We can’t always take our beloved pooch to a professional dog groomer. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on your dog’s hygiene. Grooming helps them keep a shiny, healthy coat and allows you to check for parasites, ticks, skin problems and other potential issues. It can also be a lot of fun!
All dogs need regular grooming, even if their fur is short. This may include brushing, nail clipping, bathing and hair trimming for pups with longer coats. While you can leave the big jobs to the professionals, it pays to know how to do most of the work yourself at home. Here are six tips for implementing a great at-home maintenance grooming habit for you and your dog.
Tip #1: Brush your dog’s coat regularly
No matter your dog’s breed, they require a regular brush to ensure their coat is kept shiny. Breeds with long hair such as golden retrievers will require more frequent brushing (more than once a week). Breeds such as greyhounds that have shorter hair will do well with brushing once a fortnight.
“Matting” refers to densely tangled clumps of fur in a pet’s coat. Longhaired dogs are prone to matting if they are not brushed often. Matted hair can actually cause your dog pain. They will probably lick at the area of irritation, which may lead to skin infections. While they are not vulnerable to matting, short-haired dogs also benefit from brushing as it removes loose hair and dirt from their coat - keeping them cleaner between baths.
Tip #2: Give your pup a haircut
It might seem challenging to trim your dog’s hair if it’s your first time doing it at home. It’s a great idea to cut the hair around your dog’s face to prevent excess hair blocking their vision or rubbing against their eyes, potentially damaging them in the process. As a general guide:
- Wait until your dog is calm, still and preferably lying down
- Always move slowly and apply caution when close to their skin
- Reward your dog with a treat for their calmness
- Leave ear hair trimming to the professionals!
Tip #3: Give them a pooch pedicure
Doggy nails naturally regulate their length when your dog is outside in nature most of the day. If your dog is an indoor pet, like most are, you’ll need to jump in and trim them for them now and then. When you can hear your dog coming by the sound their nails make on hard floors, it’s time to give them a touch-up. Just make sure you trim their overgrown nails safely and with care!
Tip #4: Teach them to enjoy the process
It’s no fun if your dog doesn’t enjoy their grooming sessions. Most dogs will initially be resistant to the idea, particular as a puppy. When first starting, make sure to encourage them and make it fun - here’s how:
- Take some peanut butter and spread it on their favourite toy, getting them to lick it off while you brush them. This will keep them occupied!
- Always take it slow, giving them treats along the way to praise their calm behaviour
- If you’re bathing them, make it comfortable. Use a slip-proof mat to stop them from falling over
Tip #5: Check your dog’s ears and skin
Grooming is a great time to take a close look at your dog’s sensitive areas, such as their ears and skin. Ear infections can be excruciating and require a visit to the vet. Have a look if their ears are inflamed or give off a ‘sweet’ smell. If your dog yelps when you examine their ears, chances are they have some irritation - check with your vet if you’re not sure.
“Check for lumps and bumps as they may often be a sign of something more serious”
Your dog’s skin is also another common cause of puppy issues. Make sure to check your dog for lumps and bumps as they may often be a sign of something more serious, such as parasites. Their skin is usually covered by hair, so make sure to part their coat to scrutinize it for any other signs of irritation, such as rashes or redness.
Tip #6: Bathe your pup correctly
You actually don’t need to bathe your dog often at all! Once every few months is usually enough to maintain hygiene without stripping natural oils from their skin. When you do, it’s essential to keep in mind that your pup’s skin has a different pH level from us, so always use a special dog shampoo that’s suited to them. Use warm water and massage the shampoo in everywhere but their eyes, mouth and the inside of their ears.
Implementing these grooming habits will go a long way to keeping your dog in excellent health. As we are spending more time at home, now is the best time to start practising your routine. Dog Gear offers the tools you need for the job. With free Australian shipping and same-day dispatch, our products will be with you fast. Follow us on Facebook for the latest advice, updates and dog training tips!