Whether you groom your dog at home or take your dog to a professional, keeping your dog well-groomed is an important factor for your dogs health. Grooming not only makes for a clean-smelling companion, it will help keep your dog more comfortable and allow you to detect health or skin problems before they become serious. Keeping your dog clean will also help with keeping dirt and fleas from being tracked all over your home.
Brushing Your Dog’s Coat
Routine brushing keeps your pet’s hair clean and tangle-free, while keeping his skin healthy by stimulating blood flow, removing dead hair and distributing natural oils. When brushing your dog, stroke the brush with and against the lie of the hair. This will help to loosen dead hair and stimulate the skin. Use a brush with the correct bristle length; short for medium and short-haired dogs, long bristles for long-haired dogs. If you do any combing, use a fine comb for the short-haired dog and a comb with widely spaced teeth for the long-haired, medium-haired and wire-haired dogs.
Brushing and combing your dog’s coat should be made into a pleasant ritual. Select a place to do the grooming; a chair, table or bench will be satisfactory. Let him know that he’s in for a treat, not an ordeal. Let him sniff each tool; the comb, brush, nail clippers and scissors. It’s very important that he learn to associate these tools with a pleasant experience. Handle the situation with tact and care, and the pup will look forward to it instead of you looking for the pup the next time you bring out the grooming tools.
If you have a short or smooth-haired dog, you will not have to worry about matted hair. But medium and long-haired dogs do get tangled or matted hair from burs, paint, tar, chewing gum or other sticky or prickly objects. Dried food will also contribute to matted hair, and this is common in puppies and very old dogs. Matted hair is not only unsightly, but it can pinch and irritate the dog.
If the hair is not too snarled, try combing out the mats. Do this gently. Hold the matted hair or tuft in one hand and gently comb it. Use liquid detangler or baby oil for stubborn tangles and mats, gently massaging it into the trouble spot with fingers. If it is too tightly matted, you may have to cut it off. Always use blunt-end scissors to avoid accidental injuries.
Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Brushing your dog’s teeth will prevent health problems associated with decaying teeth and help prevent unpleasant dog breath. Dogs rarely get cavities but they are susceptible to develop gum disease caused by tartar buildup that can lead to periodontal disease and potential bacterial infections. Regular brushing will avoid the tartar buildup being removed by a veterinarian, which usually needs to be done under sedation and can be expensive.
You’ll need to use a small soft brush, preferably designed for dogs, and pet toothpaste. You can also use gauze in place of a toothbrush. To get your dog used to brushing, start by gently massaging his gums. Put a little bit of the toothpaste on the dogs lips to get them used to the taste. When you feel your dog is ready, apply the toothpaste to the brush or gauze and gently brush their teeth.
Bathing Your Dog
We’ve all seen the pictures of dogs trying to avoid the bathtub. But bathing your dog doesn’t need to be difficult. With a little preparation, you can make bathing a fun part of the regular grooming cycle. According to ASPCA recommendations, you should bathe your dog at least every three months, increasing the frequency during the hot, summer months. However, different breeds and coat styles may require more frequent bathing as well as the dogs who love the outdoors and ones that get into mischief. Remember to use approved dog shampoo, preferably one that also conditions, detangles and moisturizes.
Taking some time on a regular basis to groom your pet will not only help keep your dog healthy but a clean and well groomed dog will get more cuddles.