Grooming your dog on a regular basis is a great way to build your relationship and keep your dog looking good. Here are some tips to help get you started.
SHAMPOO: Use a shampoo specifically for dogs. The pH of their skin is different than people’s and our shampoo can cause dermatitis. If you are in a bind, you can use a mild dish soap like Ivory. It is best to stick with products that are designed for dogs.
CALLOUSES: Some dogs develop callouses on their elbows. Use hemorrhoid cream on them to keep them soft. (Check your labels and keep your dog from licking the cream off.)
PIGMENT DARKENING: Add some kelp or dietary silica to your dog’s diet to help darken the pigment.
NAIL BLEEDING: If you are out of Quik Stop or other styptic powder and sticks, you can use flour, corn starch or softened bar soap to stop the bleeding.
BRUSHING: Brush in the direction the hair grows. Work from a new area into an area that has all ready been brushed. After the entire dog has been brushed you can go over them with a comb. Depending on your dog’s coat, several brushings per week will help maintain a healthy coat. If you need breed specific directions on grooming, try the library, contact your local breed club or talk with your local groomer. For mixed breed dogs, you may need to get several books to cover all the breeds represented by your dog.
BATHING: Regular brushing should cut down on your need to bathe your dog. Every time you bathe your dog you are removing the natural oils from their coat and it takes several weeks for the oils to return to the skin and coat after shampooing. Always use shampoo that is developed for dogs as their pH is different than ours. You will want to brush your dog out before bathing. To protect the ears, place a cotton ball in the ears. To protect the eyes from soap, you can smear on some Vaseline or eye ointment around the outer rims. Be certain to rinse out all of the shampoo and conditioner when you are finished. You dog can be dried with a hair dryer (make sure the setting isn’t too hot) or a specially designed dog blow dryer. In cold weather be sure to wait several hours after bathing before putting your dog outside. There are some great moisture magnet cloths available to help wick moisture off your dog. If you let your dog swim, keep some moisture magnet towels available for after swimming too.
EARS: Check ears weekly. Using an ear powder, remove any hair blocking the ear canal. You can use your thumb and index fingers or a tweezers to pull out the excess hairs. When pulling the hair be sure to use quick movements. Use an ear cleaning solution after removing the excess hair. To clean the ears a cotton ball or cotton swab can be used to remove wax and secretions. If you dog is scratching or rubbing his ears or if they smell foul, the ears need some attention. Always check the ears before and after swimming making certain the ears are dried out after getting out of the water.
EYES: Remove the discharge that gathers in the inner corners of the eyes using a cotton ball soaked in water. There are specially formulated pads to help keep the eyes clean and remove tear staining. You may notice more tear stains on dogs that have seasonal sensitivities.
TEETH : Rub teeth with gauze, cheese cloth or a thin wash cloth soaked in a baking soda solution. Specially formulated toothpaste and cleaners are available for dogs too. Along with daily cleaning you can help maintain healthy teeth by providing chew toys and using hard dog foods.
NAILS : If you can hear your dog clicking over your floors, the toenails are too long. Nails that are too long can cause serious problems for your dog. Long nails are uncomfortable, can cause damage to muscles and tendons, can cause serious injury if the nails catch on something and tear off. Nail clippers and grinders are available for maintaining and caring for dog toenails and with some practice and patience, you and your dog will be pros in no time.
CLIPPING: Long coated breeds may need scissoring or clipping to maintain a neat and healthy appearance. Hair between the pads of the feet should be trimmed on all dogs and especially on dogs living where it snows as ice balls can form in the feet and cause problems. To find the right “look” for your breed find a breed specific book (check your library), breed clubs and your local groomer to help you learn more about maintaining longer coated breeds.
DOG GROOMER: Your dog groomer should be an excellent source of information for you. Remember to take your dog in on a regular basis to make the experience better for your pet. Waiting too long between appointments is harder for your dog and that may be why they are behaving badly at their beauty appointments.
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