No matter what breed of dog you have, they’ll need regular care to keep their coats looking fresh. Whether you have a fluffy Poodle or a gaggle of short-haired Lab puppies, grooming your dog’s coat at home can be simple and easy.
Keep reading for seven tips on becoming a grooming guru.
Brush the dog’s fur
Brushing your dog’s coat daily is a best practice and helps establish a routine. If not, several times a week will work for most. The number of times necessary will vary with breed and hair length.
Long-haired dogs like Collies will need more attention to prevent matting, while short-haired dogs like Greyhounds don’t. While brushing, check for burrs or any plant materials that can become lodged in the coat.
The tool you use also matters. Long-haired dogs need pin brushes, while short-haired and medium-haired dogs need bristle brushes. You may need a slicker brush to work out those matted patches on any dog.
Check their ears
Gently check the ears for ticks, a fever, and infections. Dogs’ ears are sensitive, and ear problems can be painful. The sooner you notice a problem, the better.
Some things that may alert you are:
- Inflamed inner ear
- Odd smell
- More or a different kind of discharge than usual
- Shakes head or scratches at ear
- Whines when touched
You should clean your dog’s ears about once a month. To clean, use a damp rag or cotton ball and wipe the outer part of the ear only.
Clean their eyes
Usually, this step is on an as-needed basis, but it might be more frequent if your dog has an infection. Take a damp cotton ball and wipe gently around your pup’s eyes. It’s best to use warm water unless your vet gives you a cleaning solution.
Check their skin
Take the time to check your dog’s skin all over. Look for fleas, ticks, or parasites, and see if the dog has any skin issues like a rash or an infected cut.
Brush their teeth
Despite what you may have heard, you should at minimum be brushing your dog’s teeth two to three times per week, but daily is better. Unfortunately, many pets develop dental disease by two to three years of age due to a lack of dental hygiene.
Your dog may need to warm up to having its teeth brushed. Start by rubbing your pet’s gums, lips, and teeth with your finger to acclimate them to the sensation. Next, introduce dog-friendly toothpaste. Let the puppy eat it off your finger to grow accustomed to the taste. Lastly, introduce the toothbrush.
Trim the nails
Nails need to be kept short to prevent discomfort while walking. Use a specially designed nail trimmer and carefully cut to the quick–on white nails, that’ll be the pink part. If the nails are black, trim a little at a time until you see a solid black dot on the tip.
Bathe your dog, but not too often
Your dog needs regular but not frequent baths. Otherwise, its skin may dry out and become itchy. For most, that’s once every few months. When necessary, use a shampoo that’s specially formulated for dogs. These animals have a different pH level from humans and are sensitive to our shampoo.
Gently pour warm water over your dog to wet their coat and then massage in the shampoo. Be careful around their eyes, ears, and mouth. Rinse the soap out and then let your dog shake the water off or pat them dry with a towel.
Before you go
Good grooming keeps your dog healthy and happy and demonstrates your love. Use the right tools for the job and buy dog-safe products. If you’re ever unsure or uneasy about doing these techniques, take your dog to the groomer or the vet. Good luck grooming.