A very important part of many people’s family is a dog. You don’t want them to fall ill because of dirt or looking bad in your house. When they smell good and look good, you feel accomplished. Grooming your dog is an important part of being a responsible pet owner.
Many people will take them for grooming just once in six weeks or even more, but did you know that you can keep them looking good regularly at home? Yes you can.
This is an activity that will help you build a strong bond with your pet. You will have a strong and healthy relationship with it as well as keeping both of you healthy. You don’t have to wait for an appointment with the groomer to keep the pet clean.
Doing it yourself is a sure way for you to have a closer look at your dog, you will be able to notice some physical problems of an underlying medical condition that you would not have noticed if you didn’t groom it.
Here are dog-grooming tips that will help you do it from home
Dog Grooming Tips at Home
Your dog is supposed to enjoy the whole grooming process. Of course, this is not fun for them. Introducing the process little by little will be the best way to make them enjoy it.
There is obviously a part of it that they will hate but at least not all of it. Choose the one you want to start with like brushing the coat or cutting the nails as well as the intervals at which you will be doing it. For example, you can skip one day before you go to the next one.
You cannot do all the grooming in one day. You can choose the time for each. There are those that you can do in the same day such as brushing the teeth and brushing the coat. There are also the ones that are done regularly.
The best way to do it is to learn how to treat the dog. For example, you can give him a good treat after bathing which many dogs hate. This will make him go through the process in a calm way knowing that there will be a reward after it.
To make sure that you do it the right way, it is important to have all the grooming tools for each procedure. Have the brushes, the scissors the bath tabs, and the towels among others. You can find out about the tools for dog grooming from your vet or groomer.
This is an important part of grooming that every dog needs. You may wonder how to know when the nails are too big, the answer is, when the nails are too long, you will hear them clack when the dog walks on hard surfaces.
Well-kept nails should not protrude over the pad and should not touch the ground while standing.
Long nails come with many bad effects like causing health problems. The pet can develop arthritis from long nails. It gets so uncomfortable for a dog to move when they have the long nails. They experience a lot of pain and they can also be gloomy from the discomfort that comes with long nails.
Nail grinders are the best to use. Trimming also depends on the dog. There are some dogs whose nails take time to grow, especially the ones that do a lot of walking and there are those that nails grow so fast.
Generally, nail trimming can be done once a month if they don’t grow so fast, for the ones that grow so fast, you can do trimming at least after two weeks.
Do not trim them too short because this can cause bleeding. In an instance where there is bleeding, you can use cornstarch to stop the bleeding. You could also purchase the styptic powder and keep it because it does so well in stopping the bleeding.
Note that regular exercise is the best way to keep the nails in good condition. Exercise naturally wears down the nails. However, you will need to keep checking on the nails that do not touch the ground surface such as the thumb.
Brushing of Coat/Fur
Your dog needs brushing regularly to keep their fur and skin healthy. This is irrespective of whether their fur is short or long. However, doing it too much can cause brush burn. The technique here is getting the right brush to do it.
There are various types of brushes that one can buy depending on the type of fur that you are dealing with. Getting the right brush or comb is the best way towards achieving the best results.
There are various types of brushes that can be used. De-matting rakes are used to remove the dense under coat. Slicker brush works well with the thin flowing coats of golden retrievers or the wiry coats of German long hair pointers.
For smooth coats, de-shedding tools works so well. You can get the best brushes in pets supply stores. Your vet can also be the best help in getting the suitable brush for your dog.
Getting the right brush is not the only way to make sure that you don’t hurt the dog; you should also do it gently and systematically.
The importance of brushing the coats is to remove debris, dead hair and getting rid of unpleasant smell that comes from the coat. Be gentle when doing this especially if your dog’s has got sensitive skin.
Though most dogs really hate bath time, bathing plays a very important role in the health of the dog’s coat and skin. It basically keeps your dog free from parasites that could also cause diseases.
