Everyone loves snuggling with a dog that smells clean and fresh. Unfortunately, there is no way you can keep your hound smelling this way for the rest of its life without taking a trip to the dog grooming salon. But instead of spending up to a few hundreds of dollars on some dog grooming session, why not motivate yourself to learn the tricks of the trade? Not only will it save you money, grooming your dog yourself also strengthens your relationship with it. While we don’t promise that you will be a professional dog groomer, you can at least start with these 10 essential dog grooming tips.
Invest in the Right Dog Grooming Tools and Supplies
Any activity that you are going to perform with or for your dog has to start with making sure you have the right tools, equipment, and supplies. It makes no sense to bathe your dog without a dog-appropriate blow dryer or a pet-safe shampoo. As such, it is advisable that you secure all of these materials first before you make any attempts at grooming your pet yourself.
In choosing dog grooming tools, it is important to look for those with reliable construction. You do not want the equipment or tool to be good only for several uses. A good dog grooming tool should last your pet’s lifetime. Hence, if it comes with a 5-year warranty, then it is often a good sign of the product’s exceptional construction.
Do not skimp on quality. You may think you are saving money by buying a cheap product. For instance, you may get dog nail clippers for less than $10, opting it for a $20 one. You may have saved ten dollars. But if the clipper won’t last until the first year, then you will end up with a costlier tool.
Always Exercise Your Dog Before Grooming
There are two things you are going to accomplish in exercising your pet before you start with its grooming. First, exercise helps improve blood flow while also relaxing the muscles. This can contribute to the pet’s overall wellness and health. A healthy dog can present with healthier coat and skin, which is a lot easier to groom. The nails and ears will be healthier, too.
Second, exercising your dog before grooming puts it in a more relaxed and calmer state. One of the things that can make grooming so challenging for some parents is that their pets may be uncooperative. They may be anxious about the idea of taking a bath and of having a dog shampoo slathered all over their body.
Never groom an anxious dog. Regardless of what you see in dog grooming salons, it is never a good idea to subject a pet to unnecessary stress. Grooming should always be a pleasant experience for the pet. This paves the way for more successful return trips to the bath tub and grooming table in the future.
Brush Your Dog’s Coat Before Giving it a Bath
Before you start giving your pet a nice warm bath, make sure to brush its coat first. This is to help remove any tangles or mats that may be present. It is important to keep in mind that tangles can act like a sponge. If they remain untangled before you bathe the dog, there’s a tendency for the fur to go into a more severe tangled mess.
Try using a deshedding brush. This is a better grooming tool than conventional dog brushes or combs. They can remove stubborn tangles and mats. If you have serious matting of the dog’s coat, consider using a mat rake. If this doesn’t work, you can try using a mat splitter. Unfortunately, mat splitters are specialty tools and require some considerable skill to use. Applying a detangling solution onto the hair often does the trick, however.
It is also important to remove any surface debris on your dog’s coat. Try to comb or brush it with an ordinary dog brush to help remove dirt and debris. This will make bathing a lot easier and more comfortable for your pet.
Bathe Your Pet with an Appropriate Dog Shampoo
Bathing your dog at least once every 3 months is ideal. Depending on how “dirty” your dog can get, you can bathe it as frequently as once a week. Anything more frequent than this can strip your dog’s skin of its natural oils and lead to more health problems. However, some skin conditions may require more frequent baths. Your vet will have a say about how frequent you should bathe your dog in such a case.
When bathing your dog, it is critical to use only a dog shampoo that contains natural ingredients. If your pet has a skin condition, then your vet may recommend a medicated pet shampoo. Don’t ever think that the shampoo you use yourself is a good enough alternative for your dog. Canines have a less acidic skin compared to human skin. Using human shampoo on dogs can damage their skin.
Always make sure to check the temperature of the water before bathing your pet. It should be neither too hot nor too cold. Make sure to rinse your dog very well. You may use a good dog shampoo but if you leave any residue on your dog, it may also not be good for the pet.
Use towels to dry your pet’s coat after the bath. It is very important to let it dry thoroughly before you attempt to comb or brush it. If you want a faster and more efficient way to dry your dog’s coat, then you should use a pet-safe blow dryer. Make sure to get one that doesn’t create too much noise to avoid spooking your pet.
Brush and Comb Your Pet’s Coat
In general, long-haired dog breeds require everyday brushing or combing of their coats. If this is not possible, then brushing once every two to three days is ideal. Short-haired breeds can get away with once-a-week brushing. However, after every bathing, it is important for all dogs to have a good brush.
Brushing maintains the health and integrity of both the skin and the dog’s coat. It removes dirt, lint, grass, and other particles. Brushing also helps redistribute the skin’s natural oils while preventing tangles from forming.
