Your four legged friend is a member of your family, and you want your pet to be happy and comfortable. Grooming is an important part of keeping your dog happy, healthy, and looking his or her best. Here are some tips to help you make grooming and pampering your pooch a fun and relaxing experience for both of you.
Brushing your dog is important for removing loose and dead hair, prevent mats and tangles in long coats, and stimulate circulation to help promote healthy skin and coat. Short-coated dogs may only need to be brushed once every week or two, while long haired breeds may need daily attention. If you use a wire or pin brush, don't push too hard or brushing could be uncomfortable for your dog. If your dog is impatient during grooming, keep a handful of treats handy and reward any try to sit still and be good.
Most dogs benefit from monthly bath, and some active dogs may require bathing more often. Bathing more frequently than weekly can dry out the coat and cause itching, so don't overdo it! Choose a shampoo that is made for dogs, as some products that are pH balanced for human skin can be irritating to your animal. Keep the water at a comfortable temperature, avoid the eyes and inside the ears, and use a gentle pouring motion rather than spraying your dog to make bathing easier and less stressful.
Grooming is a great time to look in your dog's ears. Ear infections are common, and even dogs with healthy ears can get dirt and waxy debris in the ear canals that can become uncomfortable. Use a good quality ear cleaner, as it breaks up wax and dries quickly. Soapy water can remain in the ear and promote infections, while hydrogen peroxide and vinegar can be irritating. Squeeze the ear cleaner onto a cotton ball and gently wipe the ear canal until it is clean. Allow the dog to shake out excess cleaner. Do not use cotton swabs, as you could injure your dog's eardrums. If you note any foul odor, or if there is a discharge, visit an animal hospital to make sure your pet does not have an infection.
Toenail trimming is an art. Your dog's nails contain a nerve and a blood vessel, called the quick, and if you cut the nails too short and cut the quick, the nail will bleed and it will hurt. This can also make your dog shy about future trimming. If your dog has white or pink nails, cut only the white part of the nail. Dark nails should be trimmed back in tiny snips until the quick can be seen in order to avoid trimming too short. If your dog, like many pets, is sensitive about handling of the feet, have a friend feed him treats while you trim. Trim only what your dog will tolerate; sometimes, one foot or even one nail at a time is enough until he gets used to it.
With these simple tips, you can help your pet stay healthy, happy, and handsome with just a few minutes of effort every week.