Keeping your pets well groomed is a crucial part of caring for them. Grooming for pets typically includes brushing their fur, bathing them, clipping their nails, cleaning their ears and brushing their teeth. You can perform many of these tasks at home, but keep in mind that some pets are more difficult to handle during grooming. Keep the following top dog grooming information in mind to help you provide your pets with the best care possible.
Brushing Your Dog
Dogs need to be brushed from time to time in order to keep their coat looking clean and shiny. Brushing can also help prevent mats and tangles from forming. How often you should brush your dog depends on the type of coat and length of hair your pup has. Before brushing your dog’s hair, though, it’s important to make sure that you have the right kind of brush:
For short and smooth coats, such as on chihuahuas and hounds, use a bristle brush with soft or medium bristles that are spaced closely together.
For short and wiry coats, such as on terrier breeds, use a bristle brush with firm bristles. Go over your dog’s coat with a slicker brush to get rid of any mats that may have formed.
For long and flowing coats, such as on golden retrievers and Lhasa apsos, use a top dog grooming bristle brush with soft or medium bristles that are spaced widely apart. Use a wire pin brush as well to make sure that you reach the entire length of the coat, and use a slicker brush for tangles.
For double coats, such as on German shepherds and pomeranians, use a bristle brush with firm bristles that are spaced widely apart. Go over your dog’s coat with a wire pin brush as well, and use a slicker brush to remove mats.
For thinner coats, such as on Yorkies and Maltese, use a wire pin brush. Go over your dog’s coat with a slicker brush to remove tangles.
In general, you should brush your dog every couple of days, but keep in mind that you might need to do this more often in certain cases. For example, your dog might need to be brushed more often if he has a coat that tangles easily or during spring when dogs tend to shed more. If your dog isn’t used to being brushed, you’ll need to start off by letting him become comfortable with being handled. Let your dog sniff the brush, then gently brush his coat. If your dog is alright with this, continue brushing and reward him afterwards. If he seems nervous, keep brushing sessions short until he gets used to it more and continue rewarding him for sitting calmly.
Bathing Your Dog
Dogs need regular baths to stay clean, but washing them too often can hurt their skin by drying it out. While most dogs only need a bath every couple of months, others need one more often, especially if they like to roll in mud or dirt. When you give your dog a bath, brush his coat beforehand to get rid of tangles and mats. Use a top dog grooming shampoo that’s made specifically for dogs. Human shampoo can actually irritate your dog’s skin. If your dog has dry or sensitive skin, consider using a dog shampoo that contains soothing oatmeal. Depending on your dog’s size, you might be able to bathe him in the sink or tub. However, larger dogs might need to be bathed outside in a kids’ pool. Bathe your dog in lukewarm water, and make sure you completely rinse shampoo so it does not leave any residue behind in your dog’s coat. After your dog’s bath, take time to comb and brush his coat.
If you’re working on getting a nervous dog to bathe, reward him with a treat if he stays calm during bath time. You might have to start by coaxing your dog over to the tub, sink or bathing area with a favorite treat. Don’t force your dog into the water, or he might become even more nervous about it. Be patient and give your dog time to get used to the water before giving him a bath.
Clipping Your Dog’s Nails
Top dog grooming care also involves keeping your dog’s nails short. Otherwise, your dog could get one or more nails caught, which can cause them to tear. Walking with longer nails is also uncomfortable for dogs and leads to more wear and tear on wood floors and carpets. Check your dog’s nails about every other week, and trim them if they’re long enough to make a clicking sound when he walks.
There are different kind of nail clippers that you can use for trimming your dog’s nails. You can choose whichever one you and your dog are both comfortable with. Scissor clippers tend to work well on larger dogs with thicker nails, while guillotine clippers typically work well on small and medium-sized dogs. You can also use a grinder tool instead of clippers for thicker nails, but keep in mind that you might have to give your dog time to get used to these.
When you’re ready to clip your dog’s nails, it’s important to do so carefully. If you cut too far, you risk hitting a vein and causing your dog to bleed. Make sure you have styptic powder nearby in case this happens, since this helps stop the bleeding. For dogs with white nails, clip until you are just below the pink part where the vein is. For dogs with dark nails, clip until you see a pale oval, which means you’re getting close to the vein. If your dog has dew claws, you should also trim those as well.
Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
One of the most important top dog grooming tips is brushing your dog’s teeth. Keeping your dog’s teeth and gums healthy involves regular brushing, just as you would take care of your own teeth and gums. Dogs can suffer from tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems when their teeth and gums aren’t cleaned on a regular basis. While you don’t have to brush your dog’s teeth twice a day, you should aim to brush them up to two or three times a week. In addition, bringing your dog in for dental checkups and cleanings at the vet’s also help protect his teeth and gums from dental problems.
When you brush your dog’s teeth, only use toothpaste that is made specifically for dogs. Toothpaste for humans can cause your dog to have an upset stomach. You should also choose a brush that is made for dog teeth. Keep in mind that you can also brush your dog’s teeth with plain water or baking soda, but some dogs prefer the flavors of dog friendly toothpaste. If you’re brushing your dog’s teeth for the first time, let him get used to having his teeth and gums touched before using a toothbrush. You can do this by running your finger along his gums, then letting him get used to the feel of the toothbrush. Brush only the outer surfaces of your dog’s teeth, since his tongue can clean the rest.
Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears
Your dog’s ears should be kept clean to help lower the risk of infections. Checking your dog’s ears on a regular basis also gives you a chance to look for signs of infections or parasites. Plan on checking and cleaning your dog’s ears each week. When you clean your dog’s ears, use ear cleaning solution and a cotton ball to wipe the inner surface. Avoid using Q-tips, which can accidentally hurt your dog’s ear, and don’t use water for cleaning, since it doesn’t dry as quickly as ear cleaning solution. When wiping your dog’s ear, don’t go too far or you could hurt his ear canal. You should also make sure you get in touch with your vet if you notice redness, discharge, a foul odor or other problems with your dog’s ears.
Choosing Professional Grooming
If you’re unable to perform these top dog grooming tasks at home or if you’re uncomfortable doing so, professional dog groomers can help. Professional dog groomers are experts at handling dogs when it comes to brushing, bathing, clipping nails, cleaning ears and more. Good dog groomers know how to keep dogs calm, and they know which brushes, tools and other equipment are the proper ones to use depending on your dog’s coat. Keep in mind that professional groomers can also style your dog’s hair or use special shampoos to keep his coat looking its best, such as soothing shampoos for dry skin, shampoos that protect white coats and shampoos that are medicated.
When choosing a dog groomer, make sure you find one with a solid reputation. This helps ensure that you end up with a groomer who makes your dog feel comfortable while also providing top dog grooming services. You should also feel comfortable with trusting a groomer to care for your dog. If you want to pamper your dog at the groomer’s, note that some professional groomers offer additional services, such as massages and spa treatments. If you are interested in these types of services, check with professional groomers to see which ones offer these. Keep in mind that you might have to pay extra for these services.
These top dog grooming tips and information are designed to help ensure that you have what you need to take excellent care of your dog. Whether you groom your dog at home or bring your dog to a professional dog groomer, your pet will look and feel his best.