The thought of grooming your pet is enough to send many dog owners running to the hills. Whether it’s trying in vain to brush his teeth, keep him still long enough to clip his nails or flooding your house when trying to give him a bath, the prospect of maintaining your dog’s appearance is a daunting one. It’s no wonder that many of us enlist the help of a dog grooming parlour to keep our pets looking good. However, the more adventurous of you may feel like you’re up to the challenge. Here are some handy hints to get you started:
Check out your dog’s ears
It’s important to inspect your dog’s ears when grooming him, as they are susceptible to wax, ear mites and fungal infections. It’s possible that your pet can break blood vessels in his ears when shaking his head to rid himself of the discomfort, which can lead to an ear hematoma.
Clipping his nails
Your dog’s nails should be trimmed every two to three weeks. It’s worth noting that a dog’s nails have a ‘quick’ (nerve endings and a blood supply) that is visible as a dark pink in light coloured nails, but is invisible on darker nails. If you clip your pet’s nails to the quick, it will cause the dog pain and will start bleeding, so it’s best to make a few smaller cuts to prevent doing so. Trimming any hair between the paws can reduce the chances of any foreign objects becoming lodged there. It’s a good idea to start trimming you dog’s nails in puppyhood, so that he gets used to it.
Given a dog’s habit of shaking himself dry when wet, it may be a good idea to bathe him outdoors where possible. Use the mildest dog shampoo that you can find – start with his legs and body, and leave his head until last. Take care not to get any shampoo in his eyes or ears, and make sure that you rinse thoroughly. Dry him by pressing a towel against him, and comb through his coat to make sure there are no tangles. You can blow dry him if you want, but make sure not to direct the hot air into his eyes or ears.
Brushing your pet’s coat is probably the most laborious part of dog grooming. Don’t press too hard with the brush to avoid scraping his skin, and if you encounter a tangle, hold it close to the skin whilst you try to work it loose with the end tooth of your comb. If it’s impossible to untangle it, consider cutting it off using round-edged scissors to spare your pet any pain.