Despite looking like an animated cuddly toy, the chow chow was originally bred as a working dog and is surprisingly muscular. He needs a fair bit of exercise. Also unlike a cuddly toy, that ridiculously fluffy coat will not remain fluffy for long without some attention from you.
Create a dilute conditioning solution by placing a small amount of dog conditioner and a large amount of water in a spray bottle. Mixing the conditioner with a little water in a bowl first can make it easier to blend it with the water. Pour the mixture into the bottle, add more water, screw the cap on, and shake the bottle hard. Alternatively, find a spray-on conditioning solution especially formulated for dogs. Chow hairs are prone to break if you groom while the coat is completely dry.
Place your dog on a grooming table if you have one, or another convenient piece of furniture, such as a sofa. Use an old sheet to protect it from the debris of brushing and combing. The exceptionally thick double coat of the chow chow means even a routine grooming session will take a while. Stooping over a dog is not good news for your back, so select a place that will put the least stress possible on you. Ask your pal to sit or lie on his side as needed during the session.
Stroke your dog all over to determine the whereabouts of any mats, tangles, plant burrs or similar issues. Tease out any tangles or minor mats with the comb as you come across them, using more conditioning solution as needed.
Brush through your buddy's entire coat, not forgetting his impressive tail. Make sure the brush reaches the dense undercoat. You might find the comb easier for some area, such as around the face.
Lift your chow's ear flaps, drip a little ear-cleaning solution into each ear, wait for a minute or two, then wipe the accessible parts of each ear with a cotton ball. Use a fresh cotton ball for the other ear.
Bathe your chow chow one to four times a month. This breed’s coat and skin won’t be damaged even if you bathe him weekly, according to Chow Welfare. Take your pal into the shower, work in a dog shampoo, avoiding his eyes, ears and mouth, and rinse thoroughly. It might take longer to rinse all the suds out of his coat than it does your own hair. Repeat with conditioner, again rinsing extremely thoroughly. Take him out of the shower, let him shake, and blot his coat dry with old towels. Comb through once more and don’t let him outside until he is fully dry.
- Nail clipping is essential for all dog breeds but you should get a demonstration from your vet or a dog groomer first. The same applies to ear cleaning and tooth brushing. During the initial check-up or at a later appointment, ask your vet for a demonstration of all these procedures. Alternatively, ask your dog groomer.
- A blow dryer on the lowest, coolest setting will help get your chow's coat extra fluffy. The noise can be startling to animals, so take your time getting your dog accustomed to the appliance before you try to use it. Turn it on at times other than bathtime, and spend a couple of days being closer and closer to your pet each time you turn it on until he is fine with having it blowing straight at him.
- A chow chow’s coat sometimes requires clipping. If you don’t have experience clipping this breed’s coat, you are likely to end up with a very strange-looking dog. It is best to take him to a professional dog groomer for this procedure at least once, so you can see what to do.
Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.