Grooming a dog means keeping them clean, which we can all appreciate, but it also means keeping them healthier. A groomed dog has less of a chance of skin irritations or infections, and as you groom, you can check your pet for any possible issues. Take a look at these helpful grooming tips.
Healthy Food, Healthy Fur
The starting point for your dog's beautiful, shiny coat is their diet. You want to be sure to feed your dog a good, quality food. It should have a good amount of protein and a balance of vitamins and minerals. Find out what to look for in a dog food. You can also give your dog Omega-3 fatty acids, or fish oil supplements, to promote a shiny coat.
Be careful if you're feeding your dog raw food, because it can contain salmonella. Make sure your dog has fresh water whenever they want it, too.
Brushing Your Dog
Once you’ve got your dog covered on the inside, you can groom the outside. It’s a good idea to brush your dog frequently. Some experts recommend brushing your dog three times a week but it won’t hurt to do it every day. This is a good way to interact with your dog -- it makes your dog feel good and helps to remove dead hair and skin at the same time. It is important to always brush along the lay of the fur.
There are a few different brushes you can use:
A wire pin brush is best for medium to long hair dogs. You want to be sure not to push too hard, so you won't scratch your dog’s skin.
A slicker brush is recommended for removing mats and tangles. To tackle the mats and tangles, hold the brush close to the skin, insert the end tooth of the brush into the mat, and work it loose. If you are unable to work the mat loose, you may want to consider cutting it out. Once the mat is free, you can comb down to the skin.
The bristle brush can be used last, after the other brushes. It is the only brush you want to use for your short hair dog. This brush is also great for dogs with sensitive skin and helps make the coat nice and shiny.
Tips for Bath Time
Once your dog is brushed, it’s time for the bath. You'll want to bathe your dog around every two weeks to once a month. The best place to give your dog a bath is outdoors in warm weather. You never want to use human shampoo as it may make your dog’s skin dry and irritated. Use a mild dog shampoo. Start by washing the dog’s body and legs thoroughly. When you wash the dog's head, be careful not to get soap in the eyes, ears, or nose. Leave the soap on for three or four minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
If you choose to blow dry your dog, use a low heat setting, though dogs tend to be afraid of loud noises and may not like the blow dryer. If your dog is one of these, towel-dry your dog by blotting and pressing a towel against their coat. You'll also want to dry their paws. When you are done drying, brush your dog one last time.
Be aware that you don’t want to bathe your dog too much, as this will dry out your dog’s skin and it can make it itchy and irritated.
Don't Forget: Teeth, Ears, and Nails
Finally, you'll want to be sure to clean your dog’s teeth and ears and clip their nails. For their ears, wipe out any excess ear wax or dust gently with a clean cloth or cotton balls. The ears should be cleaned once a week to avoid infections. A dog’s teeth can be brushed with a small toothbrush with soft bristles. Use toothpaste made specifically for dogs and brush back to front, then rinse.
Trimming dog’s nails can be a bit tricky. You have to be sure not to cut the dog’s nails quick or injure them. The quick is easy to see in light colored nails, but can be harder to see in dogs with black nails. Use a Trimmer/Dremel tool or clippers, and take off only a small bit. You can ask your vet or a groomer to show you how if you're unsure.
More on Grooming Dogs
How to Clip a Golden Retriever for Less Shedding
Grooming a German Shepherd Dog
How to Groom a Long-Haired Chihuahua