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Removal of Whiskers
             The removal of whiskers is subject to debate. It's allowable, but some fanciers feel that you are injuring a sensory organ when you do so. You must decide one way or the other, the clean look or the whiskered look. Do not leave the stubble look or feel. If you do remove whiskers, insert your finger inside the lip and push out where you want to cut them. Use the tip of scissors to snip as closely to the skin as possible.

Grooming the Headpiece
             Use a flea comb to comb the dead hair off the muzzle. It is also valuable under the bottom jaw and around the lip where food may be trapped. Use the one-inch comb on the skull to comb down and define the scowl. Comb the fine hair behind the ears. Brush the offstanding mane to frame the head. Keep your Chow's bib dry with the dryer or some cornstarch or powder. Secure a towel or bib tightly under the chin until judging.

             The Chow Chow Standard reads "Obvious trimming or shaping is undesirable". The key word here is obvious. A red puppy coat that has been scissored back to expose charcoal gray or black undercoat looks awful. So does a male's underside that has been scalped so much as to leave his penis in plain view. Cutting the mane into a perfect circle is unnatural. Why people scissor-in a tuck-up on a breed that frowns on one is a mystery.              However, do not kid yourself that trimming doesn't exist. Look at most of the top-winning Chows and notice how neat they look. Scissoring, plucking and thinning helped create that look.
Pointy tips on the ears can be rounded off. A low tailset can be made to appear higher, as can a good tailset. A mane hanging in a point and obstructing the front gives an optical illusion of a narrower front. The same holds true for excess coat between the front legs. It's better to lop off long wisps than to try and save them. Scissoring back actually gives a fuller look.

             Do not think that clipping your Chow down for summer will cool him. Instead, his coat acts as insulation. Even if you've neglected your dog's coat, it is still preferable to carefully comb it out rather than shave it off.

Hot Spots
              Moist eczema, or more simply, a hot spot, is the condition whereby your dog will chew on his skin and coat until it becomes a raw, oozing sore. Any number of factors can contribute to your Chow gnawing on himself. Boredom, change of diet, stress, and allergies are usually the cause. Allergies can involve your Chow being overly sensitive to a fleabite. You may not find any fleas on your dog because his skin naturally repels them, but one may eat and run. Some Chows have been found to be allergic to wheat. Therefore, when a corn-based kibble is substituted, an improvement is possible. Basically, if you suspect your dog is having an allergic reaction to something, have your veterinarian conduct a series of tests.

If you can nip a hot spot before it becomes too deep or too infected, you might try something as simple as a cornstarch, not talc-based, medicated powder. The object is to dry up the moisture and relieve your Chow of the itchiness.

 If the hot spot is severe, your only recourse is to clip down that area, consult your vet for medicated shampoo and salve, and keep the spot clear of flies. This is a gross subject, but double coats trap moist eczema and invite flies that lay eggs. In a matter of hours eggs can become maggots that burrow into the skin. Therefore, treat any hot spot immediately and you should be able to clear it up rather quickly.

Good luck with your grooming!

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