How do you usually feel when you wash your face, brush your teeth or take a bath? It feels great – right? The same applies to your canine friend. A pet dog is just like any other child in your family, so you are bound to give it the best. After all, this furry companion has been human’s friend for centuries for its unconditional love and loyalty that no other animal has been able to match up to.
Good grooming is the ultimate measure of the care that a dog receives from its owner. Have you ever found yourself flinching at the sight of an unkempt pet canine? Don’t be the kind of dog owners who don’t pay attention to their pets. Follow this comprehensive dog grooming guide for your pet.
What is The Importance of Grooming Your Dog?
Before diving into the particulars, let’s look at why grooming is essential in the first place.
- It keeps the coat and skin healthy
Even the most basic grooming activity like brushing your dog’s coat can go a long way in revitalizing its coat and skin. The brushing activity enhances blood flow to the skin and keeps it healthy. It also gets rid of foreign objects like parasites and pests that may be on the pet’s coat.
- It helps monitor your pet’s health
As you go over your dog’s body during grooming, you will be able to see bruises, rashes, cuts, or any other irregularities that the pet might suffer from. Remember that timely detection of such issues is essential in ensuring that the problem does not get any worse because you will get immediate medical attention.
- It enhances love bonds
Grooming boosts emotional connection with your dog. As you groom your dog, you will be showering it with all the right attention. There is no better way of creating a special bond and shaping a loving relationship with your dog. This will boost your pet’s emotional, mental and physical well-being.
- It keeps up the hygiene levels
Keeping your dog clean is an integral part of grooming. It will not just make your dog happy, but it will also keep your home hygienic. That way, you won’t have to deal with the stinky dog smell, so, it is good for everyone.
- It promotes your dog’s emotional and physical well-being
Nothing brings you physically closer to your dog than grooming does. Your pet will be happy to receive this exclusive treatment and will feel contented, calm and relaxed. What’s more is that it will always look forward to these happy moments.
What Type of Coat Does Your Pet Have?
Before digging into pet grooming essentials, you ought to understand the type of coat that your dog is endowed with. Understanding the kind of coat will aid in proper grooming. Although all coats are made from the same fabric as human hair, a dog grows several hairs from one follicle, while for humans; a follicle grows one strand only. This abundance of fur helps the pet in regulating its body temperature.
A dog can either have a single coat or a double coat. A single coat has only the top part while a double coat has an undercoat and a top coat. The top coat has thick water-repelling protection hairs that guard the pet’s skin. The undercoat keeps your dog warm during cold and harsh weather. Dogs usually shed the undercoat twice a year.
The coats also have varying textures, and knowing the feel will make grooming efficient.
- The medium coat – is an inch thick and rarely gets tangled. You can maintain it easily by brushing it weekly and bathing your pet once a month. Examples of dogs with this coat are the German shepherd and Border collie.
- The smooth coat – it is sleek and short, so, it should be brushed regularly. Examples are Beagle and Basset hound.
- The curly coat – it has curly hairs and is susceptible to getting tangled. It also suffers from dryness; thus making it hard to maintain. Examples include Irish water spaniel and Poodle
- The wiry coat – it usually has a coarse and rough texture and should be brushed and washed often. Examples are Brussels griffon and the Irish terrier
- The long coat – it is usually subdivided into elongated parts. They all show different characteristics, so, they require different handling.
How to Groom Your Dog
1. Bathing your dog
Bathing a dog is more than just placing it in a tub and cleaning it with soap; you will require the right tools for this. For instance, you need shampoo for dogs, shampoo for puppies and a conditioner. Make sure you have a rinsing tool and several drying towels.
Once everything is set, follow these steps:
- Before bathing your dog, use a slicker brush to untangle your dog’s coat. If you skip this step, the tangles will get worse when the fur catches water.
- Avoid placing your pet into the tub, and instead, allow it to enter by itself. You can use treats to entice it if it is reluctant to get in.
- Once the dog gets into the tub, do not pour water on it immediately. Allow it to get used to the water sensation. Stroke its head smoothly, while avoiding the ears and eyes.
- Wet the dog before applying dog shampoo. Do this with a sponge or with your hands. Rub to spread the lather and cover the entire body with it, particularly the paws, anal and groin regions. Avoid leaving the shampoo for a long time. Rinse it off using lukewarm water, and ensure you get rid of all the shampoo, especially from the groins.
- You can condition the dog’s coat. Apply a hypo allergic dog conditioner on the fur gently, just like you did when applying the shampoo. The type of conditioner you use will determine whether to rinse it off immediately or allow the conditioner to sit on the fur for a while. Whichever way, you should rinse the conditioner thoroughly.
