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How to Groom a Dog with a Brace

Derrick Campana

Pet grooming is far more than just sending your dog for a spa day, although we often refer to it like that. Your dog will look better, yes, but it's also a way to keep him healthy and hygienic. Regularly grooming your dog allows you to catch any underlying diseases or conditions early. Some washing is needed to ensure that your pet remains clean and germ free. They also trim their nails, brush off excess fur, and get a good look at their eyes and ears. 

The problem arises for dogs who wear a knee (stifle) brace or other kind of brace. Can they still be groomed? Should you remove the brace? Here at Bionic Pets, pet owners often ask if their dog can be groomed with a brace. If your foot was in a cast would you still get a pedicure? The answer may depend on the person painting your toenails! If he or she is careful and gentle, you probably would. The same holds for your groomer. If this person is gentle and careful, your dog should be able to be safely groomed. As long as he or she follows a few simple precautions and you have realistic expectations, your dog can enjoy the benefits of being groomed without fear of complications.

Do you remove the brace or keep it on?

The answer to this important question is- it depends. Your pet's dog wrist (carpal) brace is completely waterproof, so technically it could be worn during the grooming process. That being said, the groomer will not be able to do the best job with it on, so the brace should be removed for bathing and haircutting. Otherwise, the hair under the brace will be longer than the rest! The exception would be if your dog has such a severe injury and your vet does not want their tarsal (ankle/hock) brace removed. Before the grooming appointment, check with your veterinarian to discuss if grooming with the brace on is safe for your dog's specific situation.

Keep your dog's activity limited

A trip to the groomer is very exciting! Not only will your person be in an unfamiliar environment and see people he doesn't see very often, it's very likely he'll also come into contact with other dogs. Jumping, barking, and heightened energy levels are all common if your dog isn't restrained. Your dog should not be playing or running with other dogs. He should be led on a leash and tethered during the bathing and haircutting process. Being without the brace during this time should be safe with those restrictions.

Don't forget the bath mat!

Your dog needs sure-footing while being bathed so that he does not slip and slide without his brace on. Make sure the groomer puts a rubber bath mat in the tub. If your groomer does not have one, pick one up and provide it for use while your dog is being groomed. When the dog is placed in the crate to dry, move the bath mat with him. This way, there will still be firm footing on which to stand and your dog won’t slide on the crate bottom. 

With any further questions, reach out and ask. We are the dog brace experts, and we'll do our best to answer anything you are concerned with!