Regular pet grooming is vital for dogs regardless of the breed. It helps maintain a smooth, shiny coat. It allows you to check for skin issues such as rashes, hot spots and bald patches. And, it prevents parasite infestations so your pet is always clean and healthy.
Many pet owners take their dogs to a professional groomer every four to eight weeks. Although it is common for pet owners to take their dogs to a professional groomer, you can also establish a pet grooming routine right in the comfort of your own home.
Check out our top 10 pet grooming tips below.
1. Brush regularly to prevent matting
Matting can be painful and may cause skin infections. Dirt, dander, fleas, ticks and grass seeds can hide inside a matted coat and lead to an abscess. Therefore, your dog will need regular brushing regardless of breed.
Dogs with long hair such as golden retrievers and collies should be brushed every other day. Meanwhile, breeds with short hair like greyhounds may need a good brushing once every two weeks. It is helpful to get your puppy acclimated to a brush at home. This will help to make his visit to the groomer a positive experience.
2. Check your dog’s skin as you groom
While brushing your dog, run your fingers through his coat and check for unusual lumps or bumps. If you feel something, investigate further by parting the coat and examining the skin. Look for redness, rashes, sores, bite marks, bald spots and inflammation. Consult your vet if you find any skin issues.
3. Trim hair around the face and paws
Most pet owners take their dog to a groomer for a full haircut. But, in between grooming schedules, you can trim excess hair around the eyes, mouth and paws. Overgrown hair can block your dog’s vision and irritate the eyes. Food debris and water also tend to stick to your dog’s chin if it is not trimmed to an appropriate length.
You have to be very careful when trimming facial hair. Wait until your dog is calm before you begin. Move slowly and calmly especially when trimming near the eyes. Make sure to reward your dog with a treat right after the trim. You should also trim the hair inside the ears to prevent dirt from accumulating and causing ear infections.
If you are not confident in trimming your dog’s hair, book an appointment with your groomer or vet clinic.
4. Trim your dog’s nails
When you hear dog nails clicking on the floor, then it is time to trim them. Overgrown nails can be painful, making it difficult for your pet to walk. If a nail catches on fabric and breaks, it could bleed and cause paw infection.
You can make nail trimming a positive situation. As you trim your dog’s nail, use praise and treats to calm you pet. As well, you can walk your dog first and trim the nails when he is tired and relaxed.
5. Always check your dog’s ears
The amount that you need to clean your dog’s ears depend on his breed and habits. It is appropriate to clean many dogs’ ears once a month. However, dogs that are susceptible to infections may need more frequent cleaning. You can purchase an ear cleaning solution at your veterinarian or groomer.
It is important to check the ears frequently. Wet dog ears are a breeding ground for mites, fungus and bacteria. If left untreated, these could lead to ear infections and hearing loss.
Take your dog to the vet if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Your dog keeps scratching his ears or shaking his head
- The ears emit a foul smell
- The ear canal is moist and inflamed
- Discharge is more or different than usual
- Your dog whines or yelps when you examine the ears
6. Brush your dog’s teeth
Like humans, dogs and cats require yearly teeth cleaning at a dental clinic. Dirty teeth can lead to tartar buildup, gingivitis and periodontal disease that may affect other body organs.
In between dental visits, you should brush your dog’s teeth at least twice a week. Since dogs do not know how to spit, make sure that your toothpaste is specially formulated for pets.
7. Do not bathe your dog too often
Give your dogs a bath only when necessary such as to remove unpleasant odors and accumulated dirt. If you bathe your dog too often, it could strip the natural oils in their coat. And when your pet’s skin is too dry, he becomes vulnerable to yeast and bacteria. Unless your dog seems smelly or dirty, usually once a month is sufficient.
When bathing your dog, wet the hair with lukewarm water and gently work the shampoo into their coat. Take extra caution when washing your pup’s face particularly around his eyes and nose. Scrub his belly, tail, and paw pads, and then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water. Thereafter, use a soft towel to dry the dog’s body or let him air-dry.
8. Choose the right shampoo
Do not use human shampoo for bathing your dog. Human skin is more acidic than dog skin. People have sweat glands while dogs do not. Therefore, shampoo that is pH-balanced for humans may be too harsh for your pet.
9. Clean around the eyes
Some dogs are prone to accumulating excessive eye discharge. Tears that collect in the corners of the eyes can get crusty. You may even notice red stains and excess tearing if you have a white or light-colored dog.
Most of the time, tear stains are normal and harmless. You can clean this up with warm water and a cotton ball. But, excessive discharge may also be a symptom of conjunctivitis. If your dog’s eyes are irritated, reddish or emit an unusual smell, consult your veterinarian.
10. Make grooming sessions enjoyable for your dog
Puppies need lots of encouragement and positive reinforcement when you introduce them to pet grooming. Here are a few tips on how to make them feel comfortable:
- Spread a little peanut butter on a spatula and allow your dog to lick it while brushing
- Put a nonslip mat in the tub before bathing to prevent your dog from sliding
- Give lots of treats and praise after each grooming task
Pet grooming is more than just making your dog look cute. No matter what breed or coat type, it is essential to keep your dog’s skin healthy. Regular grooming combined with proper nutrition can prevent serious health problems in the future.
If you need help teaching your dog how to enjoy in-home pet grooming sessions, talk to our experts at Positive Paws today.