There are several grooming basics that every pet parent, guardian and slave should know and follow. Done regularly, a grooming routine will not only help your dog’s coat shine, but the physical interaction will also help his or her socialization. Regular grooming will help you build and maintain healthy relationships with your pets, and practice gentle leadership skills. Another benefit of grooming is that you may notice a physical change that needs medical attention, something that might not have been obvious if you hadn’t been grooming your pet. If you find any lumps, bumps or soreness, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a check-up.
Some of the pros of brushing include:
- Removes dirt;
- Spreads natural oils;
- Prevents tangles;
- Keeps skin clear;
Brushing your dog’s coat will keep your fur kids looking and feeling fabulous; it will also keep their fur in great condition.
- Use a slicker brush to remove tangles;
- Catch dead hair with a bristle brush;
- Don’t forget the tail!
Begin your grooming session by using the slicker or pin brush to remove dead hair, debris, and tangles. You might need both tools if you have a long-haired breed or if your short-haired pet spent the afternoon playing in the dirt. For tough snarls, hold the tangle at the root and gently brush it out to avoid painful pulling. Smooth the coat with a bristle brush or comb. Give your fur kid a break every few minutes to keep it tolerable.
It is a bit like marmite or oros; your dog either loves or hates being bathed! It is recommended to bath your dog at least every 3 months. After thorough brushing, you’ll want to wash your fur kids. Fill a basin with warm water (check the temperature using your elbow, which is more sensitive than your hand) and place him on a non-skid surface, talking gently and praising him. Slowly pour water over his feet, working your way up to his collar. Do not immerse his head yet; give him time to get used to the sensation. Use specially formulated dog soap (pH7 – such as the Rooibos Chamomile Infused shampoo we supply), and lather his coat.
- Give your pet a good brush before;
- Place a rubber bath mat in the bathtub;
- Do not spray directly in the ears, eyes and nose;
- Create a happy distraction with a floating toy;
Rinse twice to ensure the suds are out. Wash his head last. Most fur kids love a good towelling off. If he’s patient, try using a blow dryer.
Dogs generally don’t like having their paws handled, but it is necessary to make sure the fur between their toes and pads does not become matted—or infected. Begin by picking up each foot and handling the nails. Then, without clipping, hold the clippers near a nail and squeeze the nail as though you are clipping. Look carefully for the quick – where the blood supply ends. You’ll want to avoid cutting into the quick, since it is painful and will bleed. If you ever accidentally cut the quick, don’t panic. Cover the nail end with your styptic powder and put pressure on the nail for 30 seconds, until it stops bleeding. Be gentle and patient with your fur kid in the process. If you start by trimming one nail on each foot daily and rewarding with praise, you will soon have a relaxed, willing animal. Remember to also trim the dewclaws.
If you keep your pets’ nails trimmed, you will protect their feet from long nails that can become caught and break off, causing pain. Long nails can also cause permanent damage to toes by bending them into unnatural positions.
- Remove any matted hair;
- Use scissors to trim fur so that it is level with the foot;
- Next, trim his nails. He won’t enjoy this, but it is necessary to ensure his good health.
Do the following every few weeks:
- Use a “guillotine-style” clipper made for dogs;
Make sure your pets feet are clean beforehand
- Clip each nail at a slight angle, just before the point where it begins to curve;
- Use an emery board to smooth any rough edges.
Trim only the hook of the nail. Never trim into the quick – the live portion of the nail – that can draw blood. Trim the dewclaws – the thumb-like portions on the paws. If allowed to grow, they could curl up and pinch the skin.
You should periodically check your fur kids’ ears. If they are clean and free of debris, then give your fur kids a nice ear rub. During your fur kid’s bath, wash the outside of his or her ears with water. Remove interior wax with an ear-cleaning solution. Warm the bottle in your palms first, and then squirt a dab into the ear canal. Gently massage the base of the ear. Remove dirt or wax with a dry cotton ball. Do not use cotton swabs because they can reach too deeply inside the ear and cause damage.
Some animals are sensitive to the feeling of the cleaner going in, so you might want to start with just a small amount. Be prepared to “wear” some ear cleaner, though, as most animals shake their heads and send it flying.
If the ears are dirty, smell bad or look sore, make an appointment with your veterinarian. The doctor can check for infection or parasites, and can get you started with a cleaning lesson.
If you are not feeding regular raw meaty bones, then dental care must become part of your regular grooming routine. Oral hygiene is an often-overlooked but important factor in your dog’s overall health. If he or she has a toothache or sore gums, he’s dealing with pain and stress that you may not even know about. The good news for dogs is they’re not as prone to cavities as human beings are. But despite the old conventional wisdom that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a humans, dogs can still develop problems like tartar and plaque build-up and gingivitis. But it’s not just bad breath and yellow teeth you have to worry about. As with humans, these canine dental problems can actually lead to life-threatening infections and issues including heart, liver, and kidney disease. Left untreated, bacteria introduced by the problem can enter the bloodstream and affect his heart, kidneys or liver.
If you notice any of these signs of dental problems, then take your dog to the vet:
- Bad breath;
- Change in eating or dog chewing habits;
- Pawing at the face or mouth;
- Excessive drooling;
- Misaligned or missing teeth;
- Discoloured, broken, missing or crooked teeth;
- Red, swollen, painful or bleeding gums.
If your dog can brush his own teeth, you can stop reading this article and start posting the video to YouTube. For the rest of us, we must use a canine toothbrush and a little strategy. The best brush to use is double-headed with the brushes at a 45 degree angle to clean below the gum line. The more often you brush your dog’s teeth, the easier it will become. Your dog might not go for the tooth brushing at first, but hopefully, you can make it a reasonably pleasant experience for both of you. Try and choose a time when your dog has had a decent amount of exercise, so he’s more inclined to sit still for the procedure. Don’t overdo it the first few times. Start slowly and quit if your dog gets agitated, even if you don’t brush the whole mouth. You can increase the time every day as he gets used to it. Also, make sure to speak soothingly and pleasantly during the brushing and reward your dog with a treat afterwards. Before too long, your dog should start looking forward to the event.
This is very important. Do NOT use regular human toothpaste for your dog. Most human toothpastes include fluoride, which is extremely poisonous to dogs. You can find toothpaste formulated for dogs at most good pet stores.
