Your dog means the world to you and you want your dog to look its best all the time. Naturally, this means grooming your dog, even if you can’t get to the grooming salon yet. The good news is that there are some simple and basic grooming techniques you can easily learn so that your top pooch will be on top of the food chain (at least, based on its looks).
1. Bathing Your Dog First
If your pooch has never been bathed before, well, there’s a first time for everything. It’s actually best to start bathing your dog when it’s still a puppy so that it will get used to the habit. If your dog is a rescued adult animal, there may be some trauma. Therefore, your dog may resist the whole process of getting wet, shampooed, and rinsed. It may also dread you using a hair dryer to get its hair dried. To avoid your dog becoming agitated or hostile, you may have a handful of treats at hand to reward it at each stage of the bathing ritual.
It’s best to use lukewarm water for bathing your pet dog. This is because dogs don’t usually enjoy being immersed in hot or cold water. It’ll be good if you can use a detachable shower head to spray water on your dog. However, don’t spray the water on the face right away. Dogs don’t like water in their faces. So, it may be prudent to wash the face at the end. If you do wash the face of your dog, avoid its eyes and nose then be sure to rinse it well afterwards.
While your dog is wet and soapy, you may want to start massaging your dog all over. This is useful because it’ll relax your dog and help you to feel any strange lumps or bumps on its body. If your dog seems to be in pain when you press gently on the lumps or bumps, you should take your dog to the vet for an emergency checkup. If there are no lumps, at least your dog will get a good massage in addition to a great bath.
You should choose a great shampoo for your dog before you even consider bathing it. Some breeds may be short-haired while others may be long-haired. Their breed is also important to know since each breed has special shampoo requirements. So, you should choose a shampoo that is ideal for your dog’s fur.
Though you may be tempted to bathe your dog every day or even every week, it’s usually advisable to give it a good bath at least once a month, especially if your pet stays home most of the time. Bathing your dog too much may cause its fur and skin to dry out too much. If you still want to bathe your dog weekly, you may use a special fur conditioner after rinsing out the shampoo so that the dryness can be soothed away.
2. Brushing Your Dog’s Fur
Not everyone knows this, but brushing the fur of your dog is an important part of the whole cleaning ritual. Not only is it calming for your dog and makes it feel that you’re completely devoted to it, but it also removes those nasty matted hair that tend to get tangled on a daily basis. Brushing is also good for spreading the natural oils of your dog’s skin all through the hair. This makes your dog look its best all the time.
To brush your dog’s hair well, it’s vital to break up the process into stages. First, use a metal, wide tooth comb to find those matted hairs. Don’t pull or apply force if you find that it’s difficult to untangle the matted hair with just the comb. Use your fingers to untangle the matted hair instead. Be gentle so that your dog doesn’t panic. If it seems there is something sticking to the matted hair, such as bubble gum, you should use scissors to cut away the matted part completely. Don’t worry, dog hair grows. So, that part will only look a bit odd for a brief while.
You may then use your dog’s hairbrush to start brushing the fur. Be prepared for some shedding at this stage because that is part of the grooming phase. If you don’t want the hair flying around once it’s brushed out, make your dog lie down on a wide sheet of plastic. You can use a yellow garbage bag spread out on the floor. The good part about this is that you’ll be able to see just how much hair was shed. If your dog has a skin problem, you may be able to spot areas where the fur was excessively removed. You can then make a mental note to tell the veterinarian during the next consultation.
3. Keeping Nails Well-Trimmed
This cleaning habit applies to dogs that tend to stay indoors a lot of the time, since they won’t be using their nails to dig in soil or scratch surfaces so much. As its owner, you can tell when your dog’s nails are looking a bit too long for comfort.
However, refrain from cutting your dog’s nails if you’re not yet sure how it’s done. You might accidentally cut too close and hurt your dog. Your dog will remember that and won’t submit to any further nail trimming sessions. If you think you really need to cut your dog’s nails, use a professional dog nail clipper. Your regular human nail trimmer is too small for the task. Otherwise, wait for the next visit to the veterinarian or the grooming salon to get it done.
4. Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears
A dog will only submit itself for ear cleaning if it really trusts you. This is because dog ears are very sensitive. So, you must be gentle when cleaning this part. You may use clean cotton swabs to remove surplus ear wax. Ear wax is important for your dog’s health so that ticks and fleas don’t wind up crawling way up into the ear canal. Therefore, you need to clean this part regularly so that you can spot any tick or flea infestation before it becomes a major problem. However, be sure you don’t go too far up into the ear canal with the swabs as this may injure your pet’s inner ear.
You should also examine the inside of your dog’s ears for signs of any infections such as yeast or bacteria. If there seems to be an infection, try mixing one-part water with one-part vinegar in a small bowl and then use this solution to clean your dog’s ears. The solution should be able to inhibit further infections.
The cotton swabs and the vinegar solution are usually sufficient cleaning tools and medium for the health of a dog’s ears. Never allow water from bathing to enter your dog’s ears. This may lead to an ear infection, and it’s very annoying for your dog.
5. Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
This is something that not every dog owner does, but one that every dog owner should do. Brushing your dog’s teeth should start when it’s still a puppy so that it gets used to the habit. You should be careful, however, about the toothpaste you use to remove food particles from its teeth. Refrain from using your own toothpaste. If a toothpaste used by humans enters the stomach of your dog, it may cause problems. Your grooming salon or the veterinarian’s clinic may sell special toothpaste that is ideal for dogs. When your dog is used to having its teeth brushed regularly, the chances of mouth and teeth problems, such as periodontal diseases, will go down.
Start with a small amount of dog toothpaste on the tip of your finger. Apply it gently to the teeth, especially the gum line where tartar is known to build up. Check if your dog shows signs of pain when you touch its gums because that may be a sign of gum infection. If there is pain, stop the brushing. Instead, take the advice of your vet right away.
Dog grooming isn’t that hard, but it does take some getting used to. Both you and your dog need to get familiar and comfortable with the process. Bathing, brushing the fur, nail trimming, ear cleaning and brushing your dog’s teeth are important aspects of grooming. If your dog seems scared of bathing or any other part of the grooming process, don’t force it. It’s best to do it in stages, so that you gain your dog’s trust.
Be sure to observe your dog’s reaction, such as if your dog flinches in pain when you touch a body part. This could be a sign of a more serious problem. Follow the tips in this article to understand the various aspects of dog grooming. Remember the dos and don’ts and take the advice of your vet where necessary. The great part about grooming your dog is that you and your pet will be able to bond with each other. And of course, your dog will be cleaner and fresher smelling afterwards.