Grooming your dog is not only about making it look its best. Grooming is also an important aspect of their overall health and well-being. It is beneficial to the coat, the skin, and other parts of the body. There are several grooming practices and methods that will keep your pup happy and healthy.
Here are 10 essential dog grooming habits that every pet owner should know.
1. Brush Your Dog’s Coat
Brushing is among the best dog grooming habits for a healthy coat. It ventilates the fur allowing the hair to grow healthy and strong. It also lowers grease levels which can clog pores and cause irritations.
Brush your dog’s coat regularly regardless of the length of its hair. The brush you use depends on your dog’s coat type. Dogs with soft, smooth hair will need a soft bristle brush. Dogs with long coats will require a pin or slicker brush.
2. How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog
The frequency with which you need to bathe your dog varies according to the length of its coat. In general, dogs with short smooth coats and no health problems won’t need baths as often as dogs with longer coats. But regardless of your dog’s fur type, it’s advisable to bathe it at least every two to three months.
Bathing a dog comes with its share of challenges. For best results, coax the dog in with treats. Check the water to make sure it’s a comfortable temperature. Shampoo the dog twice to make sure it’s good and clean.
3. Trim Your Dog’s Nails
It’s important to keep your dog’s nails trimmed. If they are too long, they can tear off and injure your dog. Long nails also make it hard for dogs to walk around comfortably.
Trim your dog’s nails every 3-4 weeks. For best results, firmly but gently place your thumb on the pad of the feet to spread the paw. Clip the tip of the nail straight across.
4. The Importance of Regular Ear Cleaning for Dogs
Regular ear cleaning can help prevent infections and keep your dog’s ears healthy. Use a dog-specific ear cleaner and cotton balls to gently wipe out any wax or debris. Let the dog shake its head. Then use a cotton ball or gauze to gently wipe the cleaner out of the ear. Cleaning is especially essential for dogs that swim often or have pendulous ear flaps. If your dog’s ears are particularly dirty or infected, consult your veterinarian.
5. How to Prevent Tick and Flea Infestations in Dogs
Check your dog for fleas and ticks once a month. Use a comb or brush to examine the coat paying special attention to the abdomen. Fleas are small, brown, and easy to see.
If you detect fleas, you can get rid of them with a simple soap and water bath. Then comb your pet’s hair with a fine tooth comb.
To prevent fleas, use a veterinarian-approved flea and tick preventive medication that is appropriate for your dog’s age, weight, and health status. These medications can come in the form of topical treatments, collars, or oral tablets.
If you are not using regimented flea medicine, spray an apple cider vinegar and water solution on your dog’s coat. The spray will repel fleas so they don’t infest your dog’s fur. You should also limit the amount of time your dog spends outdoors and keep them away from wild and stray animals.
6. Groom Your Dog’s Paws
Your dog’s paws are just as important as the rest of their body. Regularly check their pads for any signs of injury, and trim any hair that’s growing between their toes to prevent matting. You can also use paw balm to keep their pads moisturized and healthy.
While grooming the paw, you should also check it for signs of injury. If you see any wounds, clean them out with an antibacterial ointment. Use tweezers to get out stuck particles, and apply a bandage. Seek veterinary care if necessary.
7. How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth Effectively
Daily dog tooth brushing is ideal. It is understandable that may not be realistic for many dog parents. Brush your dog’s teeth at least twice per week using a toothbrush and toothpaste made especially for dogs. If you can establish a routine of brushing your dog’s teeth daily, it will even be better for him or her; once brushing becomes a part of their daily routine they will expect and enjoy it.
To brush your dog’s teeth, apply a small amount of toothpaste to the toothbrush. Gently raise the lips on the side of its mouth. Then work the brush around paying special attention to the large cheek and canine teeth which tend to have a plaque buildup.
8. Keep Your Dog’s Coat Healthy
In addition to regular grooming, you can keep a dog’s coat healthy by:
- Feeding it a high-protein, high-omega-3 diet
- Using oatmeal baths to treat dry, itchy skin
- Massaging the coat with coconut oil
- Getting your dog daily exercise
- Protecting your dog against fleas and ticks
9. Positive Reinforcement Techniques for Grooming Your Dog
It’s important to make grooming a positive experience for your dog. You can apply positive reinforcement by giving it verbal praise and high-value treats to reward them for good behavior. The idea is to enable and empower the dog to remain still and calm throughout the groom for the best results possible. Take things slowly if they’re nervous or uncomfortable with certain aspects of grooming.
10. Knowing When to Seek Grooming Help
Many dog owners think that only show dogs or dogs with longer coats require professional grooming. But the truth is, all dogs get grooming services every 4-6 weeks. A groomer will detect changes in a dog’s body, skin, and coat to determine if they need special attention.
If you are looking for grooming services for your dog, K9U Chicago is a recommended choice. We offer a wide variety of full-service grooms and a la carte treatments.
Get your dog in for a de-shed treatment, a nail trim, a tooth brushing, an ear cleaning, and more. Our expert staff takes a caring, gentle approach. Your dog will leave our office healthy and feeling like a million bucks.
The importance of pet hygiene and grooming routines should not go unnoticed. Bring your dog into K9U for the services it needs. Our top-notch groomers ensure the very best in your dog’s health.