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Routine Basset Hound Grooming

Because the Basset Hound has smooth, short hair, one may conclude that grooming is not important. But, this is not true.

A Basset Hound's coat does not need to be trimmed and does not get tangled and matted. But, Basset Hound's do shed, some say more so than other breeds. They also have elastic skin with lots of folds that should be kept clean.

Routine Basset Hound grooming is an important part of maintaining excellent Basset Hound health and should be part of your dog care routine.

This article covers brushing, bathing, and nail trimming. Routine ear care and dental care are also important but are not covered in this article.

Basset Hound Grooming: Brushing

As mentioned previously, Basset Hounds shed. Mine sheds all year long with the summer season being the time when he sheds the most. If you have a Basset Hound and want to minimize the amount of hair that ends up in your house, then a weekly brushing session will help a lot. Additionally, it is a great way to spend some quality time with your dog.

My Basset Hound, Hunter, loves being brushed. I tend to brush him weekly in the summer, spring, and fall because I can do it outside on nice days. In the winter, I do it on an as needed basis because he tends to shed less. While I'm brushing him, I also spend time checking his skin to make sure that he doesn't have any skin irritations. I also pet him and run my hands over his body to check for lumps. I've never found any lumps. But, I like to do this as a preventative measure. If you notice any skin problems or lumps while grooming your Basset Hound, promptly contact your veterinarian.

Brushing is important because it not only removes dead hair but, also helps to maintain a healthy coat and skin by distributing the natural oils of your Basset Hound's coat. Make it part of your Basset Hound grooming routine.

I like to use a deShedding Tool instead of a brush. I've been using this tool for years and have found that it removes a lot of loose hair. I recommend the medium size. Also, don't push too hard when using this tool. My Basset Hound seems to get irritated when I do that. I think it's because it may scratch his skin. So I just do it lightly and it works great!

Click to view a video of this deShedding tool in action.

Basset Hound Grooming: Bathing

Bathe your Basset as needed to keep him clean. How often you bathe him depends on your dog's lifestyle and how often he tends to get dirty. But, do not bathe your dog too often because frequent baths may dry out the skin's natural oils.

Brush before bathing to remove loose hair. Use a dog shampoo, never human shampoo. Do your best to keep the water out of the ears. And remember to rinse thoroughly to remove all of the shampoo. After the bath, dry your Basset's coat with a lot of old towels.

My husband and I tend to bathe Hunter more in the spring, summer, and fall since he spends more time outside when the weather is nice. Although on average, I would guess that we bathe him about once every three months. Sometimes we bathe him after he's been outside digging and has gotten really dirty and muddy. Other times we bathe him because he starts to smell bad.

When the weather is nice, we fill a bunch of buckets with lukewarm tap water and bathe Hunter outside. We never use the hose because the water is too cold and he does not like it. When it's too cold outside, we bathe him in the bath tub.

For some reason, Hunter does not like baths. He knows the word 'bath' and if I say to him, "Hunter, do you want a bath?", he immediately runs behind the couch where we can't get to him and refuses to come out. But, he absolutely loves the rub down at the end. My husband and I dry him with old towels by rubbing him all over and he can't stop coming back for more. When he's done with the rub down, he's usually quite energized and spends about five minutes running around at a high pace before settling down.

An alternative to bathing is to give your Basset a rub down with a damp wash cloth or towel. This method works well if your Basset has been outside and has gotten himself a little bit dirty but not so dirty and smelly that he needs a bath.

Basset Hound Grooming: Nail Trimming

Regularly trim your Basset Hound's nails. This is an important part of routine Basset Hound grooming because long nails can be uncomfortable or even painful to a dog. You can do this yourself or have your vet do it. If you will be doing it, you'll need a sharp nail trimmer for dogs and styptic powder.

If you look closely at one of your dog's nails, you will see a pink part inside of the nail. The pink part is called the quick and it consists of blood vessels and nerves. When trimming your dog's nails, it is important not to cut into the quick because this can be very painful and will cause bleeding. Styptic powder can be used to stop the bleeding if you accidentally cut into the quick.

To ensure that you do not cut into the quick, trim a little bit of the tip of the nail and then repeat until you get close to the quick. When you get close, stop and move on to the next nail. If you cut into the quick and the nail starts to bleed, apply pressure and styptic powder to stop the bleeding. If you have questions or feel uncomfortable with nail trimming, then talk to your veterinarian.

Here is a video that demonstrates how to trim your dog's nails:


My Basset Hound, Hunter, dislikes getting his nails trimmed! He does not stay still and this is the hardest part of nail trimming. A lot of books recommend that you start trimming when your dog is a puppy to get him used to it. My husband and I did this but for some reason, Hunter never got used to nail trimming.

We used to take him to the vet every month because we found it hard to do the trimming on our own. One day, our vet recommended getting a nail grinder, which grinds the nail down instead of clipping it. We have found this tool to be so much easier for us to use and we no longer have to take Hunter to the vet to get his nails trimmed. While he doesn't like the noise the nail grinder makes, we seem to be able to get it done more easily and don't have to worry about cutting into the quick.

Dremel makes a pet grooming kit for grinding nails which is affordable. But, the nails of an adult Basset Hound are pretty thick. So we like to use the more powerful 7.2-volt Dremel tool. Of course, it costs more. But it's also more versatile, i.e. can be used around the house as needed.

Final thoughts

Basset Hound grooming can be a lot of work. But on the flip side, a Basset Hound is a great companion for anyone that is willing to take on the responsibility and do the necessary work to ensure excellent health. Routine Basset Hound grooming is an important part of Basset Hound dog care. I actually enjoy taking care of my Basset Hound (with the exception of nail trimming). Over the years, he's been a great dog for me and my family and he deserves the best.

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My Basset Hound, Hunter

My dog, Hunter!
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