The answer depends on your pup's hair length and style.

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Your pooch needs a little pampering: Without regular grooming, his fur could become matted, his nails unruly, and his dander unseemly. But how often does your dog really need to be groomed. According to professional groomers, there's a sweet spot at the six-week mark. That's long enough to not be burdensome, but still short enough that his fur, nails, and skin won't suffer too much in the interim.

Female dog groomer brushing a bichon frise dog
Credit: nimis69 / Getty Images

Still, this is just a guideline, and some pups need to be pampered more often. After all, your dog's hair length and style can come down to your preference—and if you like a certain look, you may need to bring your dog to the groomer more often to maintain it, says Helen A. Quinn, head groomer and co-owner of Bingo Pet Salon in Royal Oak, Michigan. What's more, breeds with hair that can grow long—think: labradoodles, shih tzus, and Yorkshire terriers—and breeds with double coats—including Samoyeds, huskies, and collies—may require more frequent grooming to prevent fur matting.

There are signs, too, that your dog needs to be groomed sooner than six weeks: If you pick up on odors coming from your pet, or are unable to brush him, it's time to bring him in, says Courtney Kusmierski, general manager of The Paw Spa Pet Resort in Omaha, Nebraska. If you notice his nails clicking on the floor when he walks, it's time for a trim. And if his shedding seems worse than normal, a good grooming can help get the problem in check. As Kusmierski explains, in the spring and fall, many dogs shed their undercoats—something that means a lot of cleanup for owners. A de-shedding service at a groomer one or two times in a month can remove the bulk of his undercoat, she says.

If you ignore these signs, things could become uncomfortable—or worse, painful—for your pet. For example, if you let his nails grow too long, they can curl into his feet and paw pads, which will cause him discomfort and pain, says Kusmierski. Plus, a consistent grooming schedule can help you find or prevent future problems: Regular grooming can find or prevent skin irritations and rashes, fleas and ticks, ear infections, anal gland ruptures, and paw pad cracks or bleeding, she says.

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