Dog Grooming 101 - A Guide On How To Groom Your Dog
Having a dog involves a certain level of responsibility, and besides training and feeding, you will also need to learn how to groom your dog. Bathing, brushing, cutting his nails and cleaning his ears are mandatory in a dog’s life, and doing it regularly will maintain him healthy and happy.
In order to successfully groom your dog, he needs to be trained to behave during all these procedures. It’s not pleasant to have your dog struggling to get away from any grooming tools, or even from you after you’re done! The secret in dog grooming are without a doubt, treats!
As dogs are food-driven creatures, it’s important to provide them with treats that will really motivate them into doing what’s right!
Bathing Your Dog
If you don’t want to take a monthly trip to the grooming salon, you need to learn how you can bathe your dog at home. It’s not hard, and as long as your dog knows nothing bad is going to happen to him, you won’t have problems.
Bathing is necessary for all dogs, regardless of their breed and size. The only thing that differs is the frequency. While a short-haired dog will be able to go a long time without a bath, a very furry pup, like a Yorkshire Terrier will need to be washed quite often.
In general, a dog should be washed when his coat starts to smell or gets visibly dirty. While bathing your dog helps remove dust and loose hair from your dog’s coat, it can also harm their skin if the shampoo is not appropriate or if he receives a bath too often. Your dog’s skin is covered in natural, healthy oil, creating a barrier that protects his skin from allergens and dust. If that barrier is destroyed by improper shampoo or too many baths, he will become prone to skin conditions.
What You’ll Need
1. A brush or washcloth
In order to fully remove any dust from your dog’s coat, you will need to wash him using a brush or washcloth. Make sure you don’t use a brush that’s too rough on your dog’s skin.
2. Cotton balls
In order to prevent any ear infection, you need to quickly dry your dog’s ears if any water gets inside them. Dog’s ears are very sensitive and you need to be very careful. Additionally, if you’re not sure if your dog will fully listen during a bath, you can insert some cotton balls into his external ears to prevent water from going inside.
You will need an appropriate dog shampoo to wash your dog. You can find all kinds of alternatives online, but you should stick to what your veterinarian recommends for your dog’s breed and hair type. You should never use dish soap or laundry detergent on your dog!
You need to keep in mind the fact that if your dog is suffering from a skin condition, you will need to stick to the bathing schedule your veterinarian recommended with a special dog shampoo. As they are sometimes hard to treat, you need to be consistent.
Without a doubt, you will need to dry your dog after his bath. The best choice is a towel, but if your dog accepts it, you can also use a hair drier set on the minimum level.
After a bath, you will need to reward your dog for being such a good boy, and a treat is a perfect way to do so.
Train Your Dog For Bath Time
In general, dogs won’t be very happy about having to take a bath, but that’s perfectly fine. You can train your dog to accept and even enjoy bath time. If you use the right treats, your pup will be more than happy to jump in the bath tub.
1. Associate bath time with something pleasant
That’s the general rule if you want to teach your dog a new behaviour. You need to make sure that his first contacts with the bathtub are not scary. Don’t force him to go into the water and calmly talk to him. You can lure him in using some treats and he probably won’t resist.
You can start by placing your wet hands on his paws and head and see if he looks stressed. You can use the shower on his legs and slowly go up while talking to him. After every step, you can give him an extra treat to comfort him and create the association.
2. Give him time
Nothing happens overnight and the same stands for training. Stay positive and consistent, and your dog will soon learn there’s nothing for him to worry about. With every session, your dog will be more and more confident, and you will be able to fully wash him.
3. Allow your dog to have fun
Sometimes, owners will try to stop their dogs from having fun in the bath, but you really shouldn’t. If he learns that he can play as you wash him, then he will always be happy to jump into the bathtub. And the same stands for your dog drying himself by shaking. It’s his natural instinct and he may not be comfortable if you try to stop him.
