There is a special sense of satisfaction felt when you pick up your furry friend from the groomer with every hair in place. Your companion never seems to feel better than after a grooming session. You can keep your pooch looking great right at home with some routine maintenance and keep that feeling going throughout the year. Here are four tips to help you do just that.
Brushing and Bathing
Each pup requires brushes that are best suited to their type of coat. Short fur does well with a shedding blade to help get rid of dead skin and excess fur. Thick double coats do well with a bristle brush to get through tangles and keep matting down to a minimum. Long hair could use a metal-pin slicker brush for detangling followed by combing. Regular brushing, at least once a week, helps keep the undercoat clean, gets the natural oils to spread over the body, and reduces tangles. This is also your best chance to inspect for parasites and injuries.
Following brushing and combing, you can bathe your dog. For good health, most dogs only need a bath once every three weeks, unless necessary. Frequent bathing can strip away essential natural body oils leaving the skin vulnerable.
Shampoos should be formulated for dogs, not humans, as their skin is actually more sensitive than ours is. The acidic pH level for humans is between 4.0 and 5.5 whereas the normal pH range for a dog’s dermal layer is between 6.2 and 7.4.
Natural products are a safe bet. Brands containing aloe vera, tea tree oil and colloidal oatmeal are soothing. Monitor your choices to see how the skin accepts the contents. If you see redness or signs of irritation, it’s best to try another product. If you’re unsure what kind of shampoo to use, ask your pup’s vet for recommendations.
Monitoring Skin Condition
After bath time is the perfect opportunity to address your dog’s skin issues, if any. Dogs are subject to infections, parasites, metabolic conditions, allergies, irritation, stress, boredom, ringworm, mange, and more. You may first notice a skin condition if your pup is nibbling at or scratching its body, especially the groin, “underarm” area, and paws.
Be aware that licking and biting can become irresistible habits without any visible cause. Monitor your dog’s behaviors and examine the skin so you can act sooner to avoid a syndrome and infection. Always consult your veterinarian if you are not sure what method of remedy to pursue or you are unsure of the skin condition. With proper diet and regular maintenance, there is no reason your dog can’t be free of irritating skin conditions.
Trimming the Coat
For both your ease and your dog’s comfort, you might need to have a few tools to do some at-home grooming. A table is most helpful since it gets the dog off the ground. If you must stoop to trim, you are not going to have much fun. If you can stand up for your comfort, the job will be so much easier. Cut in the direction of the coat growth for a natural appearance. A comb, a brush, a detangling tool for hair clumps, and scissors should be part of your grooming tools as well as nail clippers, a nail file or rotary trimmers to keep the nails trimmed.
When grooming your dog’s fur, keep the time of year and your dog’s breed in mind. Shaving some breeds might be appropriate during warmer months while letting the fur grow out might be best to keep your pup toasty warm in winter. Dogs with double coats should never be shaved, regardless of weather. They need to have their winter coat brushed and blown out to truly cool them down. If you’re unsure how your dog’s coat should be cared for, take them to a groomer with plenty of experience.
Dedicate a Grooming Space
Establishing a grooming routine early will help anchor the time with your dog as a happy experience. Establish a space where you routinely groom your dog. Ensure this space is one that has everything you need to provide a comforting experience for your dog. If you are patient, your dog is less likely to become anxious. There is no reason your dog cannot look forward to grooming as much as he or she does when it comes time to go for a walk.
Having a dedicated grooming space can help you ensure you’re prepared for the job. Dedicated dog showers can be installed by a professional plumber so your chore is much more convenient with the appropriate drains, faucets, and more.
If you prepare yourself with the proper knowledge, a designated grooming area or station, and make the experience enjoyable, both you and your pup will look forward to routine grooming tasks. If you have the tools at the ready, grooming will be simple. Happy results and plenty of training treats will transform this time into a bonding experience.