Use the right comb or brush depending on the type of coat that your dog has. For those with short and smooth fur, a deshedding brush or comb works best. This can help remove loose dead skin on the dog. For dogs with long and silky hair, a slicker brush can do wonders. The long tines of the metal-pin brush can help remove tangles that are common in this type of coat. Dogs with thick double coats will do well with a bristle brush. This can help address the issue of matting. Of course, a dematting comb or brush also helps.
Trim Your Pet’s Coat
Trimming your pet’s coat can be very tricky. Skilled dog groomers use only a pair of scissors and comb to trim a pet’s coat. Given that this requires skill, pet parents will have a much better chance trimming their pet’s coat if they use a pet clipper.
Learn how to use the device the correct way before you trim your pet’s coat. There are many online videos that can show you a step-by-step approach to trimming a dog’s coat. Make sure you understand what a blade guard is for. This attachment can make trimming a lot easier for you.
Start trimming the hair around your pet’s neck area and work your way down its body. Be careful when running the clipper on the dog’s hocks, stifle, and underarms. These areas often have thin skin, making them more susceptible to clipper burns.
Don’t forget to trim the hair on the pet’s paws. Hair overgrowth in this part of its body can prevent the dog from having a more secure hold of the floor. The same is true in the area surrounding its anus. It is best to keep the hair short if not shaved to allow for a mess-free defecation.
Don’t Forget Its Teeth
Grooming your dog is never complete without paying attention to its teeth. Everyday brushing using only the best dog toothpaste is ideal. However, not only is this impractical, it also exposes your pet to unnecessary stress. Very few dogs will love to have their mouths and teeth tinkered with. Hence, brushing your pet’s teeth at least twice a week is often enough. This can help remove food particles, tartar, and plaque that can contribute to gum disease.
In brushing your dog’s teeth, it is crucial to choose from the most appropriate dog toothbrushes. These should have bristles that are neither too soft nor too stiff. They should be able to remove food particles and scrape off plaque without causing injury to the gums.
One with a lengthy handle is also preferred over shorter ones. However, you can also get one of those finger toothbrushes that you can slip over your finger. This can be a lot easier to control.
Trim Your Dog’s Nails
Trimming a dog’s nails is often a hair-raising experience for many pet parents. This is especially the case if they cut well into the nail’s quick. As blood oozes out, most pets parent will freak out. It is said that their sudden change of emotional state is also picked up by their dog.
In trimming your dog’s nails, it is important to have appropriate nail clippers. There are those that come with safety features that help prevent overcutting the nail. You get to cut only the right length of nail to avoid bleeding. Having styptic powder on hand is always beneficial as you will have something to manage accidental nail bleeds.
If you are not confident in using nail clippers, then you may want to use a nail grinder instead. If you have used a sander or a nail file before, it is the same thing. It may take a little longer to trim the dog’s nails but it sure is a lot safer. Pet parents are also more confident about using this device than conventional pet nail clippers.
Inspect and Clean the Ears
Cleaning your dog’s ears should give you the opportunity to assess it first for any potential problems. Make sure to take note of the ear canal’s skin color as well as for the presence of any dirt or debris. Try to visualize the innermost part of the ear canal and see if there is any waxy buildup. This can reduce your dog’s hearing abilities. Try to smell the ear, too. Foul smell almost always denotes fungal or bacterial ear infection.
If everything checks out fine, you can start cleaning up your pet’s ears. Use a dog ear cleaner for such a purpose. It comes with a unique formulation that is safe for your pet. If your dog is suffering from itchiness or foul odor, your vet may prescribe an eardrop which you can use in cleaning its ears.
Put a few drops of the ear cleaner in the dog’s ears and massage the base of the ear. This will help work the cleaning solution throughout the ear. After about 30 seconds, let your dog shake its head to remove any excess cleaner.
It is ideal to clean the dog’s ears once every 2 weeks or as your vet recommends.
Have a Bag of Treats Ready
Any activity that you have with your dog should always be a pleasant experience for your pet. Hence, it is always a good idea to have your dog treats ready whenever you are going to groom it. Rewarding your pet during and after the grooming process helps teach your pet that grooming is a positive experience. You are acknowledging its cooperation and well-behaved manner during the entire process of dog grooming.
Grooming your dog is not difficult. You only need the right tools and the correct mindset to get the job done. It is the chance to do something for your pet that makes dog grooming more meaningful than having someone else do it.
- Grooming Basics to Keep Your Dog in Tip Top Shape – South Boston Animal Hospital
- Oh the Glamour! 10 Grooming Secrets Behind AKC Show Dogs – AKC
- The Ultimate Guide to Grooming and Bathing Your Dog – RSPCA Pet insurance