RESEARCH has identified a surge in demand for dog groomers in the south west.

A month on from the easing of certain lockdown restrictions across the UK, pet care experts are calling for owners to practice caution when it comes to pampering our pets.

Across the south west, lockdown put a pause on groomers appointments, with pets going months without a professional appointment.

Research by leading pet care brand Bob Martin has identified a 350 per cent surge in demand for dog groomers in the south west, in the days following the easing of restrictions, and is now calling for caution and warning owners to avoid the dangers of over-grooming pets.

Dogs, and some cat breeds, benefit from regular grooming to remove loose hairs and dead skin cells, to keep their coats free of dirt and external parasites, and to distribute natural skin oils along the hair shafts.

However, Bob Martin is advising pet owners against opting for DIY methods or using inexperienced groomers, if they can’t make a booking due to waiting times.

Long-haired dogs should be groomed every six to eight weeks. This means minimal maintenance at home and will keep the coat in good condition and looking stylish. Any longer than this, coats can start getting matted, fur grows over eyes and nails become overgrown.

Avoid the temptation to cut fur yourself, some dogs have very soft skin and it can easily be nicked or torn. Also, you should never shave a short-haired dog such as a Labrador or Pug because it can affect thermoregulation or expose the dog’s sensitive skin, increasing the risk of sunburn.

It is much better to have breeds such as Pomeranians or Newfoundlanders coats professionally groomed, bathed and conditioned, to get rid of all the undercoat and make the coat thinner and breathable.

Never pull matted fur out with a comb. You should always brush your dog first (preferably with a dematting/conditioning spray) and then comb afterwards. Brushing your pet regularly will really help to maintain its coat and also allows you to inspect them for any issues such as lesions, fleas and ticks.

Aurelie Gayraud, Senior Brand Manager at Bob Martin, says the increased demand for grooming could cause issues for us and our pets.

Aurelie said: “We understand grooming appointments are necessary for pets after lockdown, however over-grooming and cleaning your dog too regularly can lead to some itchy consequences.

“Fur protects our pet’s skin, its largest organ, and helps regulate their body temperatures throughout the year, keeping them cool in summer and warm in winter. It also shields them from certain biting insects, diseases and helps to avoid cuts or abrasions whilst out on adventurous walks.

“Over-cleaning can wash off and interfere with the effectiveness of flea, tick and worm treatments, which could leave your pet and your home infested with nasty critters. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to leave a couple of days after applying treatment before washing your dog, which you should only do once a month, however this might need to be more regular, depending on how muddy your walks are!”