4. Always treat your dog after a bath
Even if he learned to patiently wait for you to wash him, you should still treat him after every bath. This way you can maintain the behaviour and strengthen the association.
Brushing Your Dog
With some breeds, brushing is a must at least once a day, while others can go for about a week without brushing. In order to keep your dog’s fur healthy and shiny, you need to establish a brushing schedule for your dog. It will help remove the loose hair and prevent tangles. Besides, by regularly brushing your dog’s hair, you will also remove the superficial dust, while evenly distributing his healthy skin oils.
One of the most common questions when it comes to dog brushing is how often we should do it. Well, that answer depends a lot on your dog’s breed and daily activities. Daily brushing is recommended for long-haired breeds, as their coats can tangle quite easily. If you have a short-haired dog, like a Pug, you can simply get yourself a grooming glove and remove any excess hair from his coat from time to time.
Even though it may not seem like it, not brushing your dog as required may have a bad impact on his health. As his skin is constantly producing healthy, natural oils, while his hair is constantly growing, any knots in his hair may lead to those oil getting trapped in one place. This can lead to irritations and even infections. In order to keep your dog healthy and avoid any of this, make sure to groom him as required.
At any point, if you have any doubts, you can give your veterinarian a call and he will help you make the best decision.
Trimming Your Dog’s Hair
In general, the only dogs who need to have their haired trimmed are the long-haired breeds, as their coats are growing continuously. For this, if you’re not experienced enough, it would be best to take your dog to a grooming salon.
Dogs like the Havanese or Yorkshire Terrier will need frequent grooming. Besides being very time consuming, you may not be happy with the results. The professionals know exactly how to shape their specific coats.
If you do want to learn though, you can assist your groomer a couple of times until you feel like you’re comfortable with it.
However, if you want your pup to have long and shiny hair, you can only learn how to trim the most important parts, such as around the eyes, the area around their tails, the hair on their paws and around their mouths.
Cutting Your Dog’s Nails
Your dog’s nails need to be trimmed on a regular basis. In general, dogs who spend most of their time on concrete, won’t need their nails trimmed as often as those who walk on soft surfaces. Of course, this is not the only rule. Just like hair, some dogs grow longer nails than others, and this can be because of their breed, diet and genetics. What you can do, is pay attention to them and see when you should cut them.
If your dog’s nails grow too long, they can twist, sometimes hurting him and making it harder to trim. In general, when your dog’s nails start touching the ground, it’s time to cut them!
Your dog’s nails consist of two parts. The quick, which is the spongy part close to your dog’s paw, and the nail itself. When you cut them, you need to pay close attention not to cut into the quick.
What You’ll Need
1. Nail trimmer
It would be best if you chose a guillotine or scissor-like nail trimmer for your dog, as you can surround and cut the whole nail at once, making the process faster.
Goes without saying, but you will need to treat your dog after being so patient while having his nails trimmed! This will create a pleasant association with the action and he won’t be scared of the clipper.
In case you accidentally cut into the quick, you will need to manage the blood. The quick is highly vascularised and will bleed quite a lot.
4. Styptic powder
Using styptic powder on your dog’s nail after cutting into the quick will stop the bleeding and alleviate the pain a little. It’s important to have it on hand!
How To Cut Your Dog’s Nails
1. Make sure your dog is comfortable
Hold your dog’s paw in your hand and keep it steady, but without squeezing too hard. You need to make sure your dog is content and not scared.
2. Start cutting
Using the clipper, start by cutting small parts of your dog’s nail. If you feel like the part you’re cutting is spongy, stop immediately, as you’re cutting into the quick.
3. Stop any bleeding
If you accidentally cut into the quick, you need to stop any bleeding immediately. It’s extremely vascularised and the bleeding will stop very hard on its own. It’s best to use the styptic powder and wait for the wound to close before proceeding to the next one.
Normally, the nail should stop bleeding after five to ten minutes, but if it doesn’t, contact your veterinarian.
