Dog Grooming

An Introduction To Dog Grooming

Whether your dog has a coat of fur that is fine and thin or soft and fluffy, grooming them properly and on a regular basis is an important aspect of their overall health. Just like humans, dogs needs a little bit of maintenance here and there so that they can continue to look and feel their absolute best.

Whilst on one hand, dogs do not need to bathe as often as you and I do, they still need to be kept on a regular grooming schedule to ensure positive results. Failing to groom your pup can lead to various issues such as periodontal diseases caused by unbrushed teeth, yeast infections caused by matted hair and ear infections from an excessive buildup of bacteria.

Many owners are intimidated by the idea of grooming their dog simply because they are afraid that they’ll get it wrong or that they may hurt their pet. There is no need to worry though because generally, with the appropriate grooming tools and a little bit of background information, grooming your dog will be a piece of cake! In this article we’ll take a look at some of the basics of dog grooming to help you along the way.

Hair Brushing

Believe it or not, many dogs love the feeling of being brushed. It also helps to keep their coat healthy and strengthen the bond that you have with your pooch. Dogs who have long fur should be brushed at least once a day to prevent excessive tangling and matting. Dogs with medium-length fur should be brushed weekly while short-hair dogs can typically go two to three weeks between hair brushing sessions.

Brushing your dog’s fur may be required much more frequently during prime shedding seasons such as spring and summer. If you come across areas of matted fur, hold their fur close to the skin and work it out as gently as possible.

Nail Trimming

Many dog owners dread trimming their dog’s nails, most often because dogs tend to dislike their paws being touched and handled, which can add a bit of difficulty to the nail-trimming process. However, dogs require monthly nail trims so this is not a step that can be skipped. If they are left to grow, they can cause a painful, irregular gait that can even lead to permanent skeletal damage.

Ideally, you should consult with your veterinarian or a professional dog groomer to learn the best way to trim your dog’s nails. It’s important to learn how to do this properly as it can be extremely painful for dogs if their nails are cut even the slightest bit too short.  You should only use nail clippers specifically designed for dogs and should only remove 1/16 of an inch at a time to ensure that you do not hit a blood vessel.
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Ear Care

Dog’s ears are well-known for being a haven for all sorts of bacteria, dirt and yeast. As a result, it is extremely important for you to take steps ensuring that this build-up of nasties does not create any lasting health issues for your dog. A clean ear should contain just a little bit of wax and should not give off a foul odor.

To clean your dog’s ears, apply a small amount of ear cleaning solution to a cotton swab or ball. Then proceed to wipe away any residue from the inner part of their ear. Do this gently to prevent any damage to their inner ear or painful sores. If their ear appears to be red, irritated, or blackened, smells bad or shows signs of discharge, contact your veterinarian immediately. This is a potential sign of infection or disease and needs to be treated as soon as possible.

Teeth Cleaning

Nearly 80% of dogs suffer from periodontal disease at some point in their lives. This alarming statistic shows just how important it is for you to clean your dog’s teeth, ideally at least once per week. There are countless products on the market that make brushing a dog’s teeth as easy as can be, so there is really no excuse not to work on your pet’s oral hygiene.

Dog toothbrushes look similar a surgical glove, with the brush attached to the forefinger and thumb with bristles to help clean the teeth as well as their gums. In addition, you can also wrap gauze over your figure to clean their teeth. Throughout the process, lavish your dog with praise and even give him treats from time to time. This will help to get him used to you brushing his teeth- something that naturally he is unlikely to be accustomed to!

Always remember that you should never use human toothpaste on your dog’s teeth because there is a high chance that it will make them sick if they swallow it.

Bathing

Dog Bathing

Your dog might not like it, but regular bathing is essential!

The common stereotype is that dogs hate bath time more than anything! This is not without foundation, and it is true that dogs naturally don’t especially enjoy being bathed. Despite this though,they still need to be bathed every two weeks to a month to ensure cleanliness.

Begin by thoroughly wetting your dog down with lukewarm water. Proceed to apply their shampoo at the neck and move downwards whilst massaging it into their fur. Once their body is fully covered in the shampoo, you can then move to their head. Do not use soap around their eyes or ears because it may cause irritation.

When your dog is nicely lathered up, it is now time to rinse him off. Spray him down until the water running off him is clear, without any suds. If the run-off is dark or soapy, that means you still have some rinsing to do! Shampoo that is left on your dog’s coat has the potential to cause balding, red skin, itchiness and even hot spots- so it is essential to make sure that you get all of it out.

When your dog is out of the tub, towel dry them to the best of your ability. Double-coated dogs can be blow dryed on a cool setting whilst brushing out their fur. Blow dry them as much as you can without completely drying their fur because in the process, you may dry out their skin.

Haircuts

The best time to cut your dog’s fur is right after they get out of the bath. It will be helpful if your have someone with you who can help your to keep your dog still. Consider using both scissors and clippers as your grooming tools of choice. Clippers are an excellent choice for an even cut whilst scissors allow you to target more tricky areas, such as above the eyes and around the legs.

This part of the process is potentially dangerous to your dog (especially when using scissors) if you are not sure what you are doing. If you find that your dog struggles too much and you are worried about hurting them when you cut their fur, a professional groomer will be your best option.

Now that you know the basics of grooming, all you need to do is start putting them into practice and before you know it your dog will look, and feel, amazing! Your dog may not like getting groomed at first, but afterwards, they will be happier than ever. Do your best to stick to a strict grooming schedule so that your dog will get used to the process and expect it the next time they are due to get groomed.

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