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Dog Grooming Tips


Proper grooming is an important part of pet care. It not only makes a companion animal look better, but contributes to his or her physiological and psychological health. Grooming your dog accomplishes much more than just making your pet's coat look nice and shiny. It will provide you with the opportunity to spend quality time with your dog, combing, brushing, bathing and generally bonding with him.

Brush your pet thoroughly every day. This helps keep his or her hair in good condition by removing dirt, spreading the natural oils throughout the coat, preventing tangles from forming and keeping the skin clean and free from irritation.

It is best to start brushing your pet at an early age, but do not despair if he or she is an older animal. It is possible to train one to enjoy grooming. Proceed slowly, and be sure to use treats and plenty of praise to make the experience fun!

Shaving the coat ... may seem like a solution but is not a good idea.  A dog's coat is insulation which protects against both cold and heat. Shaving the coat also exposes a dog's skin to sunburn!  For short Haircuts ... using a clipper with a snap on comb attachment is a good idea. Cutting just the top coat and not the undercoat leaves nature's protection against sun and heat and delivers manageable style.

Trim your pet's nails about once per month. You'll need a clipper designed specifically for the kind of companion animal you have. Either a scissor- or guillotine-style clipper can be used. You should also purchase a small bottle of blood-clotting powder.

How to Cut Your Pet's Nails

  1. Have your companion animal sit beside you. Then place one of his or her paws in your hand and gently pull it forward. If your pet dislikes being handled this way, slowly accustom him or her to it by offering treats and praise.
  2. Gradually shorten one nail. Be sure to stop before you reach the quick, which is the part of the nail that contains nerves and blood vessels. If you cannot see the quick clearly, stop cutting just behind the point at which the nail begins to curve downward.
  3. If you cut into the quick, do not panic. Put some clotting powder on a moist cotton swab and press it firmly against the nail for several seconds.
  4. Repeat the process until all of your companion animal's nails have been trimmed.
  5. Do not forget to trim the dewclaw, which is located on the inside of each front leg just above the paw. (Some dogs do not have dewclaws.)

Ear care is an important part of grooming. Ear infections can not only be painful, but lead to permanent hearing loss. The signs of a problem with a companion animal's ears include redness, constant scratching, head shaking and odor.

How to Clean Your Pet's Ears

  1. Check your companion animal's ears twice per month. The skin inside and on the flaps should be pale pink. If there is a foul odor and/or any red, brown or black skin, have a veterinarian examine your pet's ears.
  2. Moisten a cotton ball with warm water or a little mineral oil and use it to clean the opening into the canal and the flaps. Do not probe too deeply into the canal.
Companion animals can get cavities and develop periodontal disease, so their teeth should be cleaned with a pet toothpaste at least twice per week. It is best to use a small toothbrush that has soft bristles. Cleanings performed by a veterinarian may also be required.

Bathe your companion animal once every two months or as often as needed. Be sure to brush him or her before each bath in order to get all of the mats out of his or her coat.

How to Bathe Your Pet

  1. Place a rubber mat in your bathtub, or a towel in your sink, for secure footing. Then place a cotton ball in each of your companion animal's ears to prevent water from entering.
  2. Rinse your pet with warm water. Use a spray hose if one is available, but be sure to keep the nozzle very close to your companion animal's body. Never spray him or her in the face.
  3. Apply a shampoo designed especially for pets in small amounts, working from the head to the tail. Be sure to clean the rectum, between the toes, behind the ears and under the chin. Try to avoid getting shampoo in your companion animal's eyes.
  4. Thoroughly rinse your pet with warm water.
  5. Dry your companion animal with a towel and/or hair dryer.

It is important to establish and adhere to a regular schedule of grooming sessions. Schedule these at a convenient time for both you and your dog. A good time to do this is after the dog has been walked, while he is relieved and calm. Select a time when you will not be interrupted and have ample time to do a proper grooming Longhaired dogs should be groomed daily, while shorthaired breeds may require grooming only twice a week. 

You will soon see what frequency your dog requires!

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