The 5 Step Guide to Grooming Your Dog

Grooming is an important part of your dog’s health program and should not be overlooked. Routine brushing and combing removes dead hair and prevents matting. It stimulates the blood supply to the skin and therefore, results in a healthier, shinier coat.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the thought of grooming your furry friend. Purchase a good-quality brush and comb and follow our 5 step guide to get your pup looking and feeling great.

Brushing

Begin brushing at the head and work your way down the body being extra careful under the belly, a very sensitive spot! Don’t forget the tail!

You can brush short-haired dogs with simple tools like curry brushes or gloves.

Brush medium to long-coated dogs with more specialized tools like a steel comb, slicker, a pin brush, or an undercoat rake.

Whatever you use, be sure it removes hair and distributes oils from the skin throughout the coat.

For most dogs, a good brushing once or twice a week will do the trick!

Bathing

The need for bathing depends on the breed of dog, his skin type and hair coat, owner preference and just how dirty your dog gets. Bathing your dog every month or two isn’t unreasonable, but some will need more frequent cleanings. A good rule of thunk is to bathe your pet only when his coat gets dirty or begins to smell “doggy.”

Begin by filling your tub or large basin with 3”-4” of lukewarm water. Using a spray hose or large, unbreakable pitcher, get your dog completely wet. Be careful not to get the water directly in his eyes, ears or nose. Working from the head to the tail, gently massage in shampoo and rinse thoroughly.

If he has persistent problems with scratching or flaky skin, he may need a special medicated shampoo or have a skin problem that requires a visit to the veterinarian.

Skin Problems

Skin problems – including fleas, ticks and mites or allergies and infections – are common among dogs. Most conditions are manageable with early detection and treatment. If your pet is continuously exposed to fleas and ticks, speak to your veterinarian about products to minimize the impact of these parasites on the skin. Remember, a consistently poor hair coat with lots of skin flaking may indicate a deeper medical problem.

Ears

One important way you can monitor your dog’s health is to examine its ears weekly. This is especially important for dogs that have floppy ears or those with allergies. Many times, when inspecting the ears you will find that they need cleaning. Ensure proper ear care for your loyal companion by regularly inspecting and cleaning its ears.

Look for parasites or other foreign bodies that like to hide around the ear.  

Purchase an ear cleaner solution from your veterinarian or local pet store or make one yourself using equal amounts of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Dip a cotton ball into the cleaner and gently swab it against your dog’s ear flap. Keep the solution on the outer portion of the inside of the flap  and in the front of the hearing canal.

Nail Trimming

Clipping nails is a painless and simple process but does require practice and patience to master the skill. As a rule of thumb, a dog’s nails should be trimmed when they just about touch the ground when he or she walks. If your pet’s nails are clicking or getting snagged on the floor, it’s time for a trim.

Begin by spreading each of your dog’s feet to inspect for dirt and debris.

Take your dog’s toe and hold it firmly, but gently. Hold your trimmer so that you’re cutting the nail from top to bottom at a slight angle. Insert a very small length of nail through the trimmer’s opening to cut off the tip of each nail.

Cut a little bit of nail with each pass until you can see the beginning of a circle—still nail-colored—appear on the cut surface. The circle indicates that you are nearing the quick, a vein that runs into the nail.If your dog has black nails, however, the quick will not be as easily discernible, so be extra careful. If you do accidentally cut into the quick, it may bleed. If this happens, apply some styptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding.

Once the nails have been cut, use an emery board to smooth any rough edges.

Maintain a regular schedule and be persistent when it comes to grooming your furry friend. Your pet will eventually develop patience and learn to cooperate as you help him look and smell his very best.