Intelligent and devoted, the shar-pei is a loving dog in a wrinkly-skinned package. Their minimal shedding and short coats make them easy to clean and minimize the amount of grooming necessary. Naturally clean, your wrinkly dog should only require a bath as the seasons change.
Less Is More
Grooming the shar-pei puts the “low” in “low-maintenance.” He produces no natural odor and has short, bristly hair that only requires a rub-down with a grooming mitt once a week. Bathe your wrinkly pup every three months or whenever he has found something wonderfully dirty or smelly to roll in. Frequent bathing can irritate his skin.
Wash and Dry, Dry, Dry
When bath time rolls around for your wrinkly pooch, it should pass quickly and relatively painlessly. Just lather him up, scrub him down and rinse him thoroughly, being sure to get in between all his skin folds. Once he's all squeaky clean, it's time to grab a few towels and dry him. You may spend twice as much time actually drying him than you did washing, thanks to those characteristic skin folds and wrinkles. Any shampoo or water trapped within those fleshy pouches could irritate his skin, or develop into a yeast or fungal infection. Take your time and make sure to dry each and every wrinkle.
Going through life wearing skin that seems three sizes too big has the benefit of making you look face-scrunchingly adorable, but it can also come at a price. Shar-peis are susceptible to various skin conditions such as mange, seborrhea and pyoderma. If your wrinkly pup's skin is looking scaly, he's losing hair or giving off an uncharacteristic odor, see your veterinarian for a checkup. These skin issues could be evidence of an underlying health condition such as hypothyroidism, and can be corrected with medicated shampoos and antibiotics.
While bath time may only come once a season, you don't get off quite as easily with some other grooming chores. Have your pooch's nails trimmed at least once a month, and brush his teeth daily to prevent stinky breath and gum disease. Check his ears at least once a week for signs of redness or any strange odors that may indicate infection. Wipe the outer part of the ear with a cotton ball moistened with ear cleaner and never insert anything into his sensitive ear canal.
Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.