By Pearl George   Although the Phalene and Papillon have often been called the 'wash and wear' dog this does not mean that it does not require grooming. Bathing and grooming is an important aspect for maintaining your dogs health. Bath time is when the owner should carefully go over the wet dog looking for any unusual lumps or bumps, cuts and scratches. Basic Bathing and Grooming Supplies: (1) A good quality shampoo made for dogs for general use (1A) A tearless puppy shampoo for the face. (2) A good quality conditioning cream rinse. Dog products are important because the dog has a different PH balance to a human. (3) One pair of small, slightly curved, blunt ended scissors. (4) One pair small thinning sheers. (5) One pair cat claw clippers (I prefer these as I find them easier to use than the larger style dog nail clippers) (6) Kwik-Stop or other brand styptic powder. (7) Sterile eye lubricant. (Your vet can often give you a small tube of this) (8) Small tooth brush (9) Doggy toothpaste. (10) Cheese cloth or soft, small wash cloth - to wipe around muzzle if needed (11) towels (12) hair dryer. (13) Metal comb with small and medium teeth. (14) Pin Brush (do not use the type with bobbles on the end of the pins). (15) Brush, preferably boar bristle set in a rubber back. (16) Plastic pinafore/cloths cover. - to keep you dry. (15) Q-Tips. Step one. Thoroughly brush and comb the entire coat. Step two. Put the sterile eye lubricant into the eyes Step three. Put the dog in whatever it is to be bathed in. I use a utility sink as it is high enough to be able to work easily with the dog. Many people use their kitchen sink. I also use a small plastic bowl with about 2 inches of water in it to stand the dog in. The water will help to soften the nails which makes them much easier for trimming when you are ready to do that. Step Four. Soak the dog down with lukewarm water and apply shampoo and work it in. This is the time to clean anal glands. A word of caution, learn how to clean the anal glands correctly (It really is very easy) and do not put your face behind the dog when you do this. Sometimes the anal fluid sort of squirts out and if your face is too close the, rather odoriferous fluid, can get on your clothing and face. Step Five. After bathing the body of the dog gently wash the face in the tearless shampoo. While bathing the dog be careful not to get water in the dogs ears. People have different ways of dealing with that. Some will use a little cotton wool in the ears. Personally I do not like that as I feel fibers can get down into the ear and irritate. I must admit that I have developed a method of using my little finger to block the ear canal. Advise from your vet on the best method does not hurt. After the body and face are well shampooed I remove the bowl and let the dog stand in the sink on a small rubber bath mat. Then rinse the shampoo out of the coat. This is the time to carefully run your hands over the entire dog checking for any thing unusual. When the shampoo is well rinsed out take the Q-Tip and clean the outer edges of the ear canal. Do NOT push the Q-tip down into the ear canal itself. Next, apply the cream conditioner. Work in well and then rinse out thoroughly. Wrap the dog in a towel and towel dry slightly. I prefer warmed towels but that is not necessary if the room is reasonable warm. Next clip the dogs nails, if needed, while they are still softened from standing in the water. Time to dry the dog. If the dog has been trained to stand still on a grooming table that is great, if not place a large towel on the ground, stand the dog on the towel and sit down beside it. Take the hair dryer and the pin brush. While blowing the 'warm' air against the lay of the coat gently use the pin brush to brush the coat to the lay of the hair. By this I mean, when using the dryer the hair should lift as the warm air is blown onto the dog but the coat should be gently brushed in the downward motion. Remember to keep the dryer only on warm and keep it moving. If the hair dryer stays in one place for too long a period of time it can burn the dogs skin. I will normally start on the ears and, for this I use the comb and my fingers rather than the pin brush. I start by gently lifting the ear fringes and letting the warm air blow through it. When the fringe is mostly dry I then take the comb and comb through the fringe (an anti static comb is best) and finish drying it. Next I do the ruff and the rest of the coat with the pin brush. When the body coat, ruff, back, sides, culottes (skirts) and tail plume are dry I lay the dog on its back and dry the underneath. I will use the pin brush on the underside of the chest area but use the soft brush around the 'family jewels' on the male. A very small comb can also be useful in this area. Once the underneath of the dog is dry I brush the top side coat down again. After the dog is dry I use the small blunt ended scissors to trim the hair out from between the pads of the feet as needed and the thinning sheers