Cavapoos are generally considered high maintenance dogs due to their grooming requirements. Even though the breed doesn't shed, their coat requires frequent care to keep it looking healthy. This page goes over how to take care of the cavapoo and what needs to be done to properly groom the breed.
The cavapoo's coat requires more attention than most dogs. This is because cavapoos can inherit the poodle's hair coat which, while ideal for allergy sufferers, can become tangled and knotted unless properly cared for.
It is recommended to start grooming your cavapoo regularly while they are still young before their adult coat comes in. Not only will this give you an opportunity to bond with your dog, but puppy coats are easier to groom so it will help your cavapoo get used to the grooming process at an early age.
A simple two-sided brush (a pin and bristle brush) is one of the best brushes for grooming your cavapoo. The metal side can be used for getting out minor tangles, while the soft side will smooth and style the coat. You will need to brush your cavapoo multiple times a week to keep their coat soft and free of tangles. You will also need to brush your cavapoo after bathing as their hair can become frizzy and increase the chances for future tangles.
- Brush small sections at a time. Start with a small area (such as the head or foot) and work you way from there to cover the rest of the body.
- Be gentle. It can be uncomfortable for your cavapoo if you brush too vigorously.
- Always brush your cavapoo after baths before their coat is dry. A cavapoos coat can frizz and knot if they are not brushed after bathing.
- A good rule of thumb is if your cavapoo's coat is difficult to brush, you are not brushing frequently enough. A well-groomed cavapoo should have a soft easy to brush coat.
You should use a metal comb with wide teeth to get out tangles and knots in your cavapoo's fur. The wide teeth make it easier to work out the tangles and the metal comb prevents any teeth from bending or breaking (which is common with plastic combs. You can also get a de-matting comb which is designed for the same purpose.
Hair will grow inside the ears of your cavapoo, which can lead to ear infections and may eventually cause sinus issues. To prevent this your groomer will need to pluck all the hairs from inside the ears.
Do Cavapoos smell? While not really known for their "doggy odor," these hybrids can get stinky--especially if they're overdue for a bath! In general, Cavapoos need bathing monthly (unless, of course, the dog gets especially dirty and smelly, and an "emergency bath" is called for).
It's important when bathing a Cavapoo to use canine shampoo and conditioner, as the kind made for humans can irritate a dog's skin. The best shampoo for Cavapoo dogs includes brands like Earthbath, Isle of Dogs, and Pro Pet Works, all of which have canine conditioner products as well.
How to bathe a Cavapoo: first give the dog a good brushing. Your Cavapoo might be small enough to bathe in the kitchen sink; otherwise, a bathtub (hopefully with a spray nozzle attachment) or an outdoor plastic pool using a garden hose will work. Wet the coat thoroughly, then apply a small amount of Cavapoo shampoo to the dog's back. Lather well, working downward and outward as you go. (And don't forget the legs, underbelly, and tail!) Clean the dog's face, head, and ears with a washcloth, then rinse the coat until the water runs clear. Repeat the entire process with conditioner.
Towel-dry the coat well (unless the coat is naturally straight, using a hair dryer will make it too frizzy), then finish by giving the coat another quick brush-through to make it look neat and clean.
If your cavapoo walks frequently on cement or any other hard rough surface, their nails may not need to be cut. However, most cavapoos will need their nails to be cut or trimmed back. This can be done at home or by a a professional if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself. You will need a good pair of dog nail clippers to do this.
Your Cavapoo will also need regular maintenance in these areas:
- Tear Stains: Though naturally occurring and painless, Cavapoo tear stains can look unsightly. Tear stains are caused by liquid discharge from the eyes of lighter-colored dogs; when the tears (which contain a lot of iron) mix with the light-colored hair beneath the eyes, the area is stained a reddish-brown color. And though an Internet search for "cavapoo tear stain treatment" will return a multitude of results, vets say the best way to get rid of them is with a solution containing boric acid (like contact lens cleaner). Wipe the area twice daily with the solution, vets say, until the stain is gone.
- Teeth: Just like a human's, Cavapoo teeth will need regular brushing to reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar, and to minimize that Cavapoo bad breath! Brush the dog's teeth 2-3 times per week using a regular toothbrush--but be sure to use canine toothpaste, as the kind made for humans can make dogs sick if they swallow it.
- Ears: If your Cavapoo's ears aren't cleaned periodically, they'll collect dirt and debris and even get infected--which could lead to hearing loss. Clean the dog's ears at least once per month using canine ear cleaning solution. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions, and use cotton balls (never Q-Tips!) to wipe out any excess solution.
- Toe Hair: If the hair between your Cavapoo's toes gets too long, it'll get extremely dirty, and even cause infections. Use scissors to trim the hair short if needed.
- Paw Pads: Your Cavapoo's paw pads can become dry, cracked, and tender, especially if the dog walks a lot on hot asphalt or snow and ice. Apply canine paw pad moisturizer to the dog's pads weekly to keep them soft, moist, and healthy.
If you've never had experience grooming a dog before, it will be best if you take your cavapoo to an experienced groomer. Once you've found the groomer to use, you will want to consider the following:
Tell Your Groomer What You Want - Since the cavapoo is a hybrid dog, there is no standard cut for the breed. Because of this, very few groomers will know how to style the cut. It is up to you to clearly express how you want your cavapoo's coat to be cut. It is recommended to take at least one photo of a dog with the exact same hair style/cut that you want your dog to have.