Poodles have soft, dense coats, with no undercoats. As they reach maturity, their fur becomes curly. When poodles shed, the loose hair tends to become entangled in their coats, causing mats and causing some to mistakenly believe poodles don't shed. Daily maintenance keeps your pet well-groomed and mat-free.
Brush your poodle every day to remove loose hair, dirt and mats. Use a soft slicker brush, gently brushing against the direction of hair growth. Rub a little cornstarch into any mats before separating them with your fingers, starting from the ends and working your way toward the skin. Your poodle's ears, his belly, and the crotches of his front legs are sensitive areas, prone to tangling. A gentle touch is required here to avoid hurting him. A medium-tooth comb will find any remaining tangles.
A poodle requires professional grooming every six to eight weeks. Your pet may need a bath between grooming appointments. Brush your poodle completely before bathing him, removing any mats. Place a cotton ball in each ear to prevent water from entering his ear canals. A drop of castor oil in each eye protects them from shampoo irritation if any suds accidentally get near his eyes. Using a shower hose, wet your pup with warm water, then gently work dog shampoo into his coat, beginning at his head and working toward his tail.
Rinse your poodle thoroughly. His long ears tend to hold suds like a sponge, and under the inner legs is a hard place to reach with the water. Feel for soapy areas with your hands. Shampoo accidentally left on your pet's fur may cause skin irritation. Check your pet's skin for fleas, ticks, tumors and skin irritations at this time. Apply canine cream rinse, purchased wherever pet shampoos are available, to help prevent future mats. Follow the manufacturer's directions, massaging a small amount into the fur before giving him a final warm-water rinse. Check his ear canals for offensive odors when you remove the cotton balls. Towel him dry.
Fluff-drying is the process of brushing your pet's coat while blow-drying it. The air flow is pointed directly on the area being brushed. Allowing your poodle's hair to air-dry will result in tight little curls that tangle easily. Fluff-drying leaves him soft, fluffy and mat-free. Starting at his head, brush against the hair growth with your slicker brush while directing the blow-dryer, also against the hair growth, directly on the area being brushed. Start at his head and work your way down his body, completely drying one area before moving to the next. Use caution not to burn your pet with a too-hot dryer.
Clipper and Scissor Training
You love the way your pet looks when he comes home from the grooming shop; you might like it enough to consider learning professional dog grooming. Many groomers chose their profession after learning to groom their own canine companions. Many reputable grooming schools are around. Serving an apprenticeship under a knowledgeable groomer may be another option. Avoid injuring your pet; seek professional training before using clippers or scissors on him.
Karen Mihaylo has been a writer since 2009. She has been a professional dog groomer since 1982 and is certified in canine massage therapy. Mihaylo holds an associate degree in human services from Delaware Technical and Community College.