After you’re done cutting your dog’s nails, make sure to reward him with a delicious treat. He will feel appreciated and will be more than happy to do it again after two weeks!
Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears
The most common dog diseases are without a doubt, ear infection, and they can have many causes. From not cleaning them enough, to over-cleaning them and allergic reactions. It’s important to pay very close attention to the health of your dog’s ears.
As expected, not all dogs need the same type of ear-cleaning. While some breeds have naturally healthy ears, others need their ears cleaned frequently. In general, the breeds with long ears, such as the Beagle and Basset Hound, as well as the breeds with very hairy ears, such as the Yorkshire Terrier are prone to developing ear infections.
Before starting to clean your dog’s ears, your need to make sure they really need cleaning. The inside of healthy dog ears looks very clean and doesn’t have any specific smell. You can definitely tell if your dog needs to have his ears cleaned. You shouldn’t see any inflammation, hairs or build-up.
If you notice smells or discharge, you should contact your vet and have your dog checked out. In case of an ear infection, he needs to give him proper treatment, depending on what caused the infection.
In order to successfully clean your dog’s ears, you won’t need a lot of supplies. Your veterinarian will recommend a proper ear cleaning solution. Don’t use any alternatives you may find online, and never apply hydrogen peroxide in your dog’s ears. Besides that, you will need some cotton balls and a towel. You should never clean your dog’s ears with Q-tips, as you may push the debris further into the inner ear, causing an infection. If you have a dog with a lot of hair on their outer ears, you will also need a pair of tweezers to pull it out.
Simply apply the solution into your dog’s ears and softly massage them. You will need to let it sit for as long as it’s recommended on the bottle. Every solution is different, and you need to follow the instructions. As soon as you finish massaging, your dog may shake his head, so it would be a good idea to softly wrap the towel around his head to prevent him from spraying the solution everywhere.
Then, you can simply proceed and clean his outer ears with the cotton balls. Make sure you don’t push too deep into his ear! As usual, remember to give him a delicious treat.
Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth
No dog grooming ritual is complete without brushing your dog’s teeth. You need to make sure his teeth are healthy and he’s not building a lot of plaque and tartar. In order to be able to brush your dog’s teeth every time, you need to make sure he’s going to enjoy the process, or at least accept it.
Before you attempt to brush your dog’s teeth, you need a couple of things. First, you need a soft-bristle toothbrush or a gauze wrapped around your finger, as your dog’s gums are very sensitive. Secondly, you should ask your veterinarian to recommend an appropriate toothpaste for your dog. You should never use human toothpaste, salt or any alternatives you may find online because during the process, your dog will swallow it, and the wrong substance can lead to a toxic shock.
In general, you should wash your dog’s teeth every day, just like you wash your own. This can prevent build-up and uncomfortable visits to the veterinarian. It’s important to mention that tartar from your dog’s teeth can only be removed under anaesthesia, as the dog will never patiently wait for the veterinarian to finish the job. Needless to say, if you can avoid it somehow, you should.
In order to brush your dog’s teeth, you should first let him taste a little bit of the dog-safe toothpaste you got him. If he finds it tasty, then he will definitely let you proceed. Next, you will want to put toothpaste on the brush or gauze and lift his upper lip to you can start brushing. It’s important to brush the outside of the teeth first, because your dog may not let you brush the inside too. When you’re done, remember to treat your dog for being such a good boy!
Additionally, you can provide your pup with a chicken-filled bone. They are tasty and your dog will have another delicious way of cleaning his teeth! Our veterinarian recommends that any dog should have a bone to chew on from time to time!
In order to successfully groom your dog, you will need to make sure he understands the process and he’s motivated to go through it. For that, it would be best to get the best treats for him. As we are experts, we know that your dog only deserves the best. For that, you can always get some of our air-dried treats or the classic training treats, to make sure your dog stays motivated and very healthy!
If you ever have any questions during the dog grooming process, you should give your veterinarian a call. It’s best to seek advice from the professionals when it comes to grooming your dog.