Proper grooming is an important part of pet care and important for your pet’s health. It not only makes his coat looking clean and shiny but also contributes to your animals well being.
Normally it is enough to bath your dog once a month. If your dog has a dirty yard to dig in and likes to sleep in your bed, you might want to give him a bath every 2 to 3 weeks. Make sure not to bath him too often, this might result in dry, flaky skin and even hair loss. If your dog has long hair make sure to brush him before giving him a bath.
Place a rubber mat or a large bath towel in your bathtub to prevent the animal from slipping. If your dog is very small, you can try the same in a sink. Some people use cotton balls to prevent the inside of the ears to get wet, my dog absolutely dislikes it. In that case, pay extra attention to prevent water from running into the ears.
First, rinse your dog with tepid to warm water. Keep the water flow close to the pet to prevent spraying water all over him. Don’t spray into his face and never into his ears. If your dog is in pain, first make sure to see a vet to find the cause so that your grooming won’t be painful
Apply pet shampoo to your hands and rub your hands gently into the dog’s fur. If your animal has dry skin, use Dermaplex Dry Skin Relief Shampoo, which is an excellent product. Start at the head again, skip face and ears, and work towards the tail. Don’t forget to shampoo the belly area, legs, and tail. Don’t use too much shampoo or you will have a hard time rinsing it out completely.
Let shampoo sit for 2 to 3 minutes while you are rubbing his body gently. This is especially important for flea-shampoo, such as Flea & Tick Shampoo. It takes about 3 minutes for the shampoo to kill fleas. (In case you don’t have dog shampoo handy, baby shampoo or a mild liquid hand soap do the trick. Just avoid harsh cleaners, such as dishwashing detergent, etc.).
Rinse your pet several minutes with tepid to warm water. Make sure the water is not too hot, animals are sensitive. Check in-between legs if all shampoo is rinsed off. The coat should feel clean, not sticky and foamy. See also this post if you’re confronted with aggression between dogs.
Dry your dog careful with a towel, or several. At that occasion, you can use a damp cloth to wipe his face, eyes, and the outside of the ears. If your pet obliges, use a hair dryer to get rid of all dampness. Warning: not all dogs like hairdryers, some get really upset and will try to bite into it. Keep your dog in a warm place until coat is completely dry and be sure your dog is properly house trained.
Brushing Your Dogs Coat
Your pet should be brushed every day. Some shorthaired animals don’t need a lot of brushing, still stick to the routine and use a massage brush for them instead. By brushing an animal you not only remove dirt, detangle hair, you will also give the animal a slight massage, which is good for their soul and well being. Brushing an animal’s coat also spreads the natural oils throughout the coat, which prevents it to form tangles.
Your pet should get introduced to brushing at a very early age. Start immediately as soon as you get your puppy. Make brushing a fun time and be gentle. Don’t push too hard and don’t pull too much if the brush gets caught in a tangle. To remove tangles use a shedding blade. Praise your dog every time he lets you brush him and reward him with a treat and your children should also be able to do this. When your dog demonstrates problems, make sure to train your dog in a responsible way.
If you get yourself an older dog that never had been brushed or does not enjoy brushing due to a bad experience, start brushing in sections. It’s better to finish brushing your dog within a period of 2 days than not brushing him at all. Sooner or later, with the help of treats and praises, your dog will find out that this is not intended torture but rather a pleasurable experience. Some dogs though will never truly enjoy brushing but that often has roots in the wrong puppy training basics.
For dogs that have their hair cut frequently, you can also buy a dog-grooming kit, such as “Oster Home Grooming Kit”, to be used in-between groomer’s visits. These kits can save you a bunch of money and contain many useful items.
Depending on how much your dog is walked on hard surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt, you might want to trim his nails once per month, or every two months. Before you start, purchase a small bottle of blood clotting powder in case of an accident. Get a special nail clipper designed to trim pet nails, don’t try it with your nail clipper or regular scissors. A good and convenient set of tools is the Groomax Nail Care Essentials that contains various items for your pet’s nail care. See also: Obedience Training – Teaching Your Dop Not To Jump Up.
Don’t cut too close to the “quick” (that’s where the nerve and the blood vessels are located inside the nail) or you will trigger bleeding. If the dog has really long nails try to cut half the length, then wait for a week to let the nerve retrieve, and cut the rest afterward. If your dog starts bleeding don’t panic put some clotting powder on the nail with a cotton swab and press firmly for a few seconds.
Some dogs absolutely HATE having their nails trimmed. You might need a second person to help you hold the animal while you hold the paw to prevent injury. Even the smallest dog can wiggle so much that you will be unable to clip his nails. My dog HATES it, and I have tried grooming places with no success, even at the vet he did not comply. The vet was seriously thinking of sedating him, that’s how aggressive he got, but I declined. Now I try to clip his nails while he is sleeping. It might take me 3 days for all 4 paws because he normally wakes up, but we somehow get the job done.
Ear care is a very important part of grooming. An ear infection can not only be painful but also lead to hearing loss. The signs of problems with an animal’s ears include constant scratching, redness, head shaking, and odor. If there are children in the house, please train them as well. Unintended harm or pain is so easily inflicted and you better watch your dog’s reaction!
Check the dog’s ears every week. The skin inside should be a pale pink color. If there is any foul odor and/or any brown, red, or black skin, or black little dots mixed with earwax, have a vet look at your pet’s ears. Your dog might have mites or an ear infection. Moisten a cotton ball with warm water or a little mineral oil and gently clean the flaps and the inside. Don’t probe deeply into the ear canal. Never let water get into your dog’s ears. An ear infection is a painful experience for your animal.
Dogs can get cavities or develop periodontal disease. To ensure healthy teeth brush them with a pet toothpaste twice a week. Get a special dog-toothpaste form your pet supply store plus a children’s toothbrush with soft bristles, or buy a Dental Care Kit. Again, this is one of the tasks you should start performing while your dog is a puppy. Introducing older dogs to tooth brushing might not be successful.
Your vet can provide a proper, thorough tooth cleaning, same as a dentist for humans. This will keep your dog fit and healthy. Animals are normally sedated during this procedure. Since this task is not cheap, watch for some special offers your vet might announce at occasions and schedule accordingly!