Lhasa apsos have certain special needs that should always be disclosed by the Breeder. This particular subject may be offensive in nature but it’s seriousness cannot be negated. Grooming itself is extremely important and requires dedication if a full coat of hair is to be kept. However, another aspect of grooming that must be considered is the rear end of the Lhasa apso. Lhasa’s will sometimes get feces caught in their hair, particularly if they are in full coat. If the feces begins to build up a Lhasa can become impacted {feces and hair block the anus} and the dog will not be able to move its bowels. Over a very short period of time the dog will become sick and ultimately this can lead to death. In the summer the threat of fly larvae must also be considered. Sadly it is not uncommon for an owner to miss the telltale signs of an impacted pet and maggot infestation may develop. Many long coated breeds are prone to both of these problems and vets have had the sad responsibility of putting down dogs that are being cannibalized from a more severe case of maggot infestation. Watch for telltale signs…dragging back end on the ground, whining and biting at the back end, foul odor, and lethargy are just a few. If you are not prepared to groom your Lhasa apso regularly two alternatives are suggested. Keep the hair around the rectal area clipped to about ½ an inch long or simply keep your Lhasa apso clipped with a puppy type clip to avoid this problem entirely. Should your Lhasa apso become impacted, soak the puppy’s back end in warm water with a little baby shampoo mixed in. Wearing latex gloves, slowly disengage feces from hair until all feces is removed. Using a pair of sharp scissors, carefully trim away all hair from area. Inspect area for any sign of infection, or larvae. If you suspect either see your vet immediately! If area is just raw and irritated treat with a small amount of Vaseline. Dog should be kept in for a day or so when possible, until any raw area is healed over.
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Although the Lhasa apso puppy does not shed, its coat will change when the puppy is between the ages of 8 and 15 months. The soft puppy coat is replaced by a coarser textured adult coat. During this transition daily grooming is necessary to remove the old hair and prevent matting. Mats can begin forming in a couple of days and often go unnoticed because they develop next the the skin, beneath the outer hairs. Once these mats begin to connect, grooming can become impossible and clipping may be the only way to remove these hidden mats. Mats, when left unattended become painful, leaving raw spots that may become infected or worse. Regular grooming from early puppy hood will help your Lhasa apso be prepared for this trying period of daily grooming. This transition does require additional work but will also bring with it a coat more easily maintained. Brushing will always be part of your Lhasa apso care unless you maintain a puppy type clip year round.