Grooming Your Dog

When grooming your dog, it is important to always stay calm and bring on the treats! The grooming experience should be a positive one, and stress-free for both you and your pet.

HOW TO GROOM YOUR POOCH

  • Brush your dog’s coat every couple of days to keep his fur and skin healthy and clean. Brushing will remove dirt, dead hair and unpleasant odours and distributes healthy natural skin oils over the hair shaft, promoting a shiny coat and helping dirt to slide off the hair. Every coat type requires a different brush type, therefore consult your veterinary clinic for the best option for your pooch.

  • Brush your dog’s teeth at least once a day, although 2-3 times a week will make a big difference. NEVER use human toothpaste! For those pooches that refuse to let you brush their teeth, a dental spray or tooth wipes will do the trick and don’t forget to give your dog access to plenty of things to chew on.

  • Trim nails once a month, although some dogs may need more or less frequent nail trimming.

  • Clean ears on a monthly basis to prevent infection. Dogs with longer and heavier ears (that flop over the ear canal), need more frequent ear cleaning. Only use an ear cleaner made for dogs or witch hazel on a cotton ball. If the cotton ball comes out gunky or stinky, your dog likely has an ear infection and needs a trip to the veterinarian.

  • Wash your dog’s face to eliminate bacteria and keep those folds clean and dry, especially in breeds like bulldogs and shar pei that have wrinkles.

  • Clean around your dog’s eyes, using a warm wash cloth first, followed by a flea comb, to remove eye goop. Take time to look at your dog’s eyes at least once a week, especially flat-faced breeds that are prone to eye problems. Trim hair that grows in the corner of their eyes regularly to prevent irritation.

  • Give a bath! The most common reason to bathe your dog, is to remove unpleasant odour or accumulated dirt. Cleaning the skin and coat helps to remove loose hair, scale and debris and improve the hair coat’s shine. There are a variety of dry shampoos, moisturizers and conditioners to further enhance the health and appearance of your pooch’s coat, and keep them smelling great. Only use shampoos specifically designed for dogs! Brush and detangle your dog before a bath as water makes mats and tangles worse, even if you use conditioner. Use a bath mat or towel – dogs don’t like the slippery feeling of a bathtub. Always use lukewarm water. Start at the back end when you bath your dog and work your way forward toward their head – this will put them at ease and acts as a warning so that they will not get a fright when you start at the head first. Prevent water getting into the ears as this can predispose towards an ear infection.

Tips:

  • Put a bit of saline solution in your dog’s eyes after a bath to rinse out any shampoo that may have gotten in their eyes.
  • Rinse, rinse, and rinse again … even a little shampoo left behind can cause unattractive dander flakes and at worst, skin irritation or infections.
  • If you make use of a hair dryer, use a cool setting as dogs can overheat easily and hair dryers dry out their skin.
  • For the part your dog hates the most (usually the hair dryer), save his favourite treat and only give it to him after all is done.
  • Use doggie towelettes in-between grooming appointments or whenever your dog has been outdoors to remove odours, outside allergens, dirt, and waste residue.

  • General “clean-up”: don’t wait for the next grooming appointment – trim hair around their feet, sanitary areas, brush their teeth and clean those ears.

  • Care for paws: check your pooch’s feet regularly to make sure they are free of infections, wounds, and foreign objects that can become stuck between toes. Use scissors/trimmers very carefully to cut the hair that grows between the pads on the bottom of your dog’s feet. Hair should be flush with your dog’s paw pads. Never ‘dig down’ between paw pads as it is very easy to nick your dog!

  • Basics for haircuts at home: Always go slowly as rushing leads to accidents! Remember that clipper blades get hot – frequently test the temperature of the clipper blade to the inside of your forearm or keep blade coolant handy! Keep clipper blades flat against the skin and take care at the edges of the armpits, ears and the area where the back legs meet the body.

  • Grooming Tools should be kept clean. Sharpen toenail clippers regularly and replace every few years.

Break up the grooming process into several sessions to make it more tolerable for your pooch and keep lots of their favourite treats nearby!

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