Grooming Your Dog at Home: The Ultimate Guide for Dog Parents
We love them, play with them, and treat them to many delights. But things are not quite right until we groom our furry companions at home. Usually, this can be brushing, bathing, or thoroughly checking their teeth, ears, and eyes. Depending on your canine friend, the task of regular grooming can be pretty straightforward or a bit challenging.
But if you want to show your furry friend some extra love and attention, grooming might be the best option.
And here is a complete guide on how to do it.
The Essence of Home Grooming
Dog grooming can be complicated, especially for first-time dog parents, but it’s essential for dog welfare. The thought of brushing those pointed teeth and clipping the nails could sound daunting. Sure, if the task is beyond your present capabilities, you can always enlist the services of a professional. Some experienced dog parents would rather have a professional groomer skilled in handling dogs. Irrespective of the category you fall into, you can gradually begin to practice the basics of dog grooming at home. Apart from saving your groomer the trouble, doing your dog grooming at home will improve your bond with your pet.
Try getting your dog used to regular brushing teeth, combing hair, and bathing. You must incorporate these activities into your dog's life for the long term. The same applies to puppies, especially since they have to be desensitized by regular touching and handling.
Tips on Different Grooming Activities
So, when it comes to grooming as a dog parent, it's not just about getting the right grooming essentials. It is time-consuming, there are items involved, and you need to prepare your dog. Sure, such things are invaluable, but you also need some pro tips.
Brushing And Combing
Beginning your grooming is usually better done by first brushing your pup. Even for dogs that get regular grooming, combing between sessions is crucial. Not only will this maintain the healthy coat of your dog, but it minimizes shedding, mats, and tangle of hairs from developing too.
Also, brushing and combing help distribute the natural oils surrounding the follicles, reducing the chances of skin dryness. When you brush your dog's fur, identifying any skin conditions or bumps becomes easier.
As initially mentioned, long-haired breeds will require more frequent brushing, preferably each week. But if you have a short-coated pup brushing every other week is just fine. The thing is, you don't have to wait till mats form.
Items You'll Require
Let’s look closely at the items you'll need for your at-home grooming routine. Let's start with the essential supplies. The perfect brush is a must! Several varieties are available online, so you must shop dog brushes as per your dog's needs. Usually, slicker brushes have rows of thin and long pins. Such brushes work best for most breeds.
However, if you're dealing with a softer coated dog, you're better off with a pin brush with rubber-coated tips. Next, the wiry, short coats are better served with a bristle brush. In terms of combs, there are different types, and just like the brush, you need to match your choice with your dog's coat. However, pet travel combs are also another essential grooming item to bring with you when traveling.
How to Start
The name of this game is patience! Always exercise patience when brushing or combing your dog. But first, look at the direction of the hairs along your pup's body and comb in the same direction. You don't want to apply pressure to the hair in areas where it is tangled, as that would be painful.
Instead, tug on your brush or comb gently. If you meet a mat, use a conditioner to soften it and later cut it out. However, for newbies in dog grooming, it's not advisable to take the risk of removing mats by yourself. Bring your pup to a pro and have them deal with mats properly.
Some dogs, much like humans, are not too fond of water. When this is the case with your pups, getting them to bathe becomes a daunting task. If you're wondering how frequently your dog needs to wash, the answer is simple. It depends on its breed, environmental conditions, and coat type.
Nevertheless, for most dogs, once each month is okay. Certain dog breeds have double, smooth, or water-resistance coats. For these types, bathing fewer times is more advisable.
Having figured out the number of times to bathe each month, let's consider some preparatory steps you and your dog should take before getting into the bathtub.
Preparing For a Bath
One of the everyday grooming mistakes among new pet parents is using baby shampoo for bathing the dogs. You want to avoid this in favor of a high-quality dog-safe shampoo, preferably approved by your vet. Next, get your dog to enjoy the feeling of water before it's time to bathe. Then, offer treats for stepping into the bathtub and also offer some words of praise for being a good dog.
But before this, you have to get the following items:
- Bath mat
- Pet shampoo
- Clean towel
Having secured the necessary items, you want to follow up with the following tips:
Contact your professional groomer or veterinarian for some specific tips.
Pay close attention to how your dog responds to the water.
Tips For Properly Bathing Your Dog
Before bathing, ensure that you brush your dog to detangle any mats to prevent them from setting in once the water starts flowing. Also, you want to stuff your dog's ears with cotton balls to protect them from water because you don't want water to enter them. About the water, it's better to get it to be lukewarm instead of hot.
The moment your dog comfortably sits in the tub soaks him through and through with the water. Next, start applying your shampoo slowly with the neck first and proceed to the tail. You can also empty and clean the dog's anal glands if you know the technique.
After your dog is thoroughly washed, make sure you rinse out the shampoo completely. Remember, leaving traces of shampoo in the hair can cause irritation. So show your dog with enough water to rinse the foam and shampoo before throwing a towel on your puppy.
