If you don’t have an interest in dog grooming, here’s a pro tip: be careful what breed you bring into your home. If you wind up choosing an adorable pup with long fur or a thick, curly coat, plan on shelling out big bucks to have them professionally groomed every four or five weeks. Poodles, for instance, are great dogs, but their coats require near-constant attention to keep them in good shape.
If, however, you like grooming your own dog, that’s wonderful. Brushing your dog can be a good bonding activity for you and your furry friend. In addition to making their coat neat and shiny and getting rid of dead hair, brushing is like a massage for your pet and improves circulation. It’s also kind of zen; stroking the brush rhythmically through your dog’s coat can be very relaxing.
Tricks for Making Dog Grooming Easier
Regular brushing is great for keeping your dog’s coat healthy. Fortunately, most dogs don’t require frequently bathing . In fact professional groomers discourage bathing your dog too often because it’s not good for their skin, and it dries and dulls fur.
Don’t be tempted to just plop your dog in the tub or under the garden hose without brushing them first. Getting loose hair and dirt off keeps it out of your drain, but more importantly, getting any tangles or matts out before a bath makes it so much easier to brush them out once they’re dry. Tangles only get worse when wet.
Here’s a tip for helping with matts and tangles: if they are not too close to the skin, a pair of thinning shears can be helpful. Seek a professional groomer’s help, however, if matts are very thick, especially if they are close to the skin.
Make sure you have all of your bathing necessities gathered before adding your dog to the water! Shampoo, a container for rinsing, a rag for gently wiping the face and plenty of towels should be at hand. Make sure you have a bath mat or a large towel in the bottom of the tub to keep your buddy from slipping around–a scary experience for them for sure!
A hair trap over your tub or sink drain is important to remember, too!
Save money and stretch your shampoo by adding water. This also makes it more sudsy, which is another good thing. Finally, watered down shampoo takes less time to rinse out of your dog’s coat.
If you notice that your dog’s nose is dry or his paw pads are scaly, a little organic coconut oil can help. It won’t hurt them if they lick it off–it’s actually good for them.
For dirty faces or icky eyes, you can buy disposable doggy face cloths. They’re also good for messy rear ends, too.
To help keep a fluffy dog’s sanitary area cleaner, use your thinning shears or electric clippers to shave a “v” upside down in the fur under his tail. That way there’s less fur to trap waste.
If you have never used an electric clipper, blow drier, or any other loud, buzzy appliance on your pet, give him time to look at it and sniff it. Turn it on without touching your dog so that they can get accustomed to it. A word of caution regarding electric clippers. These are powerful tools with sharp blades used to trim and cut hair. While there are safety features built into most clippers, there is a reason why professional groomers typically don’t start learning to use one until they have studied for many months and then only under the expert eye of a grooming professional. Be careful. Clippers can injure your pet if used incorrectly.
Tips for Making Dog Nail Trimming Less Intimidating
Trimming your dog’s nails is an essential part of the grooming process, but it can be daunting and or scary for a lot of people. A lot of dogs aren’t particularly fond of the process either–thus all the weird YouTube videos of pet owners letting dogs lick peanut butter off their foreheads to distract them during nail trimming.
People are afraid of hurting their pets, and yes, it does hurt if you nick the quick of the nail; it’s a nerve.. If you do happen to cut it too close and the nail starts to bleed, staunch it with styptic powder. If you don’t have styptic powder, cornstarch or flour will do in a pinch. If it is just a nick, it may not constitute a visit to the vet’s office but your pup probably won’t be very trusting of you coming at them with the nail clippers again, so it pays to be extremely careful.
You’re lucky if your dog has clear nails because you can easily see the quick and avoid cutting it. If your dog has black nails, you’re going to be guessing and must be careful to trim only the very tip. The more often you trim, the better. Eventually, the quick will recede some, making it easier to maintain nice short nails.
One thing to consider is having a professional trim your pets nails while you watch, many veterinarians are happy to allow you to observe the procedure and might even narrate exactly what their doing as they go through the process.
Many prefer grinding nails instead of cutting them. You can buy a grinder for pet nails, or if you happen to have a Dremel tool, you can use a rough sandpaper drum to shape your pet’s nails painlessly. Just remember to let them explore the new tool and hear it before you start grinding away on his paws. It will also help if you start the tool on a lower RPM at first, which isn’t as startling for your dog as a high setting. Also, just like electric clippers, you need to be careful when using these tools.
Help for Stinky Dogs
Let’s face it, most dogs are not especially aromatic. Frequent bathing is not the answer; as noted earlier, it’s not good for your dog. When you bathe your pet, using a deodorizing shampoo can help.
Keeping bedding washed and fresh smelling can make a big difference. Using dog colognes or wipes are a safe way to combat odor as well. Make sure teeth and ears are regularly cleaned, as they can be a source of unpleasant odors. This is doubly important for dogs with long, floppy, or hairy ears.
Consistent brushing will also help keep your pet’s coat clean so that it smells less “doggy.” For added deodorizing, rub baking soda into your dog’s coat and let it sit for a few minutes before brushing it out. You can also buy commercial dry shampoos to help reduce your dog’s odor.
Dog Grooming Should Never Be Neglected
Whether you groom your dog at home or take them to a groomer, you’ll be helping them stay healthier, cleaner, and better looking. Bringing a pet into your home is a lifetime commitment, a promise that you will do your best to take care of them. Don’t let your dog down by neglecting the important tasks associated with proper grooming!