Starter's Guide to Grooming Your Dog
If you have got a dog or are planning to have a pet dog in your life, it is essential for you to know about his grooming care. Grooming your dog doesn’t only keeps him healthy and clean, but you and your house as well.
Grooming your dog
Grooming is such an activity that helps in strengthening the positive relation bond between a dog and his owner. It must be a pleasant and comfortable experience for a dog as well as his owner.
Why groom/brush your dog?
Combing and brushing your pet’s coat is an essential part of general pet care. Brushing is helpful in keeping your dog’s coat in good condition by preventing hair knots/mats and loose hair. Brushing or combing also proves helpful in distribution of natural and healthy skin oil over the hair on the body which can promote a shiny coat. It also helps to remove the dirt from the hair. This may also help in reducing the need to bath and hence a reduction in bathing frequency.
How often to groom/brush your dog?
This depends on every different dog. Dogs tend to vary in their need for grooming or because of their coat length and type. It also depends a lot on their activities.
Dogs that have short coats usually need less grooming and brushing as compared to dogs that have medium to long haired coats as they can get mats, tangles, and debris trapped into them quite easily.
A few short-haired dogs may need no traditional “brushing”, and for such dogs, owners might instead like to go for a soft grooming/brushing glove to mildly remove loose hair, infrequently.
Dogs must be brushed as needed. Owners must monitor the condition of their dog’s coat, look for any mats/tangles or dullness that indicates they may require a brush. Grooming usually takes anything from a few minutes to a few hours per week depending upon your dog type.
As a general guide:
Short-coated, smooth dogs like Kelpie may usually be brushed once in a few weeks to eradicate loose hair. Dogs that have short coats can shed hair time to time, so moderately brushing will help in removing loose hair.
Short, dense and thick-furred dogs like husky can usually be brushed once in a week or fortnightly.
Double-coated or long-coated dogs such as Border Collie may generally be brushed on a weekly basis to avert mats and get rid of tangles.
Puppies; it is important that a puppy owner takes time to regularly train its puppies to feel comfy about being handled and brushed on various parts of their body. This helps in facilitating dog grooming and also helps in preparing dogs for various physical exams during vets’ consultations.
Not grooming your dog as frequently as needed can affect its health. Knots and mats can moisturize and worsen when they are underneath the coat and airflow absence can lead to skin infection and irritation. Grooming is thus a preventative activity.
If a dog has a lot of mats, they need to be taken to a vet who can carefully remove the tight mats because they might be difficult to remove without any specialized clippers. A veterinarian may also examine the skin condition of a dog underneath and recommend any medications if required.
Training Your Dog to Enjoy Grooming
Teach your dog or puppy to be comfy with handling in general, by stroking different parts of its body and by patting. Reward and praise it for staying calm and letting you handle it.
Go steadily, pat it on the chest area, sides, shoulders, and along the back, slowly working towards their other areas like each leg. As they get comfortable with this, try slowly lifting a paw, one at a time. Eventually, you will be able to extend this to mildly touching the nails and footpads including the other areas like the ear flaps and the area under the chin.
Continue to reward and praise the dog (such as with delicious dog food treats) for its calm behavior and its allowance for general handling. This will make your dog less likely to counter when you go for grooming in such areas.
Once they get used to general handling on various parts of their body, you can then steadily introduce them to brushing. Assist the ‘brush’ with encouraging things (delicious dog treats) and use training that is reward-based. For instance, if your dog stays happy and calm while patting it and having the brush lying next to him (before brushing him yet), then reward your dog with dog food treats. This way dogs associate the brush with some pleasant thing in their mind, and this helps the owners to facilitate with dog grooming.
Once your dog or puppy gets used to having the grooming brush next to it and while your dog is relaxing, try to brush it very gently and lightly with only a few strokes on its chest area. If it lets you do this and is peaceful, then provide it with some tasty treats. Eventually, you will slowly upsurge the number of brush strokes and the time length of you brushing your dog. Extend brushing to various other parts of its body and remember to brush in the direction of its hair growth.
After your dog becomes comfortable with brush strokes in the hair growth direction, you may occasionally try brushing in the opposite direction of its hair growth. This lets you to quickly check with the skin and help you in looking out for flea/fleas, dirt, etc.
Make sure your dog’s brushing experience is always soothing and comfortable. If there are knots, tangles, or mats you might need to have them trimmed off carefully rather than brushed to elude any pulling or jerky movements that may cause your dog discomfort and pain.
If your dog seems uncomfortable or gets upset, do not brush anymore, stop and resume on some other day by starting from the area that your dog is happy with. Continue rewarding their its behavior, and it will gradually start to build up from there.
