Grooming does not mean that you need to find a parlour that can pamper your precious pup.
Although specialised facilities that cater for grooming, these are not within everyone’s budget and in many cases, you are more than capable of grooming your own dog – all you need is some basic understanding of what is required and how to do it correctly.
For your pet to live a long and healthy life there are some necessities that your pups should undergo on a regular basis to promote your dogs’ cleanliness and health. Just like humans, pets need proper care and attention to ensure that they are free from discomfort, feel great and behave well. Grooming can also reduce risk of eye, ear, skin, teeth, and nail infections, and ensure that your pet is free from pain and disease!
What are some of the basic grooming needs that dogs have?
1. Caring for the ears.
A dog’s ears are just like ours and need to be cleaned of wax build up and to prevent yeast or bacterial infections. Dogs with long, floppy ears are more prone to ear infections and it is recommended to make routine ear cleaning part of your dog-care schedule.
Start by inspecting your dog’s ears carefully before cleaning. Should you see any swelling, redness, unusual heat, or unpleasant smell, or if your dog shows discomfort or pulls away when you touch his ears, have your veterinarian check for an infection – do not put off medical treatment as infections can lead to small ulcers in the ear, bleeding and in some cases loss of hearing.
An easy homemade remedy for cleaning your dog’s ears is a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water – with many groomers and pet owners swearing by it! To make the solution, mix 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar to 2/3 cup of lukewarm water. We a cotton ball or soft cloth with the solution and wipe the visible part of the inside of your dog’s ear.
2. Caring for the eyes.
Your pet’s eyes should always be clear and bright – it is important to observe your pet’s eyes, so you can catch any problem early and prevent it. Eye discharge can be a common occurrence in dogs, especially with certain breed. In most cases the culprit is eye irritation and can this can also lead to tear stains. Keep the fur around the eyes trimmed and gently clean the corners of the eyes with a paper towel / cotton ball moistened with warm water. You can also use a dog eye wash to keep your dog eyes clean and hydrated.
Never use soap or shampoo near your dog’s eyes because this may cause irritation—or even damage your pups eye.
In case you notice any abnormal discharge, consult your vet immediately.
3. Caring for the teeth.
Dogs are luckily not as prone to cavities as humans although they can still develop problems like tartar and plaque build-up as well as gingivitis.
There are several ways to make teeth cleaning part of your pet-care routine:
– Brush your dog’s teeth with a canine toothbrush and pet toothpaste;
– Feed your pooch dry instead of soft food, which is more likely to get stuck in-between teeth and cause decay
– Many synthetic bones and chew toys are available and especially designed to strengthen your dog’s gums and teeth.
Even with healthy teeth, just like you, your dog should have his teeth checked by a professional at least once a year. Your vet should include a dental examination with a normal check-up. Proper dental care can be a lifesaver. Left untreated canine dental problems can lead to life-threatening infections and issues including heart, liver, and kidney disease.
4. Caring for the nails.
Unless your dog runs around on hard surfaces or is very active outdoors that help keep toenails short, trimming would be required on a regular basis – from once a week to once a month. Nail trimming and grooming are activities that are often feared by both dogs and owners.
A great tip is to get your dog issued to the nail clippers, before actually clipping anything. Hold the clippers near your pup’s feet and nails, while praising and offering your dog treats. This will assist with your dog to associate that there is nothing to fear when the clippers are out! Keep doing this about 10-15 times before you stop.
Tip: Before attempting a trim yourself, ask your veterinarian or a groomer to show you how to trim your pup’s toenails them to the right length.
5. Coat care.
The general condition of your dog’s skin and coat are indicators of general health. Although health and nutrition influence the luster and texture of your pet’s coat from the inside, regular grooming and skin care on the outside will help keep your dog’s coat clean and free of tangles, no matter what type of hair coat he or she has.
All dogs benefit from regular washing and brushing to remove loose hairs and dead skin cells, to keep the coat free of dirt, debris, and external parasites, and to distribute natural skin oils along the hair shafts.
Dogs with long, silky or curly coats require daily brushing to keep their hair from becoming tangled or matted. Dogs with short hair may require less frequent brushing. However, daily brushing of any dog that sheds will reduce the amount of loose hair and pet dander floating around the home, and will also cut down on the amount of hair that the dog swallows during self-grooming with its tongue.
Regardless of the type of hair coat, you should inspect your dog every day to make sure there are no tangles or clumps that have developed under the armpits, in the groin, or behind the ears. If you regularly check your dog’s coat and skin, you will also have a better chance of detecting any unusual lumps, bumps, or areas of sensitivity on your dog’s body at an early stage.
Should you be concerned that your pet is in discomfort of pain, always seek professional medical advice.