Regular grooming is necessary for your dog to feel his best. It is a basic need, just like food, water and shelter. However, most dogs do not need to be groomed as often as humans. Here are some ways to have your dog looking like a million bucks.
When to Groom
It is best to choose a time to groom your dog when he is feeling relaxed and not too energetic. Grooming should be a fun experience for your dog, so at first, keep the session short – maybe 10 minutes maximum. When your dog gets used to grooming and begins to look forward to regular grooming sessions, it is fine to extend the time.
When grooming your dog, help her relax by petting all over her body, including the ears, legs, belly and tail. It doesn’t hurt to offer a treat after the session if your dog has been especially well-behaved.
Brushing is one of the easiest things you can do to groom your dog. A bristle brush is usually all that is required, unless you have a long-haired dog, which would require a slicker brush. A slicker brush is specially designed to comb through long hair and remove tangles while massaging the skin.
Regular grooming has many benefits. Not only does brushing remove tangles, but it also keeps the coat clean, removes dirt and spreads natural oils through the dog’s fur. In addition, brushing is a good time to check a dog’s coat for fleas.
How often you should brush depends on the type of coat. Long-haired dogs should be brushed daily to prevent matted fur. Dogs with medium-sized hair can be brushed weekly. It is fine for short-haired dogs to get their fur brushed just once a month. However, you do not have to limit yourself to these recommendations. If your dog enjoys being brushed, feel free to do it daily. This can be especially helpful during the shedding season, as frequent brushing reduces excessive shedding.
Some dogs take to bath time quite well, while others take a little longer to get used to it. It is recommended that your dog is bathed every three months. You may want to do it more in the summer months, when your dog is outdoors more and prone to get dirty. It is fine to wash your dog weekly.
Here are the steps to bathing your dog:
- First, brush your dog to remove any excess fur or dirt.
- Using your bathtub or an outdoor wash tub, fill up the tub several inches high with warm water. Make sure it is not too hot or too cold, as it will cause discomfort or even scald your dog.
- Use a spray nozzle or large pitcher to get your dog’s body entirely wet. Avoid spraying directly into the dog’s nose, ears and eyes, as this can cause irritation.
- Next, gently rub in the shampoo. You should use a mild, soap-free shampoo recommended for dogs. Human shampoo can be too soapy. Be sure that the shampoo is applied all over the body, from head to tail.
- Use the spray nozzle or pitcher to rinse your dog thoroughly, again avoiding the nose, ears and eyes.
- When done, use a large towel to dry off the dog. You can also use a blow dryer, but this carries a heat risk. Be sure to keep the heat low if using one.
Ear care is relatively simple. All it requires is a monthly check to remove dirt and debris. This simply requires a cotton ball moistened with water. It is important to keep the ears clean, as yeast and bacteria love to hide in ears, particularly long, droopy ones. If your dog’s ears are especially smelly or dirty, your vet can recommend a special cleaner.
Dog breeds such as Shih Tzus and poodles have fur that grows continuously. Therefore, they need to have regular haircuts. It is best to have these done 1-2 times a month. Some dog owners are able to cut the hair themselves, but many choose to have a professional dog groomer do it.
Regular brushing should be part of grooming. Dog dental care covers the various aspects of caring for your dog’s teeth from how brush to what toothpaste to use.
Nail trimming is probably the most hated of all grooming tasks. Most dogs do not like having their feet touched, which makes trimming the nails quite difficult. In addition many dog owners are scared of the process, as they fear they may hurt their dog.
This can be avoided by learning to trim your dog’s nails properly. You may want to watch a groomer or vet t your dog’s nails so you know the process. If you still feel uncomfortable with the process, there are some types of nail trimmers that file down the nails instead, which may be easier on both of you.
Here are some things you should know about nail trimming:
- Use sharp nail trimmers to cut at an angle.
- Avoid cutting the quick, which is a vein that goes through the nail. This can be difficult to find in dogs with darker nails.
- Have styptic powder on hand to quickly stop the bleeding in case there is an accidental cut.
- If there are any rough edges smooth them with an emery board.
- Nail trims should be done every month.
- Be gentle and use lots of praise and treats.
- Be careful not to cause pain to your dog. He will remember it and will avoid letting you clip his nails again.