Clean, well-groomed fur, trimmed nails, and clear eyes keep your dog looking and—let’s face it—smelling better. And grooming is essential to her health and well-being. To keep your pet looking and feeling her best you need to know basic grooming skills for use between visits to a professional groomer.
TIP! Get your dog used to being touched in sensitive areas by focusing your touch on her ears, tail, and, especially, her paws. A short massage will relax your dog and promote better circulation. It’s important to keep anxiety at bay by restricting initial grooming sessions to no more than five or 10 minutes, and then gradually increasing the duration. Don’t forget to heap on the praise—and definitely offer treats at the end of every grooming session!
TIP! If your dog gets rained on, groom her as soon as you can. You don’t want her hair to become all tangled
Regular brushing removes dirt, prevents tangles, and spreads natural oils through the coat. Without it, a dog’s fur can develop mats, which pull and inflame skin and can be painful to remove. If your dog has a short coat, weekly brushing will do. Restore shine on a smooth, short coat by polishing it with a chamois cloth after brushing. If your pup has short, dense fur that’s prone to matting, first use a slicker brush to remove tangles and then catch dead hair with a bristle brush. Thick, long, or shaggy coats need daily attention. First remove tangles and gently tease out mats with a slicker brush. Then use a bristle brush, making sure to get all the way down to the skin. Try brushing against the lay of the coat to give it a fluffy appearance.
TIP! Before buying supplies, ask a professional groomer if your dog’s coat requires a special type of comb or brush.
Bathing removes bacteria that can cause skin infections. It also keeps Fluffy from smelling so…doggy. The ASPCA recommends bathing a dog every three months or so, more frequently in summer if she spends a lot of time outdoors. Try to accustom her to the process when she’s young; this makes it easier on both of you later. To begin, put a rubber mat in the tub to secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water.
TIP! If your dog is playful and gets fidgety while being bathed, put a favorite floating toy in the tub to keep her occupied.
Using a hand-held shower head (a large plastic pitcher will do) thoroughly wet your pet, taking care not to spray in her ears or eyes. You can put cotton balls in her ears to keep water from getting in; just be sure not to insert them in the ear canal. Lather her up, working the shampoo down to the skin. Use a mild shampoo that’s safe for dogs. After about five minutes, rinse her completely with warm water, again avoiding sensitive areas. Once she’s rinsed, remove her from the tub and towel-dry her. Comb the coat while it’s damp, making sure to get rid of any tangles. If weather permits, you can let her air dry—continuing to rub her with a dry towel to speed up the process. Otherwise, you can use a blow-dryer, drying one area at a time and making sure to carefully monitor the heat.
TIP! If you’re dog is supersensitive, use a hypoallergenic shampoo.