- You may now remove the dog from the tub and wipe the excess water using your hands. Use cotton wool buds to clean the ears and use water to wash its face. Pat its body using a towel to dry the water; make sure not to use too much pressure.
- At this point your dog is clean enough, so, you can lead it away from the tub. Keep on drying its coat to get rid of all the water. You can utilize as many towels as you need. It’s also okay to use a handheld dog dryer to dry the pet.
- Remember to give a treat to your dog to appreciate its good behavior. It’s wise to reward at the end of the bathing session to make it associate completing the activity with a reward.
After such a warm and exciting bath time, your dog will be left feeling energetic. You may set a routine to give your pet a weekly bath unless the dog dirties itself. If you notice a skin condition on your pet’s coat, make sure you consult a vet.
2. Brushing your dog
Brushing a dog does not just get rid of the dirt on the fur, but it also prevents it from shedding. Brushing enhances blood circulation and spreads natural oils on the coat. It also prevents tangling and reveals any injury or damage to the dog’s skin. Most importantly, it breeds love and bonding with your pet.
Follow these steps to brush your dog correctly:
- Buy a good brush and make your dog used to it.
- Before you start brushing the dog, make sure that it is comfortable. Next, brush it slowly in the opposite direction of hair growth to get rid of tangles. Now, start brushing the fur in the direction of hair growth, starting from the back towards the front. When you do this, you will remove most of the dirt from the coat.
The frequency of brushing a dog depends on the type of the coat. Here is a rough guide:
Short haired dogs – Brush once a week
Long coated dogs – Brush once a day or at least every other day
Thick coated dogs – Brush twice or thrice a week
Shedding dogs – Brush every day
Puppies – it’s advisable for pet owners to train their puppies gradually to feel comfortable being brushed. This will help to make grooming efficient and helps prepare dog pets for physical veterinary examinations.
3. Clipping dog nails
Before you start clipping, you should first familiarize yourself with the basics. A dog’s nail comprises if an outer and an inner nail. The outer nail is hard while the inner one is sensitive to the nail. You should only cut the outer nail and leave the inner one untouched. If you cut the inner part, you might hurt your dog, which might make it bleed.
Although your dog might not like clipping, it is an essential pet grooming activity. Unclipped nails might grow too long, making them break and result in pain and infection. Long nails could also compromise your canine friend’s gait.
Follow these steps while at it:
- Make your dog comfortable first and slowly hold a paw at a time. Place the clipper around the nail and trim it at an angle of 45 degrees. Ensure you do not clip the inner nail.
- In case the nail splitters do not panic; it’s normal. If this happens, use a nail file to shape it. File downwards along the edges of the nail.
- If the inner nail is damaged accidentally during the nail clipping activity and starts bleeding, apply some styptic powder to the nail and apply pressure. Do this until the bleeding stops. The powder might sting a little; thus keep the dog under watch.
- The dew claws are clipped last, but make sure you don’t fail to cut them. If you fail to trim the claws, they might result in ingrown toenails.
4. Trimming hair
Besides brushing, some pet dogs will require regular hair trimming. You can ask your pet for guidance on how to trim your dog’s hair safely.
Common parts that require hair trimming include:
- Hair that grows around the anus because it traps feces
- Hair around the eye area, especially if the hair obscures vision or causes irritation
- Hair around the lower jaw and chin as it traps food or helps to prevent chin and lip fold infections
- Areas around the place whether the hair mats tangle
- Regions where debris, such as burrs and grass are trapped in the hair
Follow these safety tips:
- Use blunt-nosed hair clippers
- Ask your vet for advice
5. Taking care of your dog’s ears
Your pet dog’s ears are sensitive, so, cleaning them might feel unnatural. For efficient cleaning of your dog’s ears, make sure you have everything ready; including tweezers, a cleaning solution, hemostat, sterile cotton balls, and medicated dog powder.
Follow these tips when cleaning your dog’s ears:
- The first step is to inspect the ears and check if any foreign objects are lodged in there. Use tweezers to remove the items gently. If you notice any redness, swelling or visible issues, talk to a vet.
- Look into the inner ear. If hairs block your view, remove them slowly with a dampened finger. Clear the hair inside the nose to about half an inch from the inner part of the ear. When removing the hair, apply medicated ear powder inside the ear and allow it to sit for a while. You can now pluck the hair using the tweezers and a hemostat. Pull them in the direction of the growth.
- If you want to remove the wax, use the kind of ear powder that will bind the excess wax and make it easy for you to remove the wax. Cotton balls and dog ear cleaning solution are also essential in removing excess wax. Avoid inserting any items into the ear canals for easy cleaning.
Cleaning a dog’s ears is a sensitive operation that should be done infrequently. When washing your pet dog, make sure you do not allow water to enter the ears.
