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Dog Grooming

August 07, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

Start great grooming habits when your dog is puppy for a happier, healthier pet all-around.
Grooming is an important daily habit that your pet performs meticulously on his own. But he needs extra dog grooming to protect him from wounds, pests, parasites, and skin, eye and ear irritations as well as other health issues. Show him all the attention he needs and deserves! Regular grooming will also make future visits to the groomer or the vet easier than ever.

Follow these dog grooming basics to keep your pet in tip-top shape:
Control shedding:  A healthy pet will shed while an unhealthy pet will not, resulting in a matted lack-luster coat that will alert you of a health problem, such as internal parasites.  In order to control shedding you’ll want to brush your dog at least 3-4 times a week.  Like any job, the proper brush should be matched to your pet’s coat type. A soft-bristled brush is great for dogs with a short coat to remove dead hair and distribute skin’s natural oils.  A pin-brush is best for long wavy or wiry coats because the pins go deep enough to pull out dead hair as well as hitchhikers from outside. A slicker brush is the most common flat, rectangular head with bent wire bristles.  This brush works great on long, curly or silk coated dogs. Always brush your dog in the direction of the hair growth, working from head to tail. Cut out small matted portions with scissors.  

Clip with care: Clipping is crucial if you want to avoid scratching on doors and soft furniture surfaces as well as to protect your pet’s toes from getting snagged and hurt.  If you want to do this yourself, you’ll need to start when your pet is very young and be careful to learn the parts of his nail. You’ll need to avoid clipping the “quick” which is where the nail is attached to the skin and toes as it will be painful and bleed profusely if you clip it. Keep some styptic powder on-hand for this purpose. This is one job that is sometimes better left to the groomer if you’re unsure.

Bathe regularly:  Especially if your pet spends lots of time outdoors, bathing them once or twice a week with a gentle moisturizing flea bath will avoid a flea infestation and get the outside dirt, leaves and grass off. Also, regular bathing will alert you of any skin irritations or open wounds, lumps or bumps that might otherwise remain hidden under all that fur.  

Get the smell out!:  Pets can have lots of funky odors that can alert you of health problems or wounds.  You’ll want to start at the top and use a q-tip and warm water or alcohol to clean your pet’s ears for wax build-up and ear mites or other infections.  Next, you’ll want to brush his breath, teeth and gums, noting anything smellier than usual.  You’ll want to feel your pet all over looking for any wounds or skin irritations or outdoor hitchhikers and you’ll want to check your pet’s rear end and foot pads for the same reason.  Bad smells can alert you of health problems, so this once weekly check session can both eliminate the yucky stuff you might find as well as be an enjoyable time spent with you for your pet.  

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