Dog Grooming 101 – Top 6 Things You Need To Know
Dog Grooming is an essential chore you have to get comfortable with as a dog owner. Your dog has been running and rolling around in God knows what, you have dog hair all over your house, your dog’s breath makes all kisses unbearable. You know it’s time to groom your pooch. Here is a cheat sheet to groom your dog with no hassle.
#1 – Brushing (Once A Week)
Although dogs do a lot to keep their coats neat and clean, they need your help with tasks that require opposable thumbs, such as brushing.
Regular brushing removes excess hair from your dog’s coat and cuts down significantly on the amount of hair you have to deal with on your furniture, car, and your favourite black pants. It also helps distribute the natural oils in your dog’s fur and skin, keeping her coat healthy and looking its best.
#2 – Teeth Brushing (Twice A Week)
Do not attempt to brush your dog’s teeth with regular human toothpaste as most of them contain fluoride which is extremely poisonous to dogs. Always use toothpaste formulated for dogs.
This is usually a fun dog grooming activity. When your pup is used to you opening and touching her mouth, start using the toothpaste and toothbrush together. Lift her upper lip. As you approach her teeth with the brush, angle the bristles so they reach the gum line. WebMd advises to place them at a 45-degree angle against her teeth which will help the bristles massage the gum line and clear away plaque.
#3 – Ears, Eyes and Paw Cleaning (Every 2 Weeks)
You should clean out your dog’s ears at least once a month. You can use an ear cleaner made for dogs or witch hazel on a cotton ball. It’s natural to see a little bit of dirt on the cotton ball after swiping the inside of your dog’s ear, but if the cotton ball comes out gunky or stinky, your dog likely has an ear infection and needs a trip to the vet.
Dogs in general and flat-faced breeds, in particular, are prone to eye problems. At least once a week, you should take the time to look at your dog’s eyes. They should be bright and clear with no cloudiness and minimal redness. Tears should be clear. If your dog has coloured discharge coming from their eyes (different from the reddish-brown goop that can accumulate from normal tears), they need to go to the vet to check for an infection, injury, or allergies.
Many dog breeds have hair that grows in the corner of their eyes. This needs to be trimmed regularly to prevent it from growing long enough to irritate your dog’s eyes. You can trim it using round-tipped shears, clippers with a #10 blade, or small electric trimmers.
#4 – Nail Clipping (Once A Month)
This is a must-do dog grooming activity. Unless your dog runs around on hard surfaces that help keep toenails short, you have to cut or clip the nails about once a week — if you hear them clicking on a hard surface, it’s time for a trim.
A dog’s toenail is made up of the nail itself and the quick, the pink (when it’s visible) part of your dog’s toenails that provides the blood supply to the nail. Avoid cutting into the quick because it bleeds quite a bit and it’s quite sensitive.
#5 – Bathing (Every 2 Weeks)
Bathing your dog is rarely a fun experience for either you or your dog, but it’s important to keep his coat clean. Even so, you don’t need to bathe your dog very often – once every two weeks is fine. Any more than this and you risk drying out the skin.
The exception is if your dog has rolled in something unpleasant. In this situation, you have no option but to give him a bath.
Tips for Bathing Your Dog
- Always use special dog shampoo. Shampoo made for humans can have a detrimental effect on a dog’s skin.
- Bathing can be scary for a dog, so try to make it a positive experience. Use plenty of treats and praise, and never get frustrated.
- Thoroughly wash any shampoo from your dog’s hair before you dry him. The shampoo left in his coat can cause it to look dull.
#6 – Hair Trimming (Every 2 Months)
You have your clippers and your dog. Now, what do you do to keep him from running afoul while using the clippers? Here are some handy tips for getting your dog used to the clippers and keeping your dog looking good:
- Start clipping your dog as early as possible, even as a puppy. Getting an older dog used to the clippers is much harder than training a puppy to accept them.
- Compare the sound level of various clippers and choose the quietest one. Loud buzzing would scare humans, too!
- Read about your dog’s breed standard. Often, you can get clues about how your dog’s coat should look and how to make it look that way.
- Check out the breed club’s Web site for tips on how club members clip their dogs. Some breed clubs provide free guidelines on how their dogs should look.
- Have a professional groomer or a breeder show you how your dog’s coat needs to be clipped. Most groomers and breeders are happy to spend a little time helping you get it right.
Do you have a special dog grooming experience with your own dog? Share them with us in the comments