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Groom dog year-round

Comment: I was a dog groomer for more than 15 years. As soon as the weather gets warm each spring, grooming shops are overwhelmed with long-haired dogs that have to be clipped to the skin. Owners had not groomed the dogs all winter because they think dogs need long hair to keep warm. If long hair were needed, how could short-haired dogs and animals such as cattle and deer survive?

Long-haired dogs must be groomed regularly since their hair can become as tightly matted as a piece of felt. If it gets wet, it shrinks, sometimes so tightly that circulation in the skin is impaired and sores develop.

When wet, it may take days to dry. Pieces of grass, twigs and stickers get caught in it also, causing sores. I have seen pieces of wire, carpenter's nails and fish hooks.

When spring comes it is very often necessary for the groomer to use a fine blade to get under the matting, thus leaving the dog shaved to the skin. Even if the dog is lucky enough to have no sores, it is now exposed to the weather and insect bites.

Dogs should get the same grooming all year round. A well-brushed coat contains millions of air spaces that hold body heat and keep the dog warm and comfortable.

If you are thinking of getting a dog and don't have the time, patience or desire to brush a long-haired dog's coat regularly, please give a lot of thought to getting a short-haired dog. They don't require as much grooming. _ D. Everett, San Antonio, Texas.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279 or fax it to 512-HELOISE.