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Welfare Grooming at Poochie Mama's

Grooming Guidelines: Welfare Grooming


What is welfare grooming?


Welfare grooming refers to grooming that is required by some domestic pets due to their coat or condition. Welfare grooming differs from grooming that is done for cosmetic purposes. 

Welfare grooming is a necessity for some breeds of dog. Failure to groom these dogs can result in serious welfare problems such as severe and painful matting, skin issues, ear infections, body-temperature regulation, and other health problems. 


Welfare grooming must be performed regularly to prevent these problems occurring. Therefore, some pets are at risk if they do not see a professional groomer on a regular basis.

Welfare grooming as described in the guidelines below, can be assessed by an animal groomer and does not require a separate veterinary assessment or referral letter prior to grooming.

Which dogs need welfare grooming based on breed?


If the following breeds have not been groomed in the past eight weeks animal welfare issues will develop, therefore it is recommended that the following breeds are eligible for welfare grooming. 

  • Curly coat breeds

    • This category includes breeds such as Poodles, Bedlington Terriers and Kerry Blue Terriers. These breeds don’t shed hair but their fur mats easily and they require regular welfare grooming for this reason.

  • Combination coat breeds

    • This category includes breeds with long and silky coats, such as Maltese Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus, Silky Terriers, Golden Retrievers, Border Collies, King Charles Cavaliers etc. They don’t grow an undercoat but their long, silky coats require regular grooming for welfare reasons.

  • Long and double coated breeds (heavy coat)

    • Examples of breeds with long, coarse coats include Samoyeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Chow Chows, long-hair Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs, Rough Collies. They have a thin, light undercoat and require regular grooming for welfare reasons.

  • Short double coat breeds (double coat)

    • This category includes breeds with a dense undercoat and short outer coat. Consider German Shepherds, Huskies, Corgis, and Shiba Inus. Their dense undercoat means clipping is not beneficial to them, but they must have the undercoat removed for welfare reasons.

If the dog is a cross, or mix, of any of these breeds (and any other breed), who meets the coat descriptions listed above, they will meet the requirements for a welfare groom.

Which dogs need welfare grooming based on current condition?


Some dogs – regardless of breed – require welfare grooming due to their current condition.


These include:

  • Where the dog is presently living with significant matting that limits their mobility due to matts pulling on the skin.

  • Where a dog has excess matting around the sanitary areas that may cause the animal to be unable to properly toilet - these matts must be removed as they pose a risk of infection in this area.

  • Where a dog has matting around the ears, eyes and paws that can cause infections due to dirt build up – such matting can also hide more serious issues such as a grass seed imbedded in the skin or fungal infections.

  • Where a dog has overgrown nails – this may mean the nails push back into the nail bed and makes walking extremely uncomfortable. Nails tend to curl around and then push back into the skin, creating open wounds. This is common for dew claws, and is not only painful to correct, but can put the pet at risk of infection, and wounds requiring further treatment from a veterinarian. Nails must be clipped regularly to avoid these complications.

When is grooming not a welfare concern?

Welfare grooming only applies to the breeds and scenarios outlined above. Generally, grooming is not required for welfare reasons for:

  • Short and smooth coated dogs that require significantly less grooming and can usually be done in the home. Examples of these breeds include Labradors, Pugs, French Bulldogs, Basenjis, Doberman Pinschers and Greyhounds. While these breeds do require bathing and brushing, during lockdown restrictions this can usually be done in the home by the owner. For these pets, we would offer nail-clipping only. 

  • Grooming for aesthetic reasons. Grooming in the pet sector is largely completed for the comfort of the pet, however, there are always examples of grooming for aesthetic reasons. Many clients have mixed breed, or “scruffy” breeds such as Wire-Haired Jack Russell Terriers, Border Terriers or Wolfhounds whom they have clipped off regularly to maintain their coats. These pets would not be considered candidates for welfare grooming, as their scruffy coats can be managed by combing and brushing in the home. To put it simply, “scruffy” is not “matted”.

Pet owners presenting with animals who do not meet the guidelines for welfare grooming will not be able to access the service. 

Yorkshire Terrier at the Vet