The main question you may be having is how often you should clean your dog. Well, they don’t necessarily need daily bathing. This depends on some factors like the environment it is in and the type of coat. Your vet can help you determine how regular you need to bath it.
There are some general guidelines that would help when it comes to bathing your dog:
How Frequently to Bath Your Dog
Essentially, bathing should be done when necessary but once a month does well for most dogs. Note that bathing them too frequently may lead to dry skin.
- Dogs with oily coat may be washed once a week
- Thick coats do best with fewer baths and a lot of extra brushing
- Water repellent coats should not be bathed often to preserve their natural oils
Type of dog shampoo to use
- Choose the right shampoo because the wrong one may end up causing more problems to the skin.
- Use mild and gentle shampoo on the ones that have healthy coat and skin
- If your dog has a skin condition, consult a vet on the type of shampoo to use.
How exactly to bath your dog
This really depends on individual circumstances but there are some things you can consider
- You can use a bathtub or a portable doggy tub to do the bathing. These are mostly available in pet supply stores.
- You can bath them outdoors. This is easy because you will not have to lift the large dogs and it will also be good because most of the dogs will try to jump out of the tub. In this case you can use hosepipe on low pressure.
- Always use lukewarm water, as hot water will burn dogs more easily. Most of the pets will not at any time enjoy the bathing part. It can be stressful for them. However, there are some things you can do to make them enjoy this part of grooming. Here is what you can do to make them enjoy bathing
- Use the communication skill that your dog understands.
- Go slowly on the process. Pat them on the chest area, shoulders sides and along the back gradually working towards other areas.
- Introduce them to the bath equipment you are going to use. These are the towels, shampoo, tub and the non-slip mats. Train them on how to stand calm on the non-slip mat to avoid accidents on the slippery floor.
Drying the dog
Help them dry up by using absorbent towels. Do not use dryers because they can be too hot which is unpleasant to the pet.
This is a grooming tip that also prevents some diseases such as gum disease and heart disease among other infections that are caused by bacteria from bad teeth. Here are some tips that will help you in doing this
Choose the right brush
Use a dog toothbrush that is moistened and has soft bristles. The other option is to use a toothbrush designed for kids or use the finger as a toothbrush.
Use pet toothpaste
There is a special toothpaste that is specifically for dogs. Never use human toothpaste, as it can be very harmful to your dog. Remember dogs don’t spit, if they swallow human toothpaste it will be definitely harmful to them.
- Give your dog a small sample of toothpaste to introduce the taste
- Brush with gentle motions and make sure you reach all the areas especially the back upper molars and canines as these teeth tend to quickly build up tartars.
- Brush the teeth every day or at least thrice a week and professionally cleaned once a year.
Dogs Hate toothbrushes and toothpastes
Some dogs will definitely hate the brushing and this can make it hard for you to groom their teeth. However, there is a way you can clean their teeth without making them hate you. Here are some ways to do it
- Use natural dental sprays. The right dental spray will help reduce and prevent dental plaque and tarter build-ups. It will also prevent bad breath.
- Give them a healthy natural diet. You can do this by giving them fruits and vegetables as snacks. Give them dental chew toys that have variety of texture. Make sure you supervise them when you give them chew toys.
- Use water additives though some dogs will dislike the taste and the smell. If your dog doesn’t mid the smell and taste, water additives is an easy way to groom the teeth.
Actually I have myself faced teeth related issues with my dogs in the past and the simple solution was to clean their teeth daily just like we do for our teeth. This led me to write 3 DIY teeth cleaning recipes which are so much beneficial for dog’s teeth in the long run.
Your dog needs a hair cut once in a while. To make sure that you do it right especially if it is your first time, you need to use a pair of scissors. This has a benefit of keeping your dog calm as you do it.
