Taking care of your beloved canine companion means making sure they eat healthily, get the proper amount of exercise per day, and being groomed regularly. Grooming your dog not only ensures they maintain a lush and beautiful fur, but it can also help improve their immunity from diseases as well as prevent parasite infestation.
Dog grooming is also relatively easy and simple to do. I will be giving you some pointers on how to properly groom your pet like a professional dog groomer as well as essential grooming tools and products that will help optimize your dog/s hygiene.
DIY Tips for Grooming a Dog at Home
How to Brush and Bathe your Dog
Some dog owners tend to jump directly into bathing their dog without proper prep time. This is quite a common mistake to make as I have also done this before learning the importance of brushing your dog first before bathing them.
Brushing your dog thoroughly will help remove excess loose fur from their body. Too many loose hairs actually dampen the effectiveness of the dog shampoo. By removing as much loose hair as possible, we can greatly improve the benefits of the shampoo.
One key aspect of brushing your dog is knowing what brush to use. Dog breeds will have varying levels of fur with some having longer coat while others have shorter.
Combs – This one is ideal for short-haired dogs as it can help easily remove dead and loose hair. It can also help massage their skin and can untangle matted hair.
Bristle Brush – This type of brush also comes in different types. If your dog has long coats it is best to choose a bristle brush that has wider spaced bristles. If your dog has a coarse or rough fur then you need a brush with stiffer bristles.
Wire-Pin Brush – There are two types of wire-pin brush, you have ones that come with a rubber tip on all of the bristles and ones that don’t. Either will do just fine although you might want to get the rubber tip ones if your dog’s skin is sensitive. This type of brush is best used with gods with medium to long thick and curly fur.
Slick Brush – This type of brush has the finest bristles and is a good choice for removing tangles and mats on your dog’s fur.
Brushing your dog to remove excess loose hair is quite simple. I do recommend you first use a detangling grooming spray to help make this process faster and easier. You will want to start at the head and work your way brushing down to their tails using long strokes. Be gentle as to avoid scratching their skin. If you encounter tangles you should gently try to remove it. Don’t forcibly untangle knots on their coat as this can hurt your pet.
Bathing your Dog
You can bathe your dog anywhere you feel is most convenient as long as you make sure that the water is not too cold. Bathing water should be lukewarm as having it too cold will lower the effectiveness of the shampoo.
You can use an ophthalmic ointment to protect their eyes when washing their face. You can also place a cotton ball on their ears to prevent water from entering into their ear canals. Choosing the correct shampoo will boil down to the type of coat your dog has as well as their skin condition. You can ask your veterinarian for the best specific shampoo for your pet. Just remember never to use human shampoo on your dog as it contains harsher chemicals that might upset or cause skin irritations on your dog.
Soak your dog first and start from the neck to the tail. Be thorough when massaging the shampoo to ensure it manages to reach the skin. As for the face, you can use a wet clean cloth with a tiny amount of shampoo. Again, make sure you don’t allow the shampoo to get into the eyes of your dog.
Make sure you clean the groin, armpits, and in between the toes. Wash thoroughly with plain water or use a conditioner to give them a shinier coat.
How to Cut a Dog’s Hair
You can use either a clipper or a traditional scissor when cutting your dog’s hair. It is important to invest in a high-quality clipper. Don’t always go for the cheapest ones as these are usually less reliable. It is important to know where to start cutting through. You should always go for the hind legs and loin area and then move the rest of the body, preferably in the next, then chest, forepaws, and belly (in that order).
You should take your time when cutting your dog’s hair. Don’t move from one spot to another randomly, that’s a good way to make a mess of things. Once you have shortened the length of your dog’s hair you can use an electric razor to make sure everything is evenly cut. Always move the razor on the direction of the coat.
You don’t always need a razor though. If you are strictly using a scissor then just make sure that you cut the fur evenly. This will take longer though. I also advise that you don’t do anything that will excite your dog. Stay calm so that your dog stays calm during this process as well.
How to Safely Shave a Dog
Step1: Getting the Right Tool
The important aspect of shaving your dog is getting the correct equipment for the job. You can’t just use whatever clipper is lying around your home. It must be designed specifically to be used with your pet. You should go to your local pet store to find clippers designed for dogs. Secondly, choose a clipper designed to handle the type of coat your dog has.
Additional tools you will need in regards to clippers will be lubricants to make sure it runs smoothly. You should also get the right type of brush. The guide a listed above will point you in the right direction when choosing the best brush.
When choosing the right clipper there are several factors you will need to consider before making a purchase. For example, is the clipper too loud? Loud clippers might make your dog anxious making it difficult for them to stay put.
You should also think about getting an E comb. This is a clipper accessory that is attached to the head of the clipper and ensures you get an even 1-inch length of hair.
