Condo Blues: How Not to Groom a Pekingese

Friday, May 30, 2008

How Not to Groom a Pekingese

Haiku Friday
itchy sneezey dog
vets says let’s see some pink skin
sad naked Peke now

Blitzkrieg is allergic to corn and wheat. Once I switched him to an allergy free diet, Blitzkrieg stopped power scratching. The hair grew back on the bald spot he made from scratching himself so much and his temperament improved. (Anecdotal evidence suggests that a corn free diet helps dogs with fear or aggression issues.) In other words, as long as I kept Blitzkrieg away from corn and wheat, he was itch free and life was good. It’s difficult because both corn and wheat are in almost every dog food or treat out there, from the cheapo doggie junk food brands to the expensive made with human-quality ingredients brands, but the benefits are definitely worth the truble.

Last spring, Blitzkrieg started scratching himself with a vengeance again. A trip to the veterinarian was in order. After a through exam (which Blitzkrieg absolutely hated) the vet suggested that we shave do a “therapeutic shave down” so we could see if Blitzkrieg had some sort of rash or lesion that may be the cause of the new itching and scratching. I agreed.

This is what I dropped off at the vet/groomers.

This is what I picked up later that day.


I had a naked dog! I honestly didn’t recognize Blitzkrieg when they brought him to me at the vet’s office. He looked like some weird mutant Pug! He wasn’t scratching himself anymore, but he sure was pissed off at me for doing this to him.


Thankfully, Blitzkrieg’s condition was nothing serious. The vet said Blitzkrieg has seasonal allergies that we easily treat with medication during the pollen season.

Eventually we all adjusted to the mutant dog haircut. Blitzkrieg came to terms with it once he went to agility class and realized that he was able to run across the dog walk and not pant as much afterward. Pekingese and other brachycephalic breeds (smash faced dogs) are more susceptible to heatstroke than their non-smash faced dog brethren. I took advantage of Blitzkrieg’s severe summer ‘do and took him to a few more summer festivals than in previous years because I didn’t have to worry as much about Blitzkrieg overheating and getting heatstroke in the summer sun.
In addition, I got some interesting comments about my freaky little Peke. My personal favorite came from a drunk guy at a music festival who yelled a crossed a parking lot at me, “Hey! Your dog sure has a big dick!” How do you answer that one? Do you answer that one? If so, what is the polite thing to say? “Um…thank you?”

Lately, friends and neighbors are asking me if I’m going to shave Blitzkrieg for the summer again. I’m not sure. Before we rescued and rehabilited Blitzkrieg, he was beaten when he was groomed. That’s why our boy is missing an eye and some teeth. The shave down allowed me under a behaviorist’ guidance to work with Blitzkrieg through his fear of being hit on the hindquarters with a hairbrush. Now when I even say the word brush, it sends Blitzkrieg into a happy tizzy because it means he has a chance to earn treats. (That's a very good problem to have, in my book.) However, the sound of clippers still terrifies him. The vet had to sedate Blitzkrieg last summer before the groomer could groom him. I want to spare Blitzkrieg as much doggie trauma as I can.

Therefore, the springtime dilemma is to decide whether I should or should not cut Blitzkrieg’s coat for summer. Then, if I do decide the boy needs a haircut, how short do I go? My childhood dogs were strictly wash and wear. Double coated dog grooming is still new to me. What do you do with your double-coated dogs in summer?

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ONNO said...

Have you thought about working with treats and the clippers in a similar fashion to the brush and treats. Make him see it in a positive manner. That way, he'll do better in the summer heat hopefully without the accompanying trauma.

Dagny McKinley
organic apparel

Karen Coutu said...

My parents have a pekapoo, but he looks just like a pure pekinese. They just cut the hair short around his ears in the summertime.

joaquin said...

what a picture! poor doggy

Anonymous said...

Hello! My Peke, Disco Biskit, gets summer cuts regularly (about every 4 weeks from April-October). We live in Texas and although she stays indoors 90% of the time, she can get dangerously overheated in a matter of minutes in the summer. She tolerates the grooming very well. I highly recommend keeping your pup trimmed in the warmer months. If you schedule the first trim in spring, when the winter coat shedding begins, you will avoid all the shedding mess as well.
Thanks for adopting an abused Peke... they are wonderful pets!

Anonymous said...

Aww, your Peke is lovely! I have recently adopted a Peke and was deliberating whether or not to give her a summer hair cut but have now decided to go for it! x

rosie said...

Thanks for cheering me up. I too had a mutant peke moment when I picked up my dog from the groomers. She's my first peke and only 8 mths old and looked so pretty before. Now she looks strange but since I'm getting used to it ...still cute but no longer quite as regal. My sympathies and enjoy the fun the shorter cut brings!!

Anonymous said...

I adopted a Peke last month and am just considering a summer cut for him, he's panting like crazy every time the temp. goes above 15C. I loved your story, so funny! Except for the part about your dog's past. Poor thing! I could just kill people who are cruel to animals! Your dog is lovely and please make sure you tell him that! Warm hugs for both of you! XXX

Anonymous said...

I think he looked really cute with his hair cut. My peke gets shaved in summer when its hot and she seems to enjoy having short hair. Has a lot more energy. My sister's pup heads for the water bowl and gets in whenever she can..

Sabra said...

Thanks for the info. I have had my peke for almost a year now. I have wondered if we should give him a cut, now I know for sure. The humidity here kills our little buddy.

Unknown said...

I know this is a really old entry, but having had a Peke previously and now having a shih tzu who has very sensitive (and hot-spotty) skin, thought I'd share.

For Ming, we just keep him shaved. He hates brushes and has drawn blood on both my mother and sister before when trying to groom him. He is a pure breed shih tzu, even, but this dog does NOT like having hair. At all.

It was kinda weird at first to take him from the groomer, too. I thought he looked kinda like a shaved terrier. xD But we got used to it and find him quite adorable "naked", though he only gets shaved once every 2-3 months.

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