5 Tips For Dog Grooming At Home
If you want to keep your dog clean, the following 5 tips for dog grooming at home can help you accomplish this. Although it’s important to bring your dog to the vet for regular check-ups, you don’t necessarily need to use a professional groomer to keep your dog’s fur shiny and his nails trimmed. Before starting, make sure your dog is comfortable with each part of grooming.
- Make grooming rewarding for your dog. If your dog isn’t used to regular grooming, you’ll need to introduce him to it slowly. Start with short sessions of five to ten minutes, then gradually increase the amount of time. Stay calm, pet your dog frequently as you groom him and give him praise and treats after each session. This helps him form a positive association between grooming and rewards and encouraging him to look forward to it.
Brush your dog’s fur as needed. Brushing helps your dog’s skin and fur stay healthy by getting rid of dirt and other irritants, preventing mats from forming and covering his coat with natural oils. Brush dogs with short and smooth coats, such as dobermans, once a week using a rubber brush first, then a bristle brush for dead fur. For dogs with dense, short fur, like Labrador retrievers, brush once a week using a slicker brush to remove mats, a bristle brush for dead fur and a comb for the tail. Brush dogs with long coats, such as Shih Tzus, daily using a slicker brush for tangles and mats, a bristle brush and a comb. Check your dog’s skin for signs of fleas, such as small, black specks, as you comb or brush him.
Bathe your dog regularly. The average dog needs a bath about every three months, although you can bathe more often if he’s dirty. Only use mild shampoos made specifically for dogs. Brush your dog before each bath then fill the tub with about four inches of lukewarm water. For toy breeds, use less water depending on size. Wet your dog’s fur but be careful not to get water in his ears, nose or eyes. Check his ears for any foul smells or debris. Have your vet or a professional groomer clean his ears if needed. Apply shampoo and rub it in gently then rinse thoroughly. Avoid getting shampoo in your dog’s eyes, ears and nose. Also, shampoo left on the skin can irritate his skin. Use a large towel to dry your dog.
Clip your dog’s nails. Only attempt this if your dog lets you touch his paws. Some dogs don’t like it and might growl or snap. If this is the case with your dog, bring him to a professional groomer or the vet for clippings. You can try to make your dog comfortable by gently massaging his paws and giving him treats if he stays calm. Try this for a couple of weeks before clipping. To clip, first check your dogs paws, including between the toes, for debris. Clip the nail tip at a 45-degree angle right below the quick, or pink area, of the nail if your dog has white nails. If your dog has black nails, do very small clips at a time until you see a black dot in the middle of the nail, which is where the quick starts. Your dog’s nails should be even with his paw pads. If you accidentally cut the quick, use a silver nitrate product to stop the bleeding.
Brush your dog’s teeth. Although your dog should have a professional cleaning at the vet’s, it’s also important for you to keep his teeth and gums clean at home. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste made for dogs. Don’t use human toothpastes or baking soda. First give your dog a taste of the toothpaste to let him get used to it. Then put some toothpaste on your finger and gently massage his upper gums. When he’s comfortable with this, use the toothbrush. Angle it so that the bristles reach under the gumline. Start in the back and work towards the front. Move the brush in small circles. Start with a 30-second brushing session then increase the time as your dog becomes more comfortable.