Grooming your dog helps keep him looking and feeling great. It’s an essential part of caring for a dog, right along with providing food, water, shelter and daily walks. If you’re not sure how to groom a dog at home, there are four basics to learn about.
Brushing helps prevent your dog’s hair from getting tangled and keeps it shiny. How often you should brush and the kind of brush you should use depends on what your dog’s hair is like.
• Short, smooth hair: Brush weekly with a rubber brush, such as a Kong brush.
• Short, dense hair or medium hair: Brush weekly with a rubber brush or slicker depending on coat length, then follow with a stainless steel or teflon comb to find tangles or clumps of undercoat.
• Long hair: Brush daily with a slicker brush, then a stainless or teflon comb to find hidden or missing tangles.
Give your dog a bath every month or so, depending on how dirty he tends to get. Always use shampoos that are made for dogs, since human shampoo can bother his skin. Follow these steps on how to groom a dog by bathing:
• Brush your dog first to remove mats.
• Fill the tub with a few inches of warm water.
• Use a cup to get your dog wet, but don’t get water in his ears or eyes.
• Apply shampoo, then gently work it through your dog’s fur, all the way from his head to his tail.
• Rinse your dog with the cup, but don’t pour any water near his eyes and ears.
• Dry your dog off with a big, soft towel.
Check your dog’s ears on a regular basis for signs of dirt buildup, redness or unpleasant odors, which could indicate that he has an ear infection. You can check his ears during his baths and clean them if they’re dirty. To do this, dampen a cotton ball with mineral oil and gently clean your dog’s inner ears. Just make sure you never put anything in his ear canal.
Trim your dog’s nails on a monthly basis or more frequently depending on how quickly his nails grow. Hold nail clippers at a slight angle, and cut your dog’s nails up to the spot right before they start to curve. Don’t cut higher, or you could hit the pinkish area called the quick, which can cause bleeding. Smooth your dog’s trimmed nails with an emery board, and he’ll be all set.