It doesn’t matter if you own a short hair or long haired breed of dog, basic grooming is essential not only to keep your dog looking clean and fresh but also a necessity for your buddy’s personal hygiene. A little maintenance with your dog’s coat, paws, nails and ears will go a long way in ensuring your pet is clean and healthy. Keep reading for some handy tips on how you can have your very own grooming session with your dog right at home.
It’s very important to only use lukewarm water when bathing your dog. The reason behind this is that hot water may cause rashes or skin irritation and water that is too cold may spook your dog which will make it even more difficult to give it a bath. In order to make sure that the bath water you’re using is at an appropriate temperature, test it by spray a small amount onto your hand, If it feels comfortable enough for your skin without flinching then it should be okay for your dog.
Select a suitable shampoo that matches your dog’s breed, fur type, age and skin condition. Dog’s skin have a different pH level as compared to us humans, so please avoid using human shampoo on your dog. There are a variety of different dog shampoos available for purchase at your local supermarket or pet store. However, depending on your dog’s skin condition, you may want to consult with a vet if your dog has specific conditions such as sensitive skin or excessive itching. If your dog’s skin condition is relatively normal, feel free to choose a suitable dog shampoo based on different scents or ingredients for your dog.
When you begin bathing your dog, it’s important to start massaging the shampoo starting from the paws and legs and working your way upwards your dog’s body. Make sure to massage a lather focusing on each section for about 3 to 5 minutes. Like us humans with regular shampoo, it’ll sting quite a bit if any of it gets into our eyes, so if your dog is calm, you can use cotton pads to cover its eyes. This will ensure no shampoo gets into your dog’s eyes. This will especially come in handy when rinsing your dog. As opposed to lathering up the shampoo from the paw upwards, you’ll want to rinse your dog in the opposite direction which is from the head downwards.
As for drying your dog, depending on its size you will want to keep a lot of towels around as your dog may want to run around (and no one likes a frantic wet dog on the loose). It’s important to dry your dog and make sure that its fur is as dry as can be by toweling rigorously. Add in a few belly rubs and praises to calm down your over-excited dog from running off. Unless you are a professional groomer, avoid using a hairdryer as it will be difficult to regulate the temperature and you may risk scaring or stressing your dog out.
Paw and Nail Care
Your dog’s claws may need clipping every now and then to ensure good hygiene. A good way to tell when your dog needs a clipping is to listen when it walks. If you can hear your dog’s claws scraping against the ground as it walks, then it’s due time for a trim. Maintaining short claws ensures that your dog won’t get its claws snagged on objects and injuring itself. Also make sure to trim the fur between its claws to prevent from dirt collecting there (especially if your dog loves digging in the yard).
Depending on the length of your dog’s coat, you will generally need to brush it before and after a bath. For normal coats, you will need to brush at least 3 times a week to maintain a healthy and shiny coat. Larger breeds such as German Shepherds and Labradors should be brushed during bath time to remove any loose fur from its undercoat and reduce shedding.
The inside and outside of your dog’s ears should be cleaned during bath time. Do not prod aggressively with a cotton bud as this can aggravate your dog. You can use a cotton ball and gently rub the dirt out from the visible part of your dog’s ears. Make sure to not clean your dog’s ears too often as this could lead to infections.
It may be a tedious task for some dogs, but it has to be done to ensure healthy teeth and gums. If possible, try to brush your dog’s teeth at least once a day. Buy special toothbrushes and toothpastes for dogs from your local pet store (do not use human toothbrushes and toothpastes!) and make sure to brush when your dog is feeling relatively calm. Always reward your dog with belly rubs and praise once you’re done with the ordeal.
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