Ever watched your dog roll on the ground, lick her coat or chew at a mat on her fur? These are her ways of keeping clean. Sometimes, though, she’ll need a little extra help from her friend to look her best.
Regular grooming is very important. It keeps your dog clean, healthy, and manageable, as well as preventing yeast infections caused by matted hair, periodontal disease caused by uncared for teeth, ear infections from excessive buildup of wax, dirt and bacteria, etc. This article covers basic at-home grooming and ways to make the process more pleasant for everyone involve.
Grooming sessions should always be fun, so be sure to schedule them when your dog’s relaxed, especially if she’s the excitable type. Until your pet is used to being groomed, keep the sessions short-just 5 to 10 minutes. Gradually lengthen the time until it becomes routine for your dog. You can help her get comfortable with being touched and handled by making a habit of petting every single part of your dog, including such potentially sensitive areas as the ears, tail, belly, back and feet.
Brushing your dog’s teeth prevents all kinds of unpleasant health problems that have nothing to do with dog breath. Keeping nails trimmed allows your dog to move around comfortably. Cutting any hair that falls into the eye can prevent eye irritatation; keeping ear hair trimmed can help prevent ear infections.
There’s also the cleanliness factor. Bathing keeps dirt from being tracked all over your home. Grooming alleviates fleas, which can cause health problems for both you and your dog. Trimmed nails won’t mark your flooring.
Any pet supply store will stock the basic grooming supplies you’ll need:
- Nail clipper
- Flea control
- Dog toothpaste and toothbrush
Regular grooming with a brush or comb will help keep your pet’s hair in good condition by removing dirt, spreading natural oils throughout her coat, preventing tangles and keeping her skin clean and irritant-free. And grooming time’s a great time to check for fleas and flea dirt–those little black specks that indicate your pet is playing host to a flea family.
- First, use a rubber brush to loosen dead skin and dirt.
- Next, use a bristle brush to remove dead hair.
- Now, polish your low-maintenance pooch with a chamois cloth and she’s ready to shine!
- Use a slicker brush to remove tangles.
- Next, catch dead hair with a bristle brush.
- Don’t forget to comb her tail.
- Every day you’ll need to remove tangles with a slicker brush.
- Gently tease mats out with a slicker brush.
- Next, brush her coat with a bristle brush.
- If you have a long-haired dog with a coat like a collie’s or an Afghan hound’s, follow the steps above, and also be sure to comb through the fur and trim the hair around the hocks and feet.
The ASPCA recommends bathing your dog every 3 months or so; your pet may require more frequent baths in the summertime if she spends lots of time with your outdoors. Always use a mild shampoo that’s safe to use on dogs, and follow these easy steps:
- First, give your pet a good brushing to remove all dead hair and mats.
- Place a rubber bath mat in the bathtub to provide secure footing, and fill the tub with about 3 to 4 inches of lukewarm water.
- Use a spray hose to thoroughly wet your pet, taking care not to spray directly in her ears, eyes or nose. If you don’t have a spray hose, a large plastic pitcher or unbreakable cup will do.
- Gently massage in shampoo, working from head to tail.
- Thoroughly rinse with a spray hose or pitcher; again, avoid the ears, eyes and nose.
- Check the ears for any foul odors or excessive debris; if you choose to use a cleansing solution on a cotton ball, take care not to insert it into the ear canal.
- Dry your pet with a large towel or blow dryer, but carefully monitor the level of heat.
Please note: Some animals seem to think that bathtime is a perfect time to act goofy. Young puppies especially will wiggle and bounce all over the place while you try to brush them, and tend to nip at bathtime. If this sounds like your pet, put a toy that floats in the tub with her so she can focus on the toy rather than on mouthing you.
1.Gather all necessary supplies before beginning to groom the dog. Make sure you have all you need to clean eyes and ears, trim nails and/or hair, brush teeth, bathe, and dry.
2. Always brush your dog first, and do it thoroughly. Mats enlarge and become unmanageable when wet. If a mat goes undetected or coat care is neglected, you may have to shave or cut out the mat so that bacteria doesn’t grow between it and the skin and cause a yeast infection. Severe matting can also pull the skin from the muscle! Short-haired dogs will probably only need to be brushed over with a curry brush or glove, while medium- to long-coated dogs may require special tools like a slicker, a pin brush, or an undercoat rake. Whatever you use, it must effectively remove loose hair and distribute oils from the skin throughout the coat.
