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Caring for Your Jack Russell Terrier's Coat and Skin

Depending on your Jack Russell Terrier's outside activities, you should only have to bathe him every month or less. Of course, if your terrier is out rolling in the dirt on a daily basis, you may have to bathe him a bit more frequently. Short, more frequent baths are better than long, infrequent ones. Get your dog used to baths when he's still a puppy. As with children, try to make bath time fun by combining it with a bit of playtime.

Don't banish your Jack Russell to the great outdoors when he smells a bit gamey. If a bath doesn't solve the problem and your terrier has had his regular dental cleanup, something else is wrong. A smelly dog is often a symptom of a more serious medical problem.

Preparing for the bath

Keep a large towel nearby to prevent having a wet and exuberant JRT running through the house spraying water everywhere. Don't be surprised if , immediately after his bath, your terrier is overcome by a bout of Jack Russell "turbo-itis" where he streaks about the house like a bullet. Just smile as he rockets around and know that this is the reason you adopted a JRT in the first place.

Finding a shampoo and using it

Like all dog products on the market, you may find the selection of shampoos to be intimidating, but rest assured that most are fairly equal in effectiveness. A more costly shampoo isn't necessarily better than an inexpensive one.

One particularly useful item you may want to check out is a dry shampoo that requires no water or rinsing. If you and your terrier are always on the go, you may want to invest in this handy cleaning solution. You'll be glad you have it on hand when you have a filthy Jack Russell and bathing your dog with regular shampoo and water isn't feasible.

When using a shampoo with water, use one suited to your Jack Russell's coat or skin problems, if he has any. In other words, choose a moisturizing shampoo if his skin is dry and scaly or an oatmeal shampoo if your dog has a tendency to itch. Before beginning the bath, check to see whether the water is warm but not hot. As you apply shampoo to his coat, work your way across his body, paying particular attention to the oily areas of his ears but avoiding the eyes. When rinsing, reverse the motion and rinse from head to rump, making sure that no shampoo residue remains.

Coat care

All dogs shed, and your smooth-coated Jack Russell is no exception, so don't expect him to be "shed free." A good outside brushing with a bristle brush or a special mitt keeps your floors and carpets as free of hair as possible. It is perfectly okay to trim errant hairs on your dog's feet, rump, and abdomen area.

Naturally, a rough or broken-coated Jack Russell requires a bit more care than one with a smooth coat. If you have a rough or broken-coated terrier, a stripping comb is a great help in plucking your dog's dead hair. If you're really big on coat care, you also may enjoy the convenience of a combing table if you have the room and can afford one. Just remember that grooming need not be a time-consuming experience. A thorough once-a-week brushing and a good vacuum job on the house should do just fine.

Skin irritations

Many skin irritations are the result of insect or flea bites that cause your dog to scratch himself, thus aggravating the problem. Flea allergies are caused by the saliva in the flea's bite and can cause your dog to be miserable for days, especially if he hasn't been exposed to fleas for some time. Don't automatically assume, however, that fleas are the source of your JRT's itching fits. Dry skin also can be a common but less serious cause of skin irritation, and it is often easily treated using topical treatments or special conditioning shampoos.

In addition, some skin irritations are the result of allergies to food, pollen, dust mites, or mold. Symptoms include scratching, biting, chewing, and constant licking. Treatments vary widely from cool baths to allergy shots or steroids that reduce inflammation (if present), depending on the type of skin irritation and his cause. Corticosteroids aren't recommended because they can have negative side effects and should be considered only as a last resort.

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