6. Caring for your dog’s eyes
One thing that stands out about a dog’s eyes is that they are durable. All the same, they should be looked after, especially those that have protruding eyes like the Boston terrier, Boxer, and Chihuahua.
Check out these tips for caring for dog’s eyes:
- Mucus or gunk in the corner of the dog’s eyes might result in an infection. That is why you should use quality eyewash to clean up the eyes and wipe using a damp washcloth.
- Overgrown hair around the eye might touch and infect it. Cut these hairs using a blunt-nosed scissors and trim the hair around the eyes carefully.
- Take care of long nails because the dog might damage its eyes while scratching or playing. Therefore, preventing the nails from growing too long by cutting them often is vital.
- Ensure that shampoo doesn’t get into your dog’s eyes when bathing it. You can cover the eyes when shampooing the head.
- Clean tear stains from your furry friend’s eyes using a soft damp cloth. If you do not clear the stains for a long time, they could discolor a dog’s coat. To do this, you can make a tear stain remover by adding one part of hydrogen peroxide to nine parts of water.
Caring for your canine friend’s eyes will reveal any problems that it could be having with its eyes. In case you notice anything, take your pet dog to the vet.
7. Caring for your dog’s teeth
Imagine how bad it feels when you go for days without cleaning your teeth. It feels terrible- right? Just like humans, dogs also require their teeth to be brushed. When you do this, you will prevent several issues like gingivitis, swollen gums, periodontal diseases and halitosis.
Create a daily routine of brushing your canine friend’s teeth. Use a dog toothpaste, and not your own because human toothpaste sometimes contains substances that could be fatal to your pet.
Follow these steps when cleaning your dog’s teeth:
- Choose a dog toothbrush that best suits your pet. There are two types: the short finger brushes and the long necks.
- Before introducing the toothbrush, use your finger to clean its teeth, so that it can get accustomed to the idea of an item inside its mouth. So this for a few days, and reward your dog’s patience with some treats.
- Once the dog is comfortable with the idea of items in its mouth, you can move on to introducing the toothbrush. Apply a small amount of dog toothpaste on the brush. Make your dog comfortable by petting it, and then lift its lip slowly and insert the brush.
- Brush its teeth gently in a circular motion. Give the same attention to the line between the teeth as you do to the teeth.
- Move to the sides of the mouth, each at a time, and brush the teeth of both the lower and upper jaws.
Besides brushing the teeth, you can give your dog dental chews to maintain its oral hygiene.
The Tools Required for Dog Grooming
- Grooming table
You will need an appropriately sized table according to your dog’s size and weight. Make sure it has a hydraulic system to lower and raise it. One that has rubber matting is best in keeping your dog safe.
- Rubber brush
It’s best for dogs with smooth coats because it is gentle on the skin.
- Bristle brush
This is one of the brushes for dogs that is used to fluff dogs’ coats and to give it finishing touches. It is suitable for all types of dogs and breeds. It comes in soft, medium and stiff varieties.
- De-shedding tool
The tool manages to shed and helps to reduce the dog’s hair in your home.
- Dog dryer
Dog dryers are designed exclusively for dogs. Get one that has heat control and use it on the dog, on only low to warm setting, as high temperatures might damage the dog’s skin.
- Nail clippers
There are many types of nail clippers for dogs. Some are electronic while others are manual. Just make sure you get a durable one.
There are many other tools for dog grooming that you can buy. Those listed above are only some of the essential tools.
How to Make Your Dog Enjoy Grooming
If you want to groom to be effective, you need to make your dog accustomed to it. To do this, you have to know how to train your dog to enjoy the grooming sessions. Here are some ideas to get you going:
- Start grooming your pet when it is a puppy. That way, it will be easier for the dog to learn proper grooming. Start by inspecting its ears, mouth, toes, nails, and legs from the initial stages.
- Be patient with your pet. Do not rush into the grooming activity, as harassing your dog can make it resist. Start with familiarizing the dog with the grooming tools and get it used to new sensations of grooming. You may also bribe the reluctant dog with its favorite treats. Just make sure you do not force the grooming activity on your dog.
- Choose a specific time and day for the grooming activity. That will help in creating a routine for your pet. Make sure that the first grooming sessions do not last for a long period; preferably, make the session only a few minutes long. Over time, you can lengthen the period as your pet gets used to grooming.
- Ensure that the grooming session is short and sweet; before your canine friend gets tired or bored.
If you would like to express love for your pet dog, make sure you groom it well. Well, what better way is there than to start by following the above ultimate dog grooming guide? When grooming your furry friend, make sure you are as thorough as possible, by caring for all the parts without leaving out any of them. Be consistent with the grooming, such that you do it all year round regardless of the season.