. Soon he will take all of this with no problem once he is used to your style of handling him during these grooming sessions. Even the seasoned exhibitor often grooms in mini sessions like this.

Lets start with the feet beginning with the nails. It is of paramount importance to trim the nails every 2 weeks. It will be easier if you do this right after the bath while the nails are still soft. Keep the styptic powder (Kwik Stop) near you on a table and have it ready to use. Never trim nails without having the Kwik Stop styptic powder sitting right there ready to use if needed! I use it on every nail, needed or not & I'll tell you why in a moment. Begin by opening the container of styptic powder and dump some into the lid of the container, ready to grab a pinch as soon as you've snipped the nail. Turn the little darling over on his back with his head laying on your knees. You may have to shift him about to get the most comfortable angle for clipping off those nails. First select a toe and grasp it between your fingers applying slight pressure on the pad right behind the nail bed and on top of the toe in front of the nail bed. Applying pressure to the toe while cutting the nail short, then quickly putting a good pinch of Kwik Stop on the cut tip will prevent any bleeding from getting out of hand. If you do "quick" the nail, then while you still have the toe grasped firmly, reach over and take a pinch of the styptic powder (Kwik Stop) and dab it on the end of the nail BEFORE releasing the pressure. This will stop the bleeding instantly if done correctly. For the show circuit we must keep the nails trimmed back looking like a little cats paw. Around the house simply keep them short enough not to hear clicking when the dog walks on bare floors. After all imagine your nails grown out so long they touch the floor. OUCH! If you just don't feel like you can trim nails, please take your dog in to your vet, or to a local groomer to do this for you. Also, anytime you have to go to the vet for a dental cleaning or other reasons, have them clip those nails while they are already under anesthesia! If they are already under anesthesia for some other procedure, ask the vet to cut the nail back to just an 1/8" Then try to keep them up yourself ... or resort to getting help. I laugh now, and you can laugh with me, but when I first started in Poms, the hardest part was getting used to cutting nails so short!

Trimming the Pomeranian feet!

With the nail clipping out of the way, lets move on to the rest of the foot. Begin by trimming the hair from the bottom of the foot around the pads, being extra careful not to cut the skin webbing down in between the toes, or the pads themselves. You can use the small straight scissor or purchase a medium length curved scissor which is what I like to use. (see tools & products page) Be sure you buy a HAIR scissor and remember ~ be careful!

Now stand your Pom on the grooming surface. Picking up one paw at a time, round that hair off. That's right, get rid of those elf shoes! Trim the hair straight across the end of the foot where the tip of the nails are, and then just sort of round it off following the shape of the foot. The goal here is to end up with a "cats foot" appearance. Mist the foot and leg hair, then brush the hair up with the slicker brush. Using the small scissors trim any wild hairs on the top of the foot or leg. Now don't give him a "haircut" here:) Just the wild hairs! Examine your work. Stand the foot on the grooming surface and snip again if you need to. Stop when you are satisfied with the look of it.

Trimming the ears

Let us do the ears next! You will begin by gently grasping the upper 1/3 of the ear and holding it between your thumb and forefinger. Brush the long hairs back out of your way, and deal only with the tips at this time. Take your thumb nail and slide it up until you reach the edge of the ear. Cover the tip of the ear leather with your thumb nail so that it is protected from accidentally being cut. Using the small straight scissors , cut straight across the tip to remove the pointed hair. If you use a curved scissor as I do, then cutting straight across the tip will be very slightly curved.  Tip: If you are pinching the ear too tightly it will have a jagged appearance when you release it. As you gain experience, you will be able to judge this better, so for now just remember to hold the tip of the ear with very little pressure and it will not look so jagged when you let go:) As show breeders we want to soften the look. To do this we use thinning scissors. Re-cutting the tips of the already cut hair using thinning scissors gives a much improved appearance, not only to the ear tips, but the over all coat. For people who want to do a more complete professional grooming we'll come back to do more trimming lessons using the thinners in a little while. For now let's move on to the fanny :)

The fanny

To trim the fanny on a Pom I usually turn the dog sideways so the head is to my left and the rear is to my right hand (I am right handed, lefties will operate in reverse) Taking your small straight scissors, or the curved ones, begin trimming in a circular pattern around the anus. You may want to trim this area in a circle the size of a quarter or as large as a silver dollar. Just clean this area up real good so that there is no problem with any fecal matter clinging to the coat. This is for the house pets only, as we do not want to see "winkies" in the show ring! While you have your Pom turned to the side you may want to trim the skirt to a length that is pleasing to you. Just trim straight across and then if you like, round off the corners making sort of a wide U shape.

With the Pom still in this sideways stance you may wish to trim away some of the hair underneath in the tummy region. For the show ring we like to make a nice inverted "V" with the highest point somewhere in the center of the tummy area, blending down & out towards the front and rear legs. The key to a tidy precision show appearance is not to have any jagged edges. Everything is re-trimmed and smoothed out using the thinning scissors. For pet owners the main goal is neat, tidy, clean, so for that purpose feel free to trim away as much or as little as you like to make the coat manageable for you. I personally do not mind if my pet owners feel a need to take their Pom to a groomer for a "lion cut" or "puppy cut" I prefer this option over a dirty or matted coat. Your Poms will be happier if  they are clean and free of itchy skin and mats which can pull and hurt.

If your dog has flaking dandruff  or other skin irritations you might want to think about using Revolution topical treatment for dandruff mites. Cheylatella (also called walking dandruff mites)  may be present but often not easily detected, even by a veterinarian. See where to buy at a discount, on the tools & products page.

 

Again, these instructions are intended for the pet owner but may contain information helpful to the new show person. I will return to add to this page very soon. I'd like to add some info on trimming the head coat ect. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. Good luck!

Click HERE to be taken to the Grooming Tools and Products page

 

 email me at keepsakepoms(at)gmail.com   with 'Poms' in the subject line.

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