How to Groom an Akita

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akita lying on the floor

Welcome to this guide on grooming your Akita! These majestic dogs, known for their thick, luxurious coats and sharp, intelligent eyes, deserve top-notch care to keep them looking their best. Regular grooming is not only essential for your Akita’s appearance but also for their overall health and well-being.

Whether you’re an experienced Akita owner or a first-timer, this guide will provide you with practical, easy-to-follow steps to keep your Akita feeling comfortable and looking great. So, let’s dive in!

Understanding Akita’s Coat

Akitas are known for their thick, double-layered coats that serve as insulation both in hot and cold weather. The outer layer is coarse and straight, shedding dirt and water, while the softer, denser undercoat provides warmth.

A unique characteristic of an Akita’s coat is the seasonal “blow” where they shed their undercoat completely, usually in the spring and autumn. This process can last up to three weeks, resulting in a substantial amount of loose fur.

Monitoring the condition of an Akita’s coat is important, as changes can often indicate health issues. The coat should be full and lustrous, with no bald spots or excessive thinning.

akita standing on a rock
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Tools for Grooming an Akita

Before we dive into the grooming process, you’ll want to ensure you have all the necessary tools on hand to effectively groom your Akita. The right tools will not only make the grooming process easier but also more comfortable for your dog. Here is a list of essential tools you will need:

  1. Undercoat Rake: This tool is perfect for dealing with the “blow” shedding stage and can help remove loose fur efficiently.
  2. Slicker Brush: Ideal for everyday grooming, this brush helps in removing loose hair and untangling minor knots.
  3. Deshedding Tool: This can be particularly useful in reducing the amount of fur shed onto your furniture and clothing.
  4. Comb: A standard comb can help to smooth out the fur after you’ve used other tools.
  5. Dog Clippers: While Akitas don’t need much trimming, you’ll need clippers for minor touch-ups around the paws or sanitary areas.
  6. Dog Shampoo: Choose a shampoo designed for dogs. A formula for thick coats may provide the best results for Akitas.
  7. Nail Clippers: Regular nail trimming is important for your Akita’s comfort and health.
  8. Ear Cleaning Solution: Akitas can be prone to ear infections, so regular ear cleaning is a must.
  9. Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste: To maintain oral health, regular brushing is recommended.

With these tools, you’ll be well-prepared to keep your Akita looking their best.

akita in the field
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How to Brush Akita’s Coat

Maintaining the coat of an Akita is crucial for their health and appearance. Now, let’s delve into the step-by-step guide on how to brush an Akita’s coat and discuss how frequently this grooming routine should be performed.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Brush Akita’s Coat

  1. Prepare Your Akita and Tools: Start by calming your Akita and ensuring they’re comfortable. Gather all the necessary grooming tools mentioned earlier.
  2. Start with the Undercoat Rake: Use the undercoat rake to remove loose fur from your Akita’s thick undercoat. Be gentle and work in the direction of the hair growth, starting from the head and moving towards the tail.
  3. Use the Slicker Brush: Next, use the slicker brush to remove any remaining loose hair and minor knots. Brush gently and avoid pressing too hard, to avoid hurting your Akita.
  4. Follow up with the comb: Use a comb to smooth out the fur and find any small tangles that might have been missed by the brushes.
  5. Use the Deshedding Tool: If your Akita is in the shedding phase, use the deshedding tool to help reduce the amount of fur that ends up around your home.
  6. Praise and Treat: Reward your Akita with praise, petting, or a small treat to make the grooming process a positive experience.

How Often Should Akitas Be Brushed?

Akitas have double coats that shed heavily twice a year. To manage this, regular brushing is necessary. As a general rule, aim to brush your Akita’s coat at least twice a week.

However, during shedding season, daily brushing will be beneficial to keep their coats healthy and manageable.

For more details, check out our ultimate guide to brushing your dog.

akita puppy running in a park
Photo: Tomas Maracek/Getty Images

How to Bathe an Akita

Bathing your Akita is a critical part of their grooming routine. Below is a guide on how to properly bathe your Akita and the recommended frequency for this activity.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Bathe an Akita

  1. Preparation: Gather all your supplies including dog shampoo (preferably one designed for dogs with double coats), a large towel, a hairdryer (optional), and a tub large enough for your Akita.
  2. Check the Water Temperature: Ensure the water is warm but not hot. Akitas are sturdy, but they also appreciate comfort. The right water temperature can make bath time enjoyable for them.
  3. Wet the Fur: Start from the neck and work your way down to the tail. Make sure you wet the undercoat as well, which may require some extra effort due to the Akita’s thick fur.
  4. Apply Shampoo: Use a shampoo suitable for dogs, concentrating on soiled areas. Remember to be gentle and massage the shampoo into your Akita’s skin.
  5. Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse off all the shampoo from your dog’s coat. Any residue can cause skin irritation. Ensure you rinse the undercoat well.
  6. Towel Dry: After a thorough rinse, towel dry the fur as much as possible. Make sure you dry the undercoat as well to prevent any possible skin issues.
  7. Optional Drying: If your Akita is comfortable with it, you can use a hairdryer on the lowest heat setting to help speed up the drying process. Alternatively, you can allow them to air dry in a warm, draft-free room.
  8. Reward Your Dog: After the bath, reward your Akita with praise and a treat to reinforce the positive experience. This can make future baths much easier.
  9. Frequency: Akitas don’t need frequent baths. Unless they get into something messy, it’s usually enough to bathe them every 2-3 months. Over-bathing can strip the natural oils from their coat and cause skin issues.