Here is how to do it best:
Decide on the length
Cut the fur according to your desired length. You may want it completely short or a bit long; trim it to your desire
- Cut from the area at the top of the dog’s neck down to the tail area
- Do it gently to avoid injuring it
- Be extra careful on the sensitive areas like the face, ears, feet, and tail
It is important to know the common body areas that need regular hair trimming. These areas are
- Around the eye area if the hair is starting to cause irritation. The dog may never tell you that it is experiencing irritation because of long hair around the eye, keep observing it find out.
- Around the anus. This is bad because it will trap faeces hence causing very bad odor and make the dog very uncomfortable
- Around the chin and lower jaw because it will trap food.
Just like all the other parts, these ones too must be kept clean.
Grooming Dog Ears
Taking care of the ears will help keep the dog free from any ear infection. Dogs with drop ears are prone to get ear infections than the ones with ears that stand upright.
The ones with drop ears can be cleaned weekly and the others can be cleaned monthly. It is important to consult your vet on how often you should clean the ear to avoid doing it too much or too little.
A cotton ball which is soaked with some canine ear cleaning solution can be used to remove outside dirt. You should never put this cotton ball deeper in the ear to avoid any harm to the ear.
Many people would get nervous about cleaning the dog’s ears at home. However, you can comfortably do it if you get the right supplies and techniques. You can learn about the techniques from your vet who will also tell you on the best supplies to use for this task.
The ideal time to wash your dog’s eyes is when you are washing its face and it should definitely be just plain water without shampoo, however, there are times when a dog needs a quick touch on the eyes like when you want to remove tear stains.
This should be done carefully as the dog has sensitive eyes just like you. Cleaning of the eyes is a simple process that has no schedule of how often it should be done.
You will only do it if there is dirt or an infection; this means that you will need to be keeping an eye on it. For infection, getting help from a vet is the best way to do it, if the infection is not so severe, you may see a groomer who will help in cleaning it.
Cleaning tear stains or light fur is something that you can do from home. Gently wipe the edge of the eye with a warm damp clean cloth or sponge.
You should never do it directly in the eye’s surface or use pressure to the eye in any way. There are eye wipes that are specifically for dogs and you can get them from the pet supply store.
For more in-depth articles and great ways to take care of dog eyes, read the Dog Eye Care 101 article.
It is common for most dogs to grow hair between the pads on the bottom of their feet. This hair will collect pesticides and debris when it grows long.
To groom this part, you can use trimmers or scissors. This should be done carefully because it is a sensitive part to trim. Make sure you don’t trim too dip inside to avoid harming the dog.
Cleaning the paws can be done on a daily basis especially if you take it for a walk daily. This will help you to see any paw problems that might need attention and prevent others from developing.
Make Appointments With Dog Groomers
Though you do it all at home, there are instances where you will need professional grooming especially in areas that you do not clean regularly.
You will need to make appointments once in a while for trimming the pads of the feet, ear cleaning, cleaning up the sanitary areas and tooth brushing among others. This is the best way to avoid a lot of vet visits.
Making an appointment with a professional is important because they will do things you could not have been able to do.
They have an in-depth knowledge of the dog’s anatomy that you may not have. They are able to tell if a pet has parasites such as ear mites, fleas and other parasites that may not be visible to the pet owner.
Learn More With the Help of Video
Grooming your dog is so important; grooming is about looking after your dog’s skin, eyes, ears, nails, teeth and coat. When you groom them, you not only improve their appearance but also you help them psychologically.
People who come in contact with the dog will not despise him or her; instead, it will invite more people to interact with him.
Taking care of this pet is also a chance for you to find any suspicious symptom that may be a threat to the health of the pet. Doing it consistently is a sure way to keep the pet healthy and save him from regular vet visits.
Grooming will also help in the general sanitation of your home. You will not have problems in the house even with a family member who could have problems like allergies from the dog’s fur.
The best part about grooming is that it is a great way to bond with your dog. He or she will feel loved and will eventually belonging for the next grooming treat from you.