Dog owners love their pets to the extent that they are considered extended members of the family. And just like family, you want your little canine companion to look their best, regardless if they are being sported around on a walk, or just lounging next to you on the couch. Dog grooming is a lot like people grooming: having what you need, when you need it means helping them to look great for any occasion.
So why go to the trouble of grooming. “He looks alright, doesn’t he?” Well, it isn’t all about looks. Actually, a dog is healthier if they are groomed. And don’t forget about the teeth, nails and ears. All are important aspects of maintaining the overall health of your pet.
Some people are a little skittish when they think about grooming their dog. The idea of clipping, primping, probing and brushing their little pooch sends them close to a panic attack. What if I mess up? How do I know if I am doing it right? Well, at least you can take comfort in the fact that dogs love you unconditionally- even if you butcher their do. But since you take care of your dog in so many other ways, this doesn’t have to be any different. You can do this! All you need is a little direction.
So why take on this task? One of the main reasons is because of the tremendous expense associated with dog groomers. It can become pricey for them to keep up your dog’s appearance. Not to mention the hassle of driving them there, picking them up and the time involved. Why not take care of it yourself, on your schedule?
Okay, so first things first. What supplies do you need? Before their beauty makeover begins they will need to be brushed. This removes old fur, which not only makes their coat fresh and shiny, but by removing old hair it helps to prevent them from itching. Plus, it stimulates blood circulation to the skin. The type of hair they have will dictate the type of brush that needs to be used.
Next, is bathing. Before you start, you need to make sure to keep the water and shampoo out of their ears. This can be accomplished with cotton balls, unless they show resistance when you try placing them there. For bathing, you can either go with something from the line of hair products available or some people opt to use their own shampoo. Dish soap with aloe vera is popular, or just dish soap alone. Either way, starting with a clean dog is essential. Just remember: people shampoo is a no-no because of the ingredients.
Drying off dogs can be accomplished in a number of ways. For short-haired dogs, you can dab them off with a soft towel. Those with longer hair will need to have the excess water combed or brushed out. This not only helps remove water, but it also prevents tangles from forming. A little hint here: gently holding the back of a dogs neck with one hand while drying with the other will prevent them from showering you from shaking off water.
Some pets will even let you use a blow dryer on a low setting. This may take a little getting used to for some animals. If your dog shows fear or panic from it then its best not to force it on them. And you want to keep your animal inside until they are completely dry. Their tendency is to rub and roll on the ground to try to remove the water, and the shampoo.
While your pet is finishing the drying process, you can feel free to start at the top of the dog, or its ears and work your way down. It important to keep their ears dry as trapped moisture can easily breed fungus and bacteria. Keeping the ears clean and free of excess wax will reduce a number of possible diseases. Also, inspect the ears for mites or ticks since it is a prime hiding spot for them to set up home.
Now, you can move on to the teeth. Feeding your pet dry dog food or giving them hard chew bones to gnaw on will help to keep their teeth clean. But since they can get cavities, just like we do, its important to brush them effectively, and regularly. In fact, veterinarians recommend brushing them twice a week.
Dirty teeth not only affect your pet’s smile, but it can result in bad breath- a clear sign of periodontal disease. But it is more serious than just brown teeth. Without treatment, periodontal disease can progress into infection, which can make its way into the dog’s bloodstream. From there, it can travel to the organs and cause irreparable damage, and even death.
Nail grooming rounds out your dog grooming process. Keeping the nails short prevents them from being ripped, which is painful to dogs. Care should be exercised so that they are not cut too short. This will result in cutting into the “quick”, which will cause the nail to bleed slightly. This takes practice, but can be mastered quickly.