Pet parents all know the familiar struggle of sweeping off sheds of fur from couches and floors. And as messy as it may seem to us, it’s just as uncomfortable for our dogs to have shaggy, matted fur, long nails and stinky breath. A trip to the salon would be a fine solution, but it’s a bit risky given our current situation. Good thing, you can do it yourself at home. Here’s a basic rundown of how to groom our dogs.
Do: Brush your dog regularly
Consider this the first and most frequent step to take. Brushing your dog’s fur will not just untangle it, but will also rid of dirt and small fleas and ticks. This will also prevent the matting of their hair, which may lead to skin irritation if left untreated.
Do: Bathe your dog properly
Some may think that bathing your dog may just be as easy as brushing them down with soap and water, but doing this haphazardly may cause skin problems. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends using lukewarm water with mild shampoo. Also, make sure the soap does not enter their eyes, ears and nose. Once done, pat them dry with a towel, avoiding circular motions as this may lead to knots in their fur.
Don’t: Use scented shampoo
According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), perfumed bath products can irritate a dog’s sensitive skin and nose.
Don’t: Use a blowdryer to dry your dogs
After bath or at any given time, only use a towel to dry off your dogs. A blow dryer may be terrifying for some dogs and it may also cause them to overheat, which can lead to sickness, especially if done immediately after a bath.
Do: Trim their nails
If you can audibly hear a tap, tap, tap when your dogs are walking around, then it’s time to give their nails a trim. There are two types of pet nail clippers: a scissor-type and a guillotine type. Choose which one you’re most comfortable using. Most dogs may resist having their nails clipped, so it’s recommended to wrap them in a towel and keep them close to your body. Cut from the tip to the bottom, avoiding thicker portions close to the skin.
Do: Use a veterinarian-recommended toothpaste
Doggie breath is normal, but one that’s persistent after being left untreated can be a sign of more serious problems. To avoid this, call your local veterinarian and ask for a recommendation. It may be uncomfortable for dogs to have their teeth brushed, so here’s a pro-tip: regularly massage their lips with your finger in a circular motion to make them get used to the feeling. When brushing their teeth, apply this circular motion as well. Repeat two to three times per week or as directed by your veterinarian.
Do: Clean their ears
Sometimes this step gets overlooked, but it may be one of the most vital hygiene activities for dogs. Do not use Q-tips to clean dog ears as this may wound or bruise the skin inside. Instead, use an ear cleaner recommended by a veterinarian. Remember not to use shampoo for their ears as they could cause infection.
Don’t: Rush and do too much
You may not be a licensed pet groomer, but your pet doesn’t have to know that. Maintain a calm and caring demeanor so your dog won’t panic and so you won’t make mistakes. Set a designated time for your pet grooming activities so that you’re not in a rush. PETA also recommends dividing grooming tasks into more frequent but shorter sessions so your dog doesn’t become stressed and restless.
Header photo courtesy of Abbie Love on Unsplash
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