Grooming your dog is an essential part of being a good dog owner. Like us humans they have general hygiene needs like cleaning teeth and ears, bathing, trimming nails and also combing of their coat. If your dogs are anything like ours out on walks they will head for the first muddy puddle they see, maybe your dog likes to explore in the stream or run on the beach, we also had a dog that we had to watch like a hawk because any chance he got he would flip on his back and roll in a fresh cow-pat! So needless to say he needed regular baths, so this blog is about some general dog grooming tips, and why it’s important to do them.
Make sure you brush your dog regularly.
Depending on the type of coat your dog has will depend on how frequently you need to give them a brush, we have two Alaskan Malamutes so as you can imagine they require a lot more brushing than my Shar Pei does, although he loves getting brushed so whenever I brush my others he can’t be left out.
Apart from keeping your dog looking nice brushing your dog will stimulate the oils in their skin & keep it moist & healthy. Brushing will prevent matting of your dogs coat it gets rid of dead hair in the coat which reduces shedding and the amount of fur around your home, it’s also a great way to give your dog some attention.
Give your dog regular baths.
You can get specialist dog shampoos and conditioners from pet stores, some are medicated which is good if your dog suffers from skin problems. Never use a flea shampoo unless your dog actually needs it, as it can dry out their skin. Always make sure you thoroughly rinse all the soap out of your dog’s coat so as not to cause any skin issues, and make sure you do not get water inside the ears. I also recommend giving them a brush before a bath, if your dog has any matts in their coat they can hold the soap making it hard to rinse them, and also a brush cuts down on the loose hairs coming away as they are washed preventing blockages of the plug hole and drains.
Trim your dog’s nails.
You can keep the length of your dog’s nails down by walking your dog often as it will wear down their nails. But you should keep your eye on them and if needed clip your dog’s nails on a regular basis. Make sure you do not cut too short they can bleed & sting. If your dog has lighter coloured nails it is easier as you can see where the quick is but if not and you are unsure or your dog has long nails and the quick has grown just take a small amount off each week as the quick will gradually recede back with the nail. You can also take your dog to a Groomer to have the nails trimmed. But If you think your dog will be aggressive about getting their nails cut it is best to take them to the veterinarian they may just charge slightly more than a groomer.
Give your dog a winning smile.
Just like us, our dog’s needs their teeth brushed daily, to reduce tartar and prevent gum disease. You can do this by using a child sized toothbrush, a specially designed dog toothbrush or a finger toothbrush that is designed for your dog. The toothpaste that you use should be one designed for dogs only, never use your own toothpaste as it can make your dog ill. To help keep your dog’s teeth in top condition, you can also give them certain chews to gnaw on that will help keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Keep your dogs ears clean.
You can buy ear cleaner for your dog from a pet shop or at your vets. Put some of the ear cleaner on a cotton ball and wipe around the outer surface of the inner ear. You can also buy wipes to clean dogs ears but the cleaner and cotton buds are more cost effective.do not put anything into the inside of your dog’s ear doing so you could damage the ear or push and dirt further down inside the ear canal. If you keep your dogs ears clean & dry you will reduce the chance of ear infections & ear mites.
What to do if you do not want to do it yourself.
Most dog owners will take care of their own dogs grooming needs. It’s a great way to bond with your dog and a good way to double it up with health check as grooming and caring for your dog regularly you will be more likely to notice any differences in them. Not to mention it can save you money. But some people prefer to put their dogs in the hands of the professionals, especially if they have a dog that’s coat requires trimming or maybe they are nervous about trimming their dogs nails. There are lots of professional dog groomers available in your area, as with everything, do some research before you take your dog, a lot of people go to places upon recommendation of others that they know who have taken their dogs somewhere. You can also enquire with your vets to see if they have any recommendations too.
Dogs have their own way of grooming.
Dogs have their own methods of grooming, they use licking, shaking and scratching to stay clean. But you can still do things yourself to make sure they stay healthy. By brushing them, you are helping the fur to stay clean and unmatted. Again depending on the breed and coat of your dog some may need a daily brush others weekly is fine. Regular brushing will give you the chance to keep on top of noticing if your dog has a flea issue as any black bits you might see may be flea droppings.
If you have a pup start grooming them from an early age, but if you have taken in an older rescue dog that might not be as keen, just take it slowly first just use your hands then introduce the brush short gentle brushing sessions and give them a treat to make it as enjoyable an experience as you can.
It doesn’t take long.
Whether you choose to do it yourself or take your dog to a groomer, If you keep on top of your dog’s grooming regime it will not take too long at all, brushing your dog daily or weekly will take a lot less time than brushing them every now and then, and having to tackle matted areas of fur, plus it will be way more comfortable for your dog. Daily teeth cleaning will take no longer than doing your own, regular walks will help with keeping the nail length down, but still regularly check and trim as needed, and then a regular checking of the ears eyes will stop any infections building up, cutting down on those visits to the vets.