- Start by brushing the dog’s coat. Begin on his neck and move down his body, under his belly, and on his tail.
- If you want, you may use a human comb or hair brush. Stroke his coat gently with it to make the hairs lie flat.
- When you are finished, praise your dog and give him a treat or two for standing still.
- Eyes – Some breeds require more maintenance in this area than others. While it may be a simple matter of pulling eye debris away from a potentially irritating spot in the corner of the eye, long-haired or white-haired dogs may require special attention to make sure that all gunk is truly out of the coat. There are products made specially for removing “tear stains” from a white coat available in many pet supply stores or catalogs. A healthy eye should be clear and should not show any signs of irritation or unusual discharge. Your vet can cut or trim the hair around the eyes for you, which can cause tear stains (do not attempt to try this yourself).
- Ears – A clean ear may contain some wax and shouldn’t have any particular smell to it. Warm any cleaner or medication in a container of body temperature water (as you would a baby bottle) before you put it in the ear. Cold is painful in the ear canal. A few drops of warmed rubbing alcohol will dry water from the ear canal and kill bacteria, yeast and mites. To clean your dog’s ears, apply some ear cleaning solution to a cotton ball and simply wipe dirt and wax away from the inner ear. Don’t rub vigorously as to cause sores, and don’t travel too far into the ear; both could cause damage. And don’t expect your dog to like the process; you may be met with some resistance. When you’re done wiping out the ear with a damp cotton ball or cloth, gently dry it out with a dry one. If your dog’s ear looks swollen, red, irritated, dark or blackened, shows signs of discharge or sores, or smells really bad, call your veterinarian. This is not normal and could be signaling an infection or disease.
- Teeth – According to veterinarians, about 80% of dogs have periodontal disease. Ouch! If plaque is continually digested on a larger than normal scale, it can cause kidney or liver troubles. And how unbelievably painful can you imagine suffering through teeth rotting out of your head to be? Double ouch! Try to brush your dog’s teeth at least 2 to 3 times a week, or use “PetzLife” antimicrobial spray if you don’t have time or your dog is particularly resistant to the idea. Use only those products made specifically for dogs so that you don’t unintentionally poison your dog. You can use gauze over your finger or a toothbrush, or there are more advanced and effective products available. For example pets tooth brush is a surgical glove with bristles attached to the thumb and forefinger. But either way, ease your dog into the process so that it can be a pleasant experience rather than a stressful one and you don’t get yourself bitten. Pets will usually prefer human touch rather than a hard plastic brush. If your dog already has a considerable buildup of tartar and plaque, veterinary cleaning may be needed. Some dogs will let you scrape the tartar if you are brave enough to try it. Just purchase a dental scraper and be gentle. Otherwise, brushing or spraying about 3 times weekly supplemented with the occasional frozen raw bone (acquired at any butcher or deli) should be enough for maintenance. Remember that you should not use human toothpaste on your pets. Pets will swallow the toothpaste and may get sick. There are several pet toothpaste products available, just be sure that whatever you use is specifically approved for pets.
- Nails – If left uncared for, nails can grow to enormous lengths, twisting the toe and causing a pained, irregular gait that can lead to skeletal damage, sometimes even curling into the pads of the foot. To keep your dog’s nails short, clip them regularly. Depending on the dog, you may need to do it as often as once a week or as infrequently as once a month. To clip the nails, trim a very small amount of nail (like 1/16 of an inch) away with a pair of dog nail clippers (unless it is a very young puppy or very small dog, in which case human clippers may suffice). Should you accidentally clip too much nail away and hit a blood vessel, styptic powder or corn starch applied with a bit of pressure should stop any bleeding.
- Blow dry the dog as best as you can without completely drying him or her. You don’t want to dry out the skin. If you have a dog with especially long hair, you may need to dry the coat while brushing it.
- Dogs with curly coats like poodles and Bichons need to be dried thoroughly or the hair will revert to curl. Feet always need to be dried thoroughly as well or fungus may take hold.
- When blow drying your dogs hair make sure that the blow dryer is on the cool setting! It may take longer than usual, but it’s worth the time because there will be less of a chance your dog’s hair and skin will dry out.