Dog Health and Nutrition 

How to Groom a Dog: A Practical Guide

When it comes to our dog friends, grooming is often viewed as a luxury, especially when you have to rely on regular visits to a professional zookeeper. However, in most cases, grooming your dog does not require any special skills and can be done at home with basic equipment. We’re not talking about hair rejuvenation or artistic pedicures. Just a few simple tasks that can become part of a grooming routine and soon become a relaxing bonding experience for both of you.

As with anything, some pooches are happier to be groomed than others. Make sure to go slowly and use the training treats as rewards in moderation. A dog is more likely to be groomed by you if you get him used to it at a young age, a few minutes at a time. Always keep an eye on your pet and make sure you never put yourself in danger. It is known that even the most beloved pets will suffocate if something surprises them.

Before we cover all of the simple tips on how to groom a dog at home, you should think of regular grooming not as a dog extravaganza, but as a necessary part of a happy, healthy life.

The benefits of dog grooming

There are some great reasons to learn how to groom a dog at home. Here are the benefits of grooming:

  • Maintains healthy skin and fur
  • Helps identify any unusual lumps or scratches
  • Get the dog more used to handling, which can reduce the stress of visiting the vet
  • Increases the bond between dog and owner
  • Removes dead skin
  • Removes dirt
  • Helps to identify and remove ridges or grass seeds
  • Notice annoying ticks faster
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Shedding less
  • Makes your dog look especially pretty!

How Often Should You Groom Your Dog?

Your dog’s breed is usually a good guide. Long-haired dogs like Yorkshire Terriers or Bearded Collies need to be brushed daily to avoid painful matting. Breeds with shorter coats can get away with just one brush a week. Nail cutting and bathing are more “on-demand” activities. Be aware, however, that overgrown nails cause infection and can interfere with your dog’s walking. So check them regularly.

How to groom a dog

Cut nails

Cutting nails is not a common activity among dog owners. Your dog’s nails will naturally shorten from friction while walking, especially on sidewalks and other hard surfaces. Some dogs have their nails cut when they visit the vet or when they come to the snow groomers. If your pet needs regular cuts and you want to try them out, get some advice first. Ask a veterinarian or vet nurse to show you how to check the length of your dog’s nails and cut them off without getting caught and bleeding quickly.

Make sure you use dog clippers as their nails are much thicker than ours. Using something blunt can cause painful cracks. If your dog has clear/white nails you should be able to see the quickness of the nail, which will be pink. Do not cut the nail too close as catching the snap is very painful and causes profuse bleeding. You cannot see the quick on dogs with dark nails, so you should only trim the nails in line with the surface of their padding. However, there are many differences in fast length between individuals. So be careful as they can be quite long in some pets.

Holding the paw gently, keep the clipper parallel to the nail and have a treat ready to reward your dog’s good behavior. Regardless of the nail color, you only cut off small parts at a time. Otherwise, if your pet suddenly moves, you could accidentally remove a large piece of nail.

If an accident happens while you are cutting your nails, apply pressure with a clean bandage whenever possible and your pet will allow it. If the bleeding doesn’t stop after five minutes, contact a veterinarian. Your pet may need an appointment to see if treatment is needed.

If you notice a cracked or broken nail, do not try to cut it yourself as it will be extremely painful. However, these should not be left behind as this can lead to infection or become entangled and ripped. Your pet will need an appointment with the vet and it is best not to pre-feed them in case they need to be sedated for treatment.

Fur brushes

When brushing your dog’s hair, you avoid fur matting and reduce dandruff. Your vet may have a range of dog brushes and combs in stock, or you can visit your local pet store. You’ll likely see a wide variety of choices, including rubber brushes, grooming gloves, and smoother brushes. Choose the one that’s right for your dog’s coat and ask for advice when in doubt. Don’t forget to untangle any knots when planning to give your dog a bath, as shampooing will often make the mats worse.

Brush teeth

There are special dog toothbrushes and toothpaste that help keep teeth clean and gums healthy. Knowing how to groom your dog’s teeth is one of the most important parts of learning how to groom a dog. Start slowly and systematically, and indulge yourself to reward your good behavior. You can start by using the toothbrush on its own and without toothpaste, as this will help your dog get used to the feeling of having their teeth brushed. However, other pets enjoy the taste of the special dog toothpaste as it is often meaty! You should never use human toothpaste as it may contain xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs. If your dog does not tolerate brushing their teeth, you are not at risk of nipping them. You can speak to your veterinarian for tips or other dental care alternatives.

Labrador bathes

Bath time

Not all dogs like baths and they won’t need one too often. However, if your job is to clean up a dog that has just spent the time of its life in the mud or fox, here are some helpful tips. Before you soak your dog in the bathtub, make sure you have everything you need close by, from dog shampoo to brushes and towels. Get your dog’s fur knot-free before getting it wet. And wherever you want to bathe your dog, the sink, or the bathtub, put a towel or rubber mat on the floor to give your dog a surface to grab onto. If your dog has sensitive skin, they may need a special shampoo that will minimize skin irritation. If your dog develops a rash or itchiness after bathing, contact a veterinarian.

Brush your ears

Cleaning the ears is not required for most people and, if done incorrectly, can cause problems and infections. However, if your dog has an ear condition, a veterinarian may recommend regular cleaning to keep reoccurrences at bay. You will need cotton pads, an ear cleaner, a towel, and, if possible, the second pair of hands. Put a few drops of ear cleaner in the ear canal, massage the base of the ear to make sure the solution is evenly distributed inside, and then wipe the outside surface of the ears with the cotton ball. Use a different pad for each ear to prevent the spread of bacteria. Never put anything in your ear, e.g. B. an earbud, as this can cause damage and inflammation, especially if your dog suddenly moves his head. For step-by-step instructions, check out our handy article on cleaning a dog’s ears.

If your dog is still a puppy, see our puppy care article for more advice. And since grooming is a great opportunity to give your dog a general health check-up, here is a checklist of things to look out for while bathing or combing your dog.

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