The What, When and How of Dog Grooming
It’s something that some owners might try and avoid but like it or not, grooming your canine friend is absolutely essential.
While most of us will just think of the distinct odor that will become associated with your dog if you fail to carry out the task, let’s not also forget some of the other issues. From both an aesthetic and general health point of view the practice is crucial and by not doing it, your dog will be more at risk.
Unfortunately, this is a topic which isn’t exactly understood. Most people think that it just involves brushing every now and again but in truth, it incorporates things such as haircuts, bathing and even nail trimming. As such, there is plenty to take into account, as we look at dog grooming in detail through this page.
How should you brush your dog?
The importance of brushing your dog should not be underestimated. It’s not just a case of keeping your dog’s hair in good shape so it’s nice on the eye – it’s something that can prevent their skin from becoming irritated. It will remove any dead hair from their coat and as such, potentially stop matting. A slightly smaller benefit is associated to your house; by brushing regularly you can control where the coat goes – it doesn’t have to be left randomly all over your floors!
Fortunately, brushing is an easy process to master. As long as you brush outwards and away from the skin you will improve their coat no-end. It’s also recommended to brush with a grooming spray which will just make the brushing all the more easier.
Then, we’re onto frequency. As you may have guessed, it really is a case of the more you brush the better your dog’s coat gets.
In some cases, if you have a dog with a long coat, you may have to turn to the brush every day. However, for those with a much shorter coat, this can be limited to just monthly.
How should you bathe your dog?
Bathing your dog might seem like a daunting prospect and with some breeds – it very well might be. However, on the whole, bathing your dog doesn’t have to be overly troublesome and there are few tips to follow.
We’ll leave it up to you on how to maneuver your dog into the bath; again, this will largely depend on the breed. Something that you do need to take into account is the product you use on your dog’s hair. Your own bath soap won’t suffice here; you need to turn to a product which is designed specifically for dogs. Water isn’t enough either; just like humans need shampoo, so do dogs.
How should you clip your dog’s coat?
It would be fair to say that the first time you try to groom your dog isn’t going to be easy. This is one of those tasks which it doesn’t matter who you are; it’s unlikely to come naturally and you will only get better with experience. Unfortunately, for those of you who have dogs with a long coat, the task is a little harder as the workload naturally increases.
Nevertheless, if you can follow the advice below you can make life much easier for both you and your pet.
- Before you start to clip your dog, make sure you bathe them. As we’ve already discussed earlier in the guide, it’s at this point you should be looking to turn to a specialist shampoo that isn’t going to cause any irritation to your dog’s skin. Once you have finished, dry them with a towel and brush through.
- Another tip to take into account prior to the grooming itself is to make sure you carry it out in a quiet place. As some of you may have already realized if you have tried to groom your dog in the past, it’s not exactly a therapeutic moment for them. As such, you need to remove the risk of sudden noises or visitors which might frighten them and make the task even more difficult.
- If you are cutting your dog’s coat on their body, you should look to use electric clippers which can make the job much easier. Then, when you start to approach their face and feet, turn to sharp scissors which are easier to use for the more intricate areas. On the subject of the latter, you should always be using blades which are sharp. While it might sound contradictory, blades which are dull pose more of a threat when you groom your dog.
How should you treat your dog’s nails?
When it comes to grooming, most of us just think of bubbles and soap. Well, it also encompasses your dog’s nails and pretty much every dog out there is going to need some care in this regard. The only dogs that fall out of the rule are the extremely active ones – who will see their nails naturally be trimmed down over time.
For all other dogs, you should be looking to trim their nails from once per week to monthly. This is another one of those tasks that is often ignored though, with many owners (and dogs, for that matter), completely in fear of the process.
It’s for the above reason that a lot of people will turn to professional help from their vet to see the medically correct way to trim nails. Get the process wrong, and you’ll trim into the quick of the nail and cause all sorts of pain. It’s for this reason that you need to practice whilst your dog is still young, so you both can gain confidence and have less fears for the future.
A lot of success of nail clipping comes with the equipment itself though. Some owners will mistakenly use standard toenail clippers – which just aren’t designed to be used with a dog’s nails. Instead, specialist clippers are required, while some owners might turn to rotary trimmer which might be slower, but is regarded as a much safer alternative.