Observe your dog’s response to brushing keenly, and if your dog looks uncomfortable, you must check with the brush type you are using to ensure its softness and that it’s not causing any discomfort to your dog physically. Also, lower the pressure you are applying while brushing (try light brushing). Be aware that brushing may also cause tickling in various spots that make your dog move a lot, so you must try various other brushing techniques till your dog gets comfortable. A local vet can give you advises about suitable combs and brushes best suited for dog grooming.
It is best to keep your grooming sessions short so that your pet doesn’t get flabbergasted (unless your dog is actually enjoying the brushing). Do not forget to give your dog delicious dog treats and praise it throughout the brushing/grooming session and when you are done, finish it off on good notes. This is positively going to reinforce the grooming activity and help in making this experience pleasant.
In addition to brushing/grooming, few dogs may require their hair trimmed regularly. Your local vet clinic can show you and advice you on how to safely trim your pet’s hair, or you may even want to organize the professional groomer or the vet clinic to assist. Some professional pet groomers can work as a vet clinic also.
Common body areas that require trimming for some dogs include:
- Around the eye area, if the hair starts to cause irritation or obscure vision.
- Hair grows around the area of their anus which may be trapping feces.
- Hair in the lower jaw and chin area taking in food to prevent the chin and lip fold infections.
- Areas of the body where debris (seeds, burrs, grass) are trapped inside the hair.
- Areas with tangles and hair mats around the body.
Safety Tips for Trimming
- Ask your local vet clinic for some advises
- Always use blunt nosed safety scissors
- Never point the scissors towards your dog’s eye, extreme care must be taken if you are trimming hair around your dog’s eyes to avoid any contact with the eyes.
- Use tasty dog food treats to reward it for its calm behaviour so that he is associates trimming with rewards and positive things.
Brushing different breeds of dogs
Besides, various dog types require various types of brushes for dog grooming. It is essential to use such a brush that will be suitable and comfortable for your dog. Ensure the brush is not causing any physical uneasiness to your dog.
Brushing must be soothing, relaxing, and a pleasant activity for your dog. Talk to your local veterinary clinic and a dog grooming professional for tips and advice. Always look out for your dog’s reactions. Decrease the brushing pressure applied and change the brush types if your dog doesn’t seem comfortable at all.
A dog that has smooth short-haired coats may be suitable for soft brush or soft grooming glove to remove loose hair. Dogs that have medium to long-haired coats may need brushes and combs with longer projections/bristles (please ensure the bristles aren’t causing any discomfort).
For more info on grooming for your dog’s nails, ears, paws, eyes, and teeth, let’s continue:
Your dog’s paws can be kept healthy by:
- Monitoring your pet for any limping
- Check its footpads and feet regularly to make sure that there are no infections or wounds.
- Remove any debris such as seeds, grass, burrs, and seeds around the paws.
Follow below mentioned steps for clipping your dog’s nails:
Make sure your dog’s nails are in good condition. Dog grooming includes nail trimming, and they must be trimmed as required and it tends to differ between individual dog breeds. Mainly, if your dog’s nails are getting longer, they must be trimmed. Trim a little amount off the tip.
Talk with your veterinarian about nail trimming methods. He will demonstrate the safe trimming, suitable length for trimming, and the kind of clipper to be used. It is quite essential not to clip your dog’s nails too short as it may cause pain and bleeding.
More often a nail file may be used to smoothen the rough edges.
Make sure to read The Best Dog Nail Grinder Available!
Here are some briefly mentioned tips to make sure your dog’s ears are clean and healthy:
Talk to your vet clinic if you think your dog is suffering from ear problems, they will do a thorough check-up. Vets normally do a regular check-up on your dog’s ear with the use of an otoscope while doing annual routine check-ups. If they notice any issue, they are most likely to prescribe medication in the form of ear cleaner or drops.
In case your dog isn’t showing any ear problem signs then it is best to leave the ears alone and let it be.
- Provide it with safe chewing items on a daily basis
- Chewing is a natural and basic behavior for any dog, and he needs daily opportunities to chew on suitable items.
- Chewing helps in keeping gums and teeth healthy
- Chew items include dental chews and dog chew toys
- You may offer a raw meaty bone to your dog once or maybe twice a week, consult your vet.
Monitor your pet’s eye health. It is helpful to understand the signs of any eye problems your dog may be facing such as eye redness and discharge or excessive tearing or eye boogers. Holding or squinting eyes close, also sometimes signal an eye issue.
If you realize any changes in the eye, it is best to take your dog to a local vet as soon as you can.