Owning a dog of any breed means a huge amount of responsibilities for the owner from keeping the dog well fed to providing ample physical activities, and to ensure specific grooming requirements. The first step toward maintaining your dog’s overall health is to groom them on a regular basis.
The amount of grooming a dog requires is dependant on the breed and type of coat. Some breeds require full hair cuts while other breeds such as short coat dogs require lee grooming. However, even short coated breeds do have certain grooming needs. These six essential grooming tasks are required for all breeds.
1. Brushing the Teeth
Chew toys and rawhide bones work wonders as these help keep their teeth strong, prevent cavities, and minimize tartar build up. However, just like us, even dogs require regular teeth cleaning. You will require a toothbrush and toothpaste that are specially made for dogs. Human toothpaste is not suitale for dogs as obviously they can’t rinse.
Although it is advised that you brush their teeth every night, you can do so every two days. For about 20 to 30 seconds, brush your dog’s teeth in an up and down movement. Also, ensure that you massage their gums while brushing their teeth.
2. Cleaning the Ears
It is essential to be attentive towards keeping the area inside the ear clean and free of bacteria and/or infection. When you give them a bath, make sure to keep water out and wipe the area thoroughly. Every few days, gently wipe their ears with a cotton ball or pet safe ear wipe. Don’t go near the ear canal and never make the error of using a Q-tip/earbud.
If your dog is shaking or tilting their head it is best to have your vet to check inside the ear. Don’t put ear drops into the ear canal as you don’t know if there may be damage inside the ear you can’t see.
Certain breeds that don’t shed can grow hair inside the ear. This will need to be plucked to remove it. This can either be done by a professional dog groomer, your vet or you can do it yourself. To learn more about how to do this see “How to pluck dog ear hair“.
3. Cleaning Around the Eyes
It is important to regularly clean the corners of your dog or puppies eyes to remove dirt build up. The simplest way to do this is to use a pet-safe eye wipe.
Many breeds also get tear staining under the eye area. With regular cleaning, this can be minimized. You can use a tear stain remover product if the staining is quite noticeable. With regular application, the staining will begin to fade.
4. Clipping the Nails
If you have never trimmed a dog’ss nails before, ask a professional groomer to show you how to safely carry out the process if you are not sure. Firstly, grab a sharp nail clipper in one hand and hold the paw in the other hand. Using a soothing voice, reassure your dog that they are in a safe place.
Secondly, start to clip a thin layer of nail. Stop for a few seconds, offer your dog a treat, and instill positive reinforcement so that they will cooperate with you. Move on to the other nails and follow the same pattern. Avoid over-clipping of nails in one sitting as you make reach the quick by mistake. Instead, take a slow and gradual pace and clip on a thin layer each time.
For more details on dog nail clipping see here
5. Brushing the Coat
Regardless of their type of coat, all dogs need to be regularly brushed. Even short-coated breeds need to be brushed to remove the loose and dead coat. Long coated breeds need to be brushed regularly to prevent matting and remove the dead coat.
Either daily or every other day, brush in the direction of hair growth and not against it. After brushing their coat, the next step is to comb the hair as well. This will help detangle the hair, remove knots, and keep the coat smooth and shiny. Never brush or comb their hair when wet which is right after a bath. This can cause brush burn to the skin.
Apart from these simple, yet vital instructions, there are some specific brushing techniques and tools that need to be taken into consideration depending on the basis of their coats. For more information on how to brush a dog see here.
Giving a bath is one of the important parts of dog grooming and health care. Bathing a dog may seem like a walk in the park, but it is a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
First of all, you need to select a place to give them a bath such as a bathtub or a backyard. Either way, be careful that both you and your dog are safe (no slipping or falling).
Secondly, only use a shampoo that is recommended for dogs, or specifically by the veterinarian; substituting shampoos for humans, soap, or liquid detergent is a strict no-no. Dog fur has a different pH level to human hair and the wrong shampoo can dry the coat and irritate the skin.
- Draw a warm bath and slowly place the dog inside. They may get frightened or try to jump out of the bathtub; so be careful.
- Wet them properly, avoiding the eyes and inside the ears.
- Work up a good lather and massage the shampoo, starting from the neck and working your way down. Wash their underside, legs, paws, and underneath the chin area. Once these areas are washed thoroughly, massage the head as well.
- Rinse the entire body first with clean, warm water thoroughly and then wash the head and face area. Again, make sure that their eyes and ears are safe, and donâ€™t get any water or shampoo stuck in.
- Pat them dry and use a blow dryer to remove excess water off their coat.
For full instructions and tips on how to bathe a dog see here.
As we mentioned earlier, the entire grooming process is a huge responsibility and should not be taken lightly. If you ever feel that any of these processes aren’t being done correctly, do not hesitate to speak to a veterinarian or a professional groomer for help. At the end of the day, it’s your furry friend that will benefit from this process. Keep them healthy and happy, always.