Some simple tips on grooming your Parson Russell Terrier:
There are a few supplies that make it easier for you to properly groom your dog, such as a grooming table with a grooming arm and noose, ear powder, comb, stripping stone, and a nail grinder or nail clippers.
In the photos above the dog on the left is groomed for the show ring and the dog on the right has had its coat stripped or pulled out. The stripped out dog will take approximately six weeks to be in full coat again, depending on the dog. Some dogs will grow their coats more quickly than others.
With a puppy, one of the first things to do is trim the nails at least every two weeks. This can be done by grinding the nails with a nail grinder, or by cutting the nails with nail clippers. We prefer the nail grinder as it gives a smoother feel to the nail leaving no sharp edges. When the puppies are here with us, we grind their nails from the time they are five weeks of age until they are ready to go to their new homes. Every puppy is given a treat during and after the nail-grinding process to make this a positive experience in their mind.
Nail clippers or a grinder is a must for grooming a dog, whether the dog is being shown or not. Only use nail clippers that are specifically meant for canines. If you are somewhat nervous about clipping a dog's nails, a nail grinder may be better option, as it only shaves off a small amount of the nail (depending how much pressure you use). Because of the speed of a nail grinder, it will actually tend to cauterize the nail if you reach the quick. The grinder does make more noise and many dogs can be uncomfortable with this, so it is always best to start with this method and use it consistently when they are young. Taking the dog to your veterinarian or a professional groomer for nail trimming is an option, although a costly one over the lifetime of the dog.
Stripping or Clipping?
A Parson Russell is considered to be a low-maintenance breed, so if you are spending a great deal of time on grooming, you may be over-grooming. Grooming sessions, especially for young dogs, should be short and fun.
Some owners who have dogs with heavier broken coats prefer to clipper the coat; however, clippering does change the texture of the coat over time; it becomes softer and less able to slough off dirt, as well as being more prone to tangles and matting.
The best option is to strip the coat at least twice a year. This way, the coat will keep a nice harsh texture that will clean up easily and not matt and tangle easily. If you can set some time aside once a week to work on your dog's coat and do a little stripping once a week, then you can have your dog in what is called a "rolling"coat.
Stripping a Parson's coat is not hard; it is just time consuming. Very few groomers will do hand stripping anymore because it takes so much time. There are several tools on the market that can be helpful. The Furminator and the Mars Coat King tools can help to shorten the time it takes. The Furminator is available at many pet stores; however, the Mars Coat Kings are more accessible on the internet. Below you will find three blue buttons to different internet sites where you can purchase grooming supplies, dog beds, and dog accessories of all kinds.
To strip out the hair on a Parson there are two options to aid in gripping the hair. One method is to dip your fingers in R-7 Ear Powder before grabbing a few hairs to pull out. The ear powder will help you grip the hair and make it easier to pull. Ear powder is easily purchased at your local pet store. The other method is to use rubber fingers, like the kind secretaries use. The rubber surface can give you a good grip on the tips of the hair and make it easier to pull out.
Whichever method you use to help grip the hair, you only pull a few hairs at a time and you always pull the hair out in the direction of its growth. If you only pull the longest hairs at each weekly grooming session then it is likely that you will not have to strip the entire coat and your dog can have what is called a rolling coat that I mentioned before. If you are unable to maintain a weekly grooming session with your dog then you can let the coat grow to its longest point, which on some dogs will be around four inches in length. When the coat is long and it starts to seperate, it is probably time to strip the coat totally. Timing this for early spring and late summer usually works well; that way your dog is in a shorter coat through most of the summer and before the weather changes to cooler temperatures in the fall they will be back in a longer coat. They can stay in full coat comfortably during the winter.
The teeth and gums on your Terrier should be checked weekly, particularly when your puppy is teething. Parson puppies will often retain baby teeth, and those retained baby teeth can change their bite from a correct to an incorrect in just a matter of days.
During teething, it is wise to provide your puppy with lots of things to chew on - hard bones, bully sticks, kong toys, etc. - so that your puppy may be better able to dislodge the retained baby teeth on his/her own. If the baby teeth are especially stubborn, your vet may need to extract them.
Like humans, some dogs will have more tartar build up on their teeth than others. Raw beef bones are excellent to help with tartar; because as the dog chews, they will rub the bone against their teeth removing the tartar. There is also a toothbrush and flavored toothpaste designed to use on your dog on a weekly basis, though brushing dogs' teeth is best started when they are a puppies..
Having your dog's teeth cleaned professionally by your veterinarian once every two years is a very good idea. When your veterinarian cleans the teeth he or she will check for loose or badly worn teeth, which can lead to future health problems if left untended.
Your Parson Russell will need the occasional bath, but be careful not to bath your dog too often. A bath once a month is plenty. Baths done more often than once a month will often result in your dog scratching because their skin is dry from the loss of natural oils in their coats.
When giving your dog a bath, be sure that the water is lukewarm; dogs are quite sensitive and you would never want to bath them in water that was the temperature that we humans would use for a bath. There are about as many brands of dog shampoos as there are breeds of dogs; however for Parsons, I like to use a shampoo that is designed for a harsh coat, and one that whitens. All Systems makes a shampoo called White Lightening, and Chris Christiansen has a shampoo called White on White; both can be ordered off one of the Links below.
The most important thing to remember when bathing your dog is to make sure that all the soap is rinsed out of the coat. Rinsing must include underneath the chest, under the legs, and on the tummies. Soap residue will leave dogs itchy and very uncomfortable.
It is just fine to towel-dry your dog and put him/her in the crate to air dry. If you do use a blow dryer, make sure that the dryer is on a very low heat setting or even a no-heat setting. With the dog clean and dry, this is an excellent time to apply a topical flea and tick treatment.
Below are links to different vendors where you can purchase the supplies mentioned above.