A lot of people think that Japanese Akitas are a wash and wear breed. For the most part, that is true, but it is slightly more complicated than that. New owners must never underestimate the power of the coat blow. It usually happens twice a year and when it does happen, be prepared for the tufts of undercoat that will gather wherever your JA likes to lay down or the globs of fuzz that will roll across the floor like tumbleweeds. If you stay on top of combing out the undercoat, and get used to vacuuming and/or sweeping the floor (or if you want to invest in a Roomba), things should be fine. Another important point to make is that hot spots may develop if your dog’s skin is not thoroughly dried after a bath. Without further ado, here is the grooming checklist.

  • Baby wipes. They are cheaper than dog-specific wipes and handy to clean up your dog’s paws, ears, privates and general wipe down after an excursion.
  • After an excursion, check your dog’s paws ears, privates and do general wipe down as needed. Check for foreign objects or pests that may be clinging to their coat.
  • If you use baby wipes to clean their ears daily, you might not need to get ear cleaners.
  • If tree sap or gum gets on their fur or paws, mineral oil (Baby Oil) or olive oil can loosen the sap/gum for easier removal.
  • Brush or comb for daily care.
    • Stick to standard combs/brushes and avoid ones that have blades designed to cut the fur. They may be highly rated in online reviews, but they can potentially damage the guard hair and your Japanese Akita with her glorious fur coat deserves to have her guard hair intact!
    • A dematter should not be needed if you comb your pup regularly
  • For puppies, avoid professional grooming and self-service pet washes until vaccination schedule is complete. Puppies play (a lot) and will get dirty. They can get bathed 1x a week but reduce to as needed to avoid drying out their coat/skin.
  • Adult dogs can be bathed once every 2-6 weeks, depending on owner discretion. If you wipe down your dogs after every excursion with baby wipes, you can prolong the duration between baths and brush outs.
  • If self-bathing, doggy shampoo/conditioner and a dog-specific dryer is recommended to prevent hot spots and skin infections.
    • Several members are happy with Metrovac’s Air Force Commander Professional Pet Grooming Dryer – Portable, 2 Speed Motor.
    • The shampoo may need to be diluted if the dog has sensitive skin.
    • Even if you’re using tearless shampoo, please avoid the eye area.
    • Insert large cotton balls (not synthetic cosmetic puffs) in your dog’s ears to prevent trapping water and causing an ear infection but do not insert too deeply. You may have told your little brother to shove that bean up his nose when you were kids which landed him at the ER but you don’t want to be that guy again as a pet owner.
  • In between baths, a waterless shampoo/grooming foam maybe useful.
  • Nail clipper

If applicable, you may want to look into the following items:

  • Grooming table. It really helps save your back in the long run.
  • Hair clipper or scissors, if applicable.
    • Some girl puppies require a sanitary trim near their dainty privates until they are higher up from the ground.
    • Some boy puppies may need to have their belly fur shaved when they enter puberty and start to secrete smegma, but have not learned to clean themselves. That’s right, smegma. That gross thing you learned about in middle school sex ed. Your pubescent male dog will probably get it.

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Shopping List:

  • Baby wipes
  • Brush or comb for daily care
  • Nail clipper
  • Optional:
    • Doggy shampoo/conditioner
    • Dog-specific dryer
    • Grooming table
    • Hair clipper or scissors