Dog Grooming for Beginners
Dog grooming is an important part of your dog’s health. Regular grooming can not only enhance your pet’s comfort level but can also improve his health.
Your grooming kit should include:
- a brush suitable for your dog’s coat
- a grooming comb for removing undercoat and mats
- a pair of grooming scissors
- shampoo (oatmeal if your dog’s skin is red from allergies)
- nail trimmers sized appropriately for your dog
- a toothbrush and canine
- cotton balls
Your dog should be bathed once every month or two. If you don’t bathe enough, your dog’s coat will be dull and often matted. You will see dirt and have black fingers after petting him. However, if you bathe too often, your dog’s coat doesn’t generate natural oils that prevent dry skin.
Brush your dog prior to bathing him to loosen dead skin and dirt. Rinse your pet with warm water, using a spray nozzle, if you have one, or a cup. Avoid using too much water around the face and put cotton balls in your dog’s ears. Apply shampoo, using as little as possible. Start with the head and work toward the tail but avoid applying around the eyes, nose and mouth. Don’t forget the feet, rectum and under the chin. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a towel or hair dryer on cool or warm setting (not hot).
It’s often best to trim your dog’s nails after a bath because they are softer and, thus, easier to cut. You should trim his nails once a month.
To trim your dog’s nails, hold the nail firmly at its base and trim only little bits at a time. Stop at the point where the nail begins to curve downward or when you see black or pink tissue. Use treats to make it a more positive experience. If this process stresses him out, do only one nail a day or only one foot a day. Move at your dog’s pace.
Properly cleaning your dog’s ears can reduce risk of ear infections, which can cause pain and discomfort as well as lead to permanent hearing loss. You should do this every couple of weeks. If there is any red or black skin or a foul odor, you should consult your veterinarian.
To clean his ears, moisten a cotton ball with warm water, mineral oil or a dog ear cleaner and clean the opening to the canal and flaps. Do not clean into the ear canal.
You should brush your dog’s teeth daily but a minimum of twice per week. There are many brands of canine toothbrushes and toothpastes available. Do not use human toothpaste as it is not healthy for dogs.
Desensitize your dog to teeth brushing by letting them lick the toothbrush and starting them slowly. Hold your dog’s lips up firmly, release and then give a treat. Once your dog will tolerate handling, add the toothbrush.
Grooming is more fun if you and your pet enjoy it, so make sure to use treats and move at your dog’s pace. Since it must be done, do what you can to make it pleasurable for your dog.