If you have a blow dryer, set it to lower heat and use it to dry your dog quickly. Continue praising your dog and offer treats after the bath for good behavior as you carry out these steps.
Another crucial aspect of dog grooming is the maintenance of proper dental hygiene, and you should never neglect it. Your dog's teeth need daily brushing to prevent periodontal diseases. Failure to practice the required oral hygiene can result in plaque and bacteria build-up in your dog's mouth, usually below the gum line. Some bacteria will make their way into the bloodstream and infect organs like the liver, kidney, and heart.
So, what are the necessary dental care measures for preventing this? Continue reading to find out.
Tips For Grooming Your Canine’s Teeth
If you're dealing with a pup, you want to get them used to brush sooner than later. But adult dogs can equally develop the habit at any point. To begin, smear gauze on your finger and slowly rub it around the front teeth of your pup. Doing this helps them get used to the feeling of someone touching their teeth. This prevents your puppy from freaking out when a real brush comes around.
When you notice the dog is comfortable with the gauze, smear some dog toothpaste on your finger and do the same thing. The next step is to bring in the toothbrush after some time and gently brush the dog's teeth, keeping the toothbrush at an angle of 45⁰. Again, always reward cooperation and obedience with praises and treats. The entire procedure requires patience and persistence, but don't lose sight of the benefits because the efforts are well worth the trouble.
Another alternative is using dental chews to get rid of plaque from your dog's teeth. Crunchy food items like carrots can be helpful in such instances. So let your dog chew on some baby carrots to help scrape away the tartar.
This is another daunting aspect of dog grooming for many dog parents. However, doing this will prevent injuries to your pet and others. Also, longer nails could change the dog's posture. This posture change can result in arthritis. In addition, overgrown nails can become painful to walk on or while playing, not to mention damage to the floor or carpet.
Here too, it's recommended to get a professional to handle nails if you're not experienced or never saw a groomer do it properly. Certain dog breeds require no clipping since their nails wear off. But those who are parents of dogs like Bassets or Daschund will have to clip the nails regularly.
Alright, so time to look at the devices you'll need. You have a couple of options when it comes to dog clippers. For larger dogs that have thick nails, scissor clippers are more suitable. However, the guillotine clippers work best for smaller to medium-sized dogs. But if you're clipping the nails of a pup, a nail grinder is what you need.
How to Clip Dog Nails Properly
Having selected the right clipping tool, you're ready to begin. But first, you need to make your fur-baby used to the feeling of clipping with the proper training. Follow the steps below.
- Offer some treats to begin.
- Start touching the paws and give your dog treats each time you do.
- Repeat this for 15 minutes, and let your pet relax.
- Next, hold the clipper and produce the clipping sound by squeezing it.
- Let your dog see you do this repeatedly.
- When your furry friend settles down at the sight and sound of the clipper, you can begin cutting the nails.
Controlling Ticks and Fleas
Parasites like ticks and fleas can cause your dog many health issues. Their bites are painful, scratchy, and anointing, usually causing swelling or dried skin. Another problem that could arise is anemia due to blood loss or tapeworms when your dog swallows a flea. These tick bites can also transfer sicknesses like anaplasmosis and Lyme disease. Therefore, you need to put preventive measures in place to protect your dog from such parasites.
Protecting Your Dog from Parasites
You need to inspect visually for signs of fleas and ticks constantly. Other symptoms to spot include hair loss, scratching, hotspot, and licking the skin. Once detected, you need to attack indoor places since larvae and eggs thrive in such locations. You also have to take care of outdoor locations where your dog may come into contact with these parasites.
Boric powder and diatomaceous earth (DE) help eliminate fleas. With the right tools, clean every area where your dog sits, plays, or spends time. This includes the beddings which need weekly washing.
Cleaning the outdoors means protecting your backyard and soil by regularly mowing lawns. You can also grow flea-resistant plants like basil plants, lemongrass, and rosemary in your backyard.
To tackle fleas and ticks on the dog, use topical products and dog-safe sprays, in addition to regular bathing. Plus, keeping the fur well-trimmed and shaved also helps.
Trimming And Shaving
These two activities are also part of at-home grooming, but it's okay to go to the groomer on the first few occasions to learn some tips. You need to know that trimming and shaving can be breed-specific. Here are some tips to follow:
- Trimmers and clippers shouldn't be loud since the noise can impact pets.
- Begin by trimming a dense area to understand the best depth better to cut.
- Turn your clipper off often to prevent it from heating up.
- If your pup has tangles, mats, or very long hair, it's recommended to have a professional do the trimming.
So that’s all you need to know to groom your dog from the comfort of your home thoroughly. But don't forget that your dog needs a routine that's fun and hassle-free. So always use the right grooming products, whether shampoos, brushes, or pet hair combs. Before you know it, your dogs will grow to enjoy their grooming routines.
- Himanshu Sapra