to trim the back of the back legs from the foot to the hock. Trimming the back legs slightly helps to keep the dog clean. Simply comb the hair on the back of the back leg up towards the hock. Cut with thinning sheers and comb the hair back down again. This may be needed just once or several times depending on how much feathering the dog carried on his back legs. The idea is to have it look clean and neat, not chopped or shaved. Some owners prefer to clean the dogs teeth prior to bathing, others after bathing. I preference prior to bathing as, sometimes, the toothpaste can get a little spattered on the dogs ruff. In between bathing use the bristle brush and the comb to groom the dog. Daily is best but the coat will normally stay clean for several days if daily brushing is not possible. Do pay close attention to the soft hair at the base of the dogs ears as this is one area where it does have a tendency to mat. If the dog does get a mat simply use your fingers to separate the hair as much as possible. Next use a little cream rinse on the hair and then, taking the comb, hold the mat by the base and, starting at the outer edge of the mat, start to comb the mat out. As one area is cleared then move in slightly to the next section. If the mat is really bad then one can take a small pair of scissors and, starting from the inner part of the mat, and cutting in an outward motion, cut the mat through the center in a straight line. Never cut towards the dogs skin. Once cut then go to the finger method again. A simple comb through on that fringe just once a day will keep mats from forming and is certainly far preferable to trying to get the mat out. The forgoing is basic grooming. Show grooming becomes a little  involved, however, if the dog is kept clean and brushed out on a daily basis there is very little additional work that should be required to have the dog ready to enter the show or performance ring. One thing that many show exhibitors do is to use a white enhancing shampoo for bathing when the dog is being readied for the show. Some show exhibitors will cut the whiskers, other prefer not to, it is personal preference. How often should your Phalene be bathed? The generic answer to that is when needed', however, some people are concerned about bathing their dogs in case it damages the coat. I believe that every week does not hurt or every two weeks if preferred and the dog is kept clean. However I might point out that many show dogs will be bathed two to four times on a weekend and their coats certainly do not appear to suffer from frequent bathing. Phalenes have very little oil in their coats so frequent bathing is not going to cause a problem of removing the coat oil, some breeds do require that oil. If a quality canine shampoo and quality conditioning rinse is used I do not believe that frequent bathing will harm the coat in any way. While good grooming practices are important for the dog a beautiful coat starts with a healthy dog and quality food. Internal or external parasites can play havoc with the Phalenes coat. Many Phalenes are allergic to flea bites and will scratch and bite at the areas bitten. If the ear fringe is scratched out it can take many months, to a year, for it to grow back again. Prevention is better than trying to fix the problem caused by the parasites. There are a number of flea products on the market. My own preference is the type that is put on the dogs coat. I can not see any advantage, and many disadvantages, to putting flea control products into the dogwhen the outside products appear to work just as well. Puppies raised on newspaper often have dirty looking coats which is caused by the newspaper print getting on the dogs coat. Once this happens it is difficult to get the dog looking clean. I use the roll ends of newspaper which is white and absorbent. Butcher paper is not absorbent and is, in my opinion, far to slick for firm footing for puppies. The type of bedding is also important. I have found that for daily use the 'vet bed' is the very best. In the USA it goes by various names but it is the white, fake fur, type of bedding that allows moisture topass through it while the top fabric remains dry. I usually put a towel on top of the bedding as my Phalenes do like to have something to 'scratch up' to make themselves comfortable. If you do use a towel make sure it is the cut loop type and not the 'loop' which the dogs can get around their nails. Also, remove the towels if they get holes or loose thread in them. Anything that can get wound around a dogs foot or nails or that they can get their heads though is dangerous. A number of the dog catalogs sell the bedding. It can be purchased by the roll and cut to the size desired. It is especially good for the puppy pens as not only does it keep the puppies dry but it gives them a goodfirm footing. The fabric is machine wash and dry and bleach can be used in the wash water. © Phalene Fanciers 2001 - 2011 No photos or articles may be copied without written permission