Step 2: Preparation
Bathe your dog first before going through with shaving. This ensures that there will be minimal to no tangles on their fur. Follow the brushing and bathing guideline above and dry their coat thoroughly. This will pretty much ensure you won’t come across any problems in regards to unruly fur during the shave. If you find a tangle or mat even after bathing then you can try and use baby oil to gently untangle and remove these pesky mats.
Step 3: Keeping Them Still
Unless your dog gets easily restless, you can shave them on your own. On the other hand, dogs that do get restless easily will require two persons to conduct the shaving. One to hold and keep them relaxed and the other to perform the shaving.
Sometimes putting a leash on them is enough to keep them still. Just make sure they don’t feel suffocated when using a restraint.
Step 4: Which Parts to Shave First
You should always start shaving those hard to reach areas. Most dog breeds are impatient and will be constantly shuffling around. Getting through the difficult to reach areas first when they are still well-behaved will make things a lot easier during the course of the shaving process.
How to Trim Dog Nails
Trimming your dog’s toenails is another important part of dog grooming. Letting your dog’s nails grow too long might affect their posture and put pressure on their toes. If your dog is quite active then their nails will most likely be naturally filed down.
Trimming your dog’s nails can be quite an ordeal, especially if you introduce it late in their lives. In order to help make this process run smoothly, here are a couple of tips I can give you that should help make trimming your dog’s nails easier and quicker.
- Use the plier-type toenail clipper. It is easier to use, comes (usually) with a guide, and is designed to avoid injuries when trimming dog toenails.
- Clip the nail at a 45-degree angle just below the quick. Take your time and trim a small amount. The clipper guide will considerably help during this process.
- You should stop cutting the nail once you see the white inside the nail that has a black dot in the center. Again, I cannot emphasize the importance of trimming the nails carefully and slowly. Avoid cutting quick on their nails. If you accidentally trimmed the nail too short and it starts to bleed you can use a pinch of cornstarch and press it on the nail to stop the bleeding.
- Check your dog’s toenails every 3 to 4 weeks to see if it needs another trim.
How Often Do You Need to Groom your Dog?
To answer this question, you will need to consider the type of coat your dog has.
- Short-Haired Breeds – These types of dogs will require the occasional grooming. Some short-haired dog breeds can sometimes experience excessive shedding, brushing their coat thoroughly should help during this time. You can also ask a professional dog groomer to do low-shed services on your pet.
- Short-Haired Double-Coated Breeds – These types of dogs will shed a couple of times a year depending on the season. I recommend you groom them at least 4 times a year to make sure you control shedding and prevent their loose hair from spreading all over the place.
- Double-Coated Long-Haired Dogs – This breed of dog also undergoes seasonal shedding. Their long fur requires more maintenance. As such, you will be required to groom them at least 4 times a year as well. They are also more susceptible to hair matting in hard to reach areas. I highly suggest you let a professional remove the mats to prevent yourself from accidentally cutting your dog’s skin.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?
In order to determine how often your dog needs to bathe you will need to ask the following questions:
Is your dog an indoor or outdoor dog?
If you have an indoor dog then you might want to bathe them once a week or twice a month. This should prevent them spreading dirt and grime around the house, on your sofa, and in the bed. The downside here is that this will usually leave your dog with a dry looking coat.
What type of dog breed do you have?
If your dog breed has a coarse coat then they are known to stay cleaner longer compared to dogs with long and soft coats. If your dog has short coarse coat then you can bathe them once or twice a month. Long and soft coated dogs will require a weekly bathe.
Is there anyone in the household who has dog allergies?
If you live with someone who is allergic to dogs then I suggest you bathe and groom your dog as often as possible. This should help lower the amount of dander that builds up in their fur. Bathing your dog once or twice a week should be enough to stop someone’s dog allergies from acting up.
Additional DIY Dog Grooming Tips
Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears and Eyes
You can buy specially formulated eye droppers and ear canal rinse products. Ask your vet what to use when it comes to choosing the right product for cleaning your dog’s eyes and ears. Your dog will also need a hair trim on their ears, you should only let a professional do this.
Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
You will need to buy a specially designed toothbrush for dogs as well as pet toothpaste. I recommend you assist your dog to get used to the sensation of brushing their teeth first. Start by using a clean cloth dabbed in pet toothpaste. Gently rub it on the outside of your dog’s teeth to avoid getting accidentally bitten.
Once your dog is comfortable enough, you can switch to a dog toothbrush. Just remember to be extremely gentle when brushing their teeth. Some dog breeds have sensitive gums that bleed easily.
Dog grooming is an essential part of being a dog owner. While they can groom themselves to some extent, it never hurts to give your canine companion a helping hand. Hopefully, this article has helped you in learning the proper way to groom your dog on your own. Certain cases, as pointed throughout this article, will require a skilled professional help. If you are not that confident in certain aspects of dog grooming don’t shy away from asking for professional help. Remember, a clean dog is a happy dog.