Grooming your dog plays a vital role in keeping your pet not only healthy, but also happy. A dog that is not properly maintained will often display temperamental changes in mood. This can be easily remedied by proper care.
From nails cut to the right length to their coat well-cut and brushed, your dog will let you know that it feels better after a nice grooming. Read ahead to find out the best care for your K9, while improving its overall well-being.
Not only will your dog smell better and feel better, but so will your furniture. Less hair shed on your couch or bed (if you allow that sort of thing) is always a good thing. Your carpet, too, will thank you for it, not to mention your vacuum cleaner.
Read on to better understand why regularly grooming your dog is just as important as feeding them. Letting simple grooming go can adversely affect your favorite pup and lead to all kinds of headache and heartache. Many people unfortunately dismiss this discipline, yet it’s easier than you may think. You and your dog must both be diligent in getting into the groove of performing these tasks, and you will both be better off for it.
The Importance of Daily Grooming
By having your pup groomed on a regular basis, you are increasing its life while decreasing a load of health problems. Things like thrush, scratches, and other skin problems, as well as lumps, swelling, lameness, cut, and hot spots.
All of these can be easily-detected if you properly maintain your pet. And not only that, regular grooming serves to create a closer bond between you and your furry best friend. A great by-product of doing so is the automatic reduction of parasites like fleas, ticks, and lice.
When a dog goes too long without having its hair properly maintained, matting can easily occur; and that lends itself to horrible skin irritation, as well as bacteria that gets trapped under the fur. A simple washing and trimming of your pet will avoid this problem.
While it’s true that you needn’t bathe your dog as often you bathe yourself, it is still just as important. And let’s admit it, your dog probably gets into much filthier things than you do – and on a much more regular basis. So get in the habit of catering to your dog’s cleaning needs.
Exactly how often you need to have your pet groomed depends largely on its breed, age, and current stage of health. Let’s face it, not all dogs are made alike; where one type sheds like the dickens, others may shed very little, if at all.
If your dog is one of the latter, consider having it groomed every four to eight weeks. Conversely, over-grooming your pet can equally cause your it aggravation, so you’ll want to check reliable sources to ensure proper maintenance.
This is very important, and there is a vast load of information available on the internet to help you in verifying grooming cycles for your pet’s shape, size, and breed. If you’re still unsure, a quick check with your veterinarian will do the trick.
There are a plethora of tools available to care for your pet. Not all are made equally either, so do your due diligence in researching which product rates the highest and works the best for your particular dog. You don’t want hair trimmers that might pull on your dog’s hair and hurt it while grooming. This would be counter-intuitive to your dog’s well-being.
Also, and just as important, you want the grooming process to go as smoothly as possible to ensure that your dog will look forward to the event. Logically, a dog that has been injured while being groomed will remember and usually put up a fight when grooming time comes again.
Work to assure your pup that what you’re doing is safe, and help to keep them calm and relaxed through the process. They’ll thank you for it by being more manageable the next time.
We’ll start with nail trimming, as it is essential in your dog’s everyday locomotion. If nails are left uncut, they can easily grow too long and curl inward toward the pad of the paw. This can result in debilitating pain for your dog, which will affect its gait and potentially lead to pain in their joints.
Furthermore, nails that are too long put pressure on the toe joints, which can actually cause those joints to get misaligned. This will often lead to uneven pressure when walking, causing even further injury. Not only that, but you run the risk of your dog accidentally tearing or breaking their nails.
A dog that can’t run and get around as God intended will become lethargic and depressed. It’s just as important for them as it is for us. Assist in this by not only properly trimming but also giving your dog proper exercise. Both are equally as important.
Trimming your dog’s nails is a very precise operation. Cutting to short is easy to do, resulting in bleeding. If you aren’t comfortable in doing so, take your K9 to the vet and let a professional do it.
There are two general types of nail clippers on the market: guillotine trimmers and scissor-style trimmers. With guillotine trimmers, you simply place a nail it its hole and squeeze the trigger, causing a blade to come down into the nail like a guillotine, as the name implies. For nails that have grown too long, the scissor-style works best, as you can more easily cut at the desired angle.