Remember, always make bath time a positive and rewarding experience for your Akita. This will encourage them to be more accepting of the process in the future.

How Often Should Akitas Be Bathed?

Akitas are known for their self-grooming habits, much like cats, which keeps their coat in good condition most of the time. This breed does not require frequent bathing, and in fact, bathing them too often can strip their coat of necessary oils, leading to skin issues and a dull coat.

As a general rule, bathing an Akita once every two to three months is typically sufficient. However, if your Akita enjoys a romp in the mud or encounters a skunk, additional baths may be necessary.

For more details, check out our comprehensive guide on how to bathe your dog.

akita walking in a grassy field
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How to Brush Akita’s Teeth

Just like us, our furry friends also need regular dental care to maintain their overall health. Brushing your Akita’s teeth can help prevent dental diseases and bad breath. This might seem like a daunting task but with the right steps, it can become a pleasant routine for both you and your dog.

  1. Choose the Right Tools: Start with a toothbrush and toothpaste specially designed for dogs. Never use human toothpaste as it can be harmful to them.
  2. Get Them Acquainted: Let your Akita sniff and lick the toothpaste and toothbrush. This helps them get familiar with the tools.
  3. Start Slowly: Begin by lifting your dog’s lips gently and brushing only one or two teeth. Use circular strokes and focus on the area where the tooth meets the gum.
  4. Gradually Increase: Over time, gradually increase the number of teeth you brush each time until you’re able to brush all their teeth.
  5. Reward Your Akita: After each brushing session, give your Akita a reward. This could be a dog-friendly dental treat or lots of praise and petting.

Aim to brush your Akita’s teeth daily, or at least several times a week, to maintain their dental health. Be patient and make this a positive experience for your Akita. It’s okay if you only brush a few teeth the first few times – it’s a process that gets easier with time and practice.

For more details, check out our complete guide on how to brush your dog’s teeth.

akita inu lying on grass
Photo: Спиридонов Е.А./Getty Images

How to Trim Akita’s Nails

Just like brushing their teeth, keeping an Akita’s nails trimmed is essential for their overall health and comfort. Overly long nails can cause discomfort, affect your dog’s gait, and even lead to painful conditions like ingrown nails. Don’t worry – with patience and practice, nail trimming can become just another part of your grooming routine.

  1. Prepare Your Tools: Purchase a set of dog nail clippers from a pet store. These are designed to cut dog nails safely and effectively. It’s also handy to have some styptic powder on hand, which can help stop bleeding if you accidentally cut a nail too short.
  2. Get Your Akita Accustomed: Allow your Akita to first get comfortable with the nail clippers. Let them sniff and inspect them so it won’t seem so strange when you’re ready to start trimming.
  3. Hold the Paw Firmly: Hold your Akita’s paw firmly but gently. Make sure they’re calm and steady before you begin.
  4. Trim Gradually: Trim small bits of the nail at a time, starting from the end. Be careful not to cut into the quick, the sensitive part of the nail that has blood vessels. This is easier to see in dogs with lighter nails, as it appears as a pink area in the center of the nail.
  5. Offer Reassurance: Keep your voice steady and calm, praising your Akita as you trim each nail. This helps keep them relaxed.
  6. Reward Your Dog: After a successful trimming session, reward your Akita with their favorite treat or lots of affection. This makes the experience positive and something they can look forward to.

Regularly check your Akita’s nails, and aim to trim them every few weeks or as needed. Remember, it’s okay if you’re only able to trim a few nails at a time – consistency and patience is key.

For more details, check out our guide on how to trim your dog’s nails safely and easily.

akita in a park
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How to Clean Akita’s Ears

Akita’s ears require regular attention to maintain their health and cleanliness. Monitoring for any signs of infection or discomfort is part of responsible pet ownership and can greatly improve your Akita’s quality of life. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to clean your Akita’s ears:

  1. Gather Your Supplies: Purchase a vet-approved ear cleaning solution, cotton balls or pads, and treats for rewarding your Akita.
  2. Create a Calm Environment: Choose a quiet, comfortable space where your Akita can relax. This will help make the ear-cleaning process less stressful.
  3. Inspect the Ears: Before you start cleaning, inspect your Akita’s ears. Look for any signs of redness, swelling, or discharge. If you notice anything unusual, consult your vet before proceeding.
  4. Apply the Cleaning Solution: Hold your Akita’s ear upright and gently pour in the ear cleaning solution. Avoid touching the applicator to the ear to prevent the spread of bacteria.
  5. Massage the Base of the Ear: After applying the solution, gently massage the base of your Akita’s ear to help break up any debris or wax buildup.
  6. Wipe the Ear: Use a cotton ball or pad to gently wipe the inside of the ear. Never use a Q-tip as it can push debris deeper into the ear or damage the ear canal.
  7. Reward Your Akita: After successfully cleaning one ear, reward your Akita with a treat before moving on to the other ear.

Remember to clean your Akita’s ears regularly, ideally once a week or as recommended by your vet. Stay patient and make the process as positive as possible to ensure your Akita stays comfortable and cooperative.

For more details, check out our guide on how to properly clean your dog’s ears.

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