Some dogs will need more grooming than others. However, paying for a grooming service can become a heavy burden on your budget. Learning to groom your dog at home can help you save money and be a way for you to develop a stronger bond with your pup. It does take some practice but it’s a great skill for dog owners to acquire.
To help set yourself up for success and make the grooming process is as smooth as possible, you should dedicate some time to choosing the right grooming tools.
Throughout the whole process you’ll want to be as firm as you can, always use a calm tone of voice, and have some treats ready. That way you can ensure your dog has a great experience and looks forward to the upcoming grooming sessions.
1. Brushing the first time
Brushing your dog is something you should do several times a week, especially if you have a long-haired dog. The longer your dog’s hair is, the more attention it’ll need.
Brushing your dog regularly will help prevent tangling and matting. Matting reduces air circulation which can lead to health problems such as skin irritation. By brushing your dog’s hair you’re also removing any dust, dirt, and dead hair which can develop infections in the long run.
Brush your dog all the way down to the skin so that the massaging action can stimulate blood circulation which helps loosen and removing any flakes of dandruff. The increased blood circulation on the dog’s skin will help maintain and healthy and shiny coat and keep shedding under control.
It’s important to brush your dog before bathing to remove any tangles. Otherwise, once they’re wet, they become a lot more difficult to brush out.
2. Cleaning the eyes, ears, and nose
The dog’s eyes, ears, and nose are very prone to developing serious infections and also tend to accumulate dirt. Therefore, it’s important to clean them regularly. You don’t need any fancy tools to do this. All you need is a soft damp cloth to wipe out any dirt that may have accumulated around your dog’s eyes and nose. If you see that your dog’s eyes are dry, you can use a few eye drops.
Never use Q-tips to clean your dog’s ears. The soft damp cloth will do the trick. Wrap the cloth around your index finger and gently clean the inside of your dog’s ears. Because your finger is too big to fit in the ear, there’s very little risk that you’ll hurt your dog’s eardrums.
3. Clipping the nails
Most dogs aren’t big fans of having their nails clipped but it’s an important part of keeping their feet healthy. Long nails can make walking awkward or painful for your dog. Longer nails also have a higher risk of breaking and, when they break, it’s usually at the base of the nail where all the vessels and nerves are. This means that a broken dog nail is an almost sure trip to the vet.
You can either use nail clippers or a nail grinding tool. Before you start, make sure that, by looking at your dog’s nails, you’re able to identify where the nail quick starts.
The nail quick is where all the blood vessels are and, if you cut this part, your dog will bleed which may take some time to heal completely. In dogs with white nails, you’ll see a pinkish color and in dogs with black nails, the quick will look like a black spot. When cutting a dog’s nails you should stop right before reaching the pinkish or blackish spot so you don’t hit any blood vessels.
4. Brushing teeth
Much like humans, dogs can also build up plaque, tartar, and develop bad breath if their teeth aren’t cleaned regularly. So it’s important that you make time to brush your dog’s teeth a couple of times per week. You should never use human toothpaste on your dog’s teeth as it contains ingredients that should not be swallowed and some human toothpaste can even contain xylitol which is extremely toxic for dogs.
You should also get a toothbrush or dental chews made specifically for dogs as these are more resistant and, if your dog has a longer snout, a human toothbrush can make it very difficult to reach the teeth on the back.
Most dogs will only need to be bathed once or twice a month to remove any stubborn dust, dirt, and dead hair. But be aware that bathing your dog too often will remove the natural oils in its hair and can cause your dog’s coat to become dry and harsh. This is why you should use shampoo specifically formulated for dogs instead of what you use for yourself.
To make the process smoother, don’t forget to brush your dog to remove any tangles and mats just as mentioned earlier. You’ll also want to use a shampoo that is specially formulated for dogs and use water at room temperature. Not too hot that can burn your dog’s skin nor too cold that can make your dog freeze.
Prepare your bathroom in advance by removing any rugs, towels, or anything you don’t want to use for your dog’s bath. That way it’ll be easy to clean afterward. Remember that after the bath, it’s almost impossible for your dog not to shake its whole body at the end of it.
6. Drying and brushing one last time
Finally, use a clean towel to dry your dog’s coat as much as possible. If your dog isn’t afraid of loud noises, you can also use a blow dryer at a very low temperature so as not to burn your dog’s skin. Once your dog’s hair is all dried out, give it one final brush so that the fur can stay tangle-free and smooth.
Making sense of it all
Learning how to groom your dog at home is a great way to spend some time with your dog while saving some bucks, however, some dogs are easier to groom than others. If your dog doesn’t enjoy the grooming process as much, try for it to be as quick, painless, and rewarding as possible for your dog. With time, your dog may learn to enjoy it.
Once you know the steps and have the right tools, you’re ready to start grooming your dog. Not only will grooming make your dog look pretty but it also plays an important part in keeping it healthy.