A Brush or Comb
Commonly used on dogs that shed often, a curry comb works best to assist in untangling knots in places like ears, paws, or on the tail. This is a careful procedure, as pulling too hard can really hurt your animal.
Next up, the slicker brush. These have very fine, short wires on a flat surface that are best for removing mats on the fur and smoothing out the coat. For heavier and thicker coats, try one with stiffer wires. These brushes come in all shapes and sizes.
There is also a shedding blade, which has short metal teeth and is best for removing dead hairs. If you need to penetrate your dog’s fur, simply use a rake brush. These are often shaped like shaving razor and will assist you best on dog’s with long hair and/or heavy tangles.
Use a bristle brush on longer-haired types to finish the coat and to bring out that natural lustre and shine. Commonly used in daily grooming, it removes any surface dirt that your dog may have collection on its fur. As a general rule, longer, more widely-spaced bristles are best for dogs with longer coats, while shorter and tightly-packed ones are better for – you guessed it – shorter-haired dogs.
Wire pin brush: these have an oval shape to them along with metal bristles. They’re great for separating and untangling messy hair on more curly-coated dogs. Find one with polished pins to avoid scratching your dog’s skin. Keep a close eye these types of brushes, as they need replaced often due to the heads of the pins wearing out.
If you have a show dog, you’ll definitely want to invest in a stripping comb. They assist by grabbing longer hairs on a rough coat, like that of a schnauzer or terrier.
A combination bristle brush has two sides to it that serve both in grooming the shorter areas of the coat, as well as maintaining the areas where longer hair grows.
Mat comb: these are designed to remove matted hair from the coat without leaving a bald spot.
Next up are shears and clippers. Use these to trim up hair on certain types of coats. Remember, double coats, like on that of a Collie, aren’t suited for trimming. Do so only if the hair has become matted. A typical pair of shears for dog grooming should be anywhere from 6.5 and 9 inches long. Some are will have a blunt tip to prevent your dog from being nicked during grooming.
Shampoos and conditioners: It is highly recommended that you use only types specifically designed for dogs. Human shampoos can irritate your dog. You might want to premix your pet’s shampoos and conditioners to make the job easier – on both you and your dog.
Hair dryers are used to dry your dog’s coat. DO NOT use a hair-dryer that is made for humans. These often get too hot for your pet and will easily burn them.
Grooming tables provide a secure environment for grooming, and can greatly assist in the process. To save money, however, you can easily use any secure furniture that accommodates your dog’s size and shape.
When bathing, be mindful when washing the face area, as products can irritate your pet’s eyes, as well as get in unwanted areas like the nose and ears. You may use a sink or bathtub, or if you desire, outside works well, too. Never use water that is too hot or cold.
Test it on yourself first. Generally, what is comfortable to you will be OK for your dog, but take its size into consideration. And never bath a dog that has matted fur. This needs to be properly removed before you start the washing process.
Dental care is equally important and can be done while grooming. Special toothbrushes and pastes are available that are made just for dogs. Usually sugar-free, you need not worry about foaming and rinsing.
Many owners like for their pet to not only look nice, but to smell nice, as well. There are many scented sprays on the market designed just for dogs that will not harm or irritate them in any way.
Keep in mind, however, that dogs are generally the opposite to us when it comes to smells. Have you ever noticed that after a bath your dog likes to run its body into the ground, whether inside or out? That’s because finely-scented things are a turn-off to them. They would generally much rather smell like putrefaction than roses.
The coats of many breeds of dogs require regularly-scheduled maintenance. It is important to get your dog on a regimen. They will know when the time is coming for grooming and as long as it is an enjoyable experience, they will often look forward to it without putting up a fuss.
Many dogs enjoy being bathed, as it is a comforting and soothing experience to them. Depending on the breed, however, you may always be in for a struggle. Regardless, try to make it as calm and relaxing as you possibly can. Your dog will remember this and hopefully become more acclimated as time goes on.