Regular grooming of your canine friend helps distribute skin oils to give them a shiny coat. It also gives you an opportunity to do a quick health check and notice any early stages of flea or tick infestations and skin irritations, thus ensure your dog is in tip-top condition.
For longer, thicker coats, it’s better to groom your dog everyday, while those with less hair can be groomed weekly. The more frequently you groom their hair, the quicker and easier it is for both of you.
The Importance of dog grooming
Regular brushing not only aerates your dog’s coat to ensure its healthy growth, but it also improves blood circulation. Grooming also controls oil levels as the accumulation of oil in the dog’s coat can lead to blocked pores and consequent sebaceous cysts.
Indoor dogs tend to molt quickly which leads to matting of loose hairs. Regular brushing prevents these loose hairs from forming into heavy wads to eventually drag the skin down and cause soreness and skin problems.
Not only does regular grooming help check your dog for any health problems, but it also helps develop a close physical and mental bond between dog and owner.
Typical grooming kit
There are various tools you need to have to groom your dog. Most important is a grooming brush, which you should choose based on your dog’s coat type.
Find some time every day for your daily grooming routine preferably when your dog is most relaxed and settled and not when he’s in the mood to play. You too have to be relaxed while grooming and not when you are short-tempered and irritable. It’s better to get your dog used to grooming from an early age, and a few treats and loads of praise helps make your grooming session less stressful.
Get all your tools ready in a box or bag so that you needn’t go looking for them when you start the grooming process. Start by checking him for any cuts, grazes, lumps, bumps or skin problems. Check for fleas, ticks, dirty ears and blocked anal glands.
Then go over your dog with a brush or comb which reaches the skin so that it can bring loose hair and dirt to the surface. A rubber comb is enough for dogs with short coats while dogs with a thick undercoat need a slicker brush. End the brushing with a finishing tool like a natural-bristle brush, your hand or a cloth to remove the loose hair and dirt brought to the surface and to distribute the skin’s natural oils.
Now check your dog’s ears for any dirt or buildup in the ears. Wet a cotton ball using your veterinarian recommended ear cleaning product and gently wipe his ears. However do not stick any cotton swab or your finger into his ear canal and if something seems stuck back in the ear, ask your veterinarian to clean the ears.
While it’s better to brush your dog’s teeth every day, even brushing twice a week helps maintain oral health. Use a regular toothbrush and toothpaste meant for dogs. Most of these kinds of toothpaste are beef or chicken flavored which reduces the chances of your dog spitting it out. You can also use a natural vegan toothpaste which doesn’t have any harsh chemicals or additives found in most off the shelf pastes. Just beware not to use toothpaste for humans as it upset your dog’s stomach if they swallow it.
As you need to trim your dog’s nails regularly, ask your groomer or veterinarian to teach you how to do it correctly. Use guillotine-style nail clippers by gently holding the foot and positioning the clipper to cut the nail just below the start of the nail’s curve. Snip the nail off and move onto the next nail. Keep a styptic stick handy to stop any bleeding in case you hit the small vein carrying blood to the nail while cutting the nail too short.
While these six dog grooming tips can help you groom your dog, some dogs will need professional grooming especially those with long coats and busy and active lifestyles. Professional dog groomers will enhance your dog’s coat, use better and more high tech tools and equipment and will spot minor things like hard to spot lumps or fleas which you may miss!