Does your dog need a haircut now that the warm weather is here? Dog grooming experts have a lot of great tips and advice to share. Here are some of the best home grooming tips so you can make your dog look like she just came back from the salon, for a fraction of the price.
Your dog’s coat type will determine what kind of tool you’ll need and how often you should brush her. Dogs with short, smooth coats should be brushed once a week with a bristle brush. Dogs with short, dense coats (curly, wavy, and double coats) should be brushed a few times a week with a slicker brush to remove tangles and mats. Finish with a bristle brush to remove loose hair. Dogs with long, silky coats should be brushed several times a week with a slicker brush to remove tangles. Follow with a bristle brush. You can also use a steel comb, a favorite tool of professional groomers.
2. Clipping and trimming
Clipping your dog’s coat with an electric trimmer can be the most intimidating part of the grooming process. Do some research to determine the best type of tool for your dog’s coat. The Wahl pet trimmer site has a great finding aid for this. Tire your dog out with a walk and calm him with some petting before you start. Brush or comb your dog before you use the trimmer. Experts recommend starting with the body, moving on to the paws and tail, and then doing the head and face last. Be firm but gentle.
3. Nail trimming
Active dogs that run around outside a lot should only need a nail trim once a month. Less active dogs may need a trim more often. The use of positive reinforcement and treats can help your dog overcome her fear of nail trimming. If you’re afraid of cutting too close to the quick (the vein running into the nail), pay attention to the texture of the nail before you cut. The quick area will be softer than the end of the nail. Your dog will also let you know with a yelp or growl if you’ve gone too close. Have styptic powder handy in case you cut the quick.
A dog should be bathed every three months or so, although some dogs may require more and some will need less. Brush your dog first to remove loose hair. Put cotton balls in your dog’s ears to prevent water from getting in. Use lukewarm water and dog shampoo, not people shampoo. After towel drying, you can let your dog air dry or use a pet dryer. If you use a human blow dryer, make sure to use the low setting.
5. Tooth brushing
While dogs seldom get cavities, they do get tartar buildup which causes gum disease. Even a once a week tooth brushing can be helpful in avoiding expensive dental treatments at the vet’s office. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs. Never use human toothpaste. You can also make your own toothpaste with baking soda, salt, and water. Wrapping gauze around your finger can substitute for a toothbrush.
6. Ear and eye cleaning
Some dogs with long, heavy coats can benefit from a trimming of excess hair around the ears and eyes. All dogs need an occasional ear and eye cleaning. For the ears, use witch hazel, mineral oil, or olive oil on a cotton ball. Avoid cotton swabs as you should never put anything down the ear canal. Floppy eared dogs may need more frequent cleanings than other dogs. For eyes, including tear stains, use a cotton ball moistened with water. Experts recommend keeping soap away from the eyes.
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