Grooming is a key element of dog ownership that is often overlooked by canine parents. Not only is grooming paramount to keeping your dog looking good, it’s also an important way to maintain his health and develop a stronger bond with him. In this article, we will outline some of the most important principles to keep in mind when grooming your dog, in addition to diving into some grooming specifics that will help your furry friend to look and feel great!
1. Principles of Grooming
When grooming your dog, you are not just helping him to maintain healthy teeth, ears, feet, skin, and coat – You are also familiarizing yourself with his body so that you can be the first to notice if any irregularities occur that could point to larger health issues. Furthermore, grooming is something all mammals do naturally and can be a great way to bond with your pup. Remember, however, that different dogs have different tolerances for and sensitivities to various grooming techniques. If your dog becomes agitated during grooming, stop and resume at a time when he’s more subdued.
2. Bathing Done Right
Bathing your dog may seem simple enough, but there are a few specifics to keep in mind that will help him to stay healthy and clean. Most importantly, don’t bathe your dog too often. This will dry out his skin and remove the natural oils from his coat. Every two to four months is a good rule of thumb. Each dog is different, however, and a bit of trial and error will help you to find the right balance between having a stinky pup and having one whose hair and skin are suffering from too much bathing.
3. Use the Right Bathing Products
Not only is it important to get the timing of bathing your dog right, it is also essential to use the right products for the job. Be sure to use a dog-specific shampoo which will be designed to take care of your pup’s sensitive skin. Furthermore, a non-slip mat on the floor of your tub will make the experience much more enjoyable for both you and the dog.
4. Brushing 101
Aside from bathing, brushing is one of the most important aspects of dog grooming. Regular brushing not only removes excess dead hair, it also rids your dog of dead skin and stimulates the skin surface. Furthermore, brushing distributes natural oils in the coat, helping it to be clean and healthy. When brushing, make sure to be gentle and choose the right brush based on your dog’s hair type and your specific grooming goals. Some brushes are designed for removing dead hair while others are general purpose or cosmetic brushes. As always, listen to your pup and don’t brush for too long if he becomes agitated or restless.
5. Foot Care
Ever take your pup outside, only to find small pieces of debris such as ice, rocks, and tar caught in the hair between his toes? A simple trick to avoid this annoying issue is to trim these hairs so they are level with the paw pads. Use appropriate scissors and don’t try to trim between your dog’s toes! If he moves his paw suddenly you could easily cut him.
6. Nail Care
Clipping your dog’s nails is another important aspect of his grooming routine. If his nails get too long, it can cause the toes to twist while walking and can even lead to broken toes. In addition, long nails can damage your carpet and floors. If your dog’s nails click as he walks across a hardwood floor, it’s time for a clipping. Use only pet nail clippers with a sharp blade, and follow instructions closely so you don’t hurt your pet.
7. Ear Cleaning
Ear cleaning is essential to preventing ear infections in your dog. Use a cotton ball with dog ear cleaning solution. Be gentle and never use Q-tips or anything that could get lodged in your canine’s ear canals.
8. Doggy Dental
You can avoid costly trips to the vet for canine dental care as well as pain and suffering for your pup if you clean his teeth regularly. It can be challenging to get your dog to relax enough to allow you to brush his teeth, so try starting with your finger before moving on to a canine brushing tool.
9. Eye Care
Checking your pup’s eyes regularly allows you to scan for inflammation or cloudiness that can indicate a health problem. Try using your thumb to gently roll down his eyelid so you can see the lining. It should be pink, and the eyes should be without tearing or discharge.
10. A Reminder
The most important tip for any dog owner who wants to groom their own pet is to listen to the animal and take it slowly. It takes time to gain your pet’s trust so he will allow you to examine him and groom him. Make sure to maintain a positive association with the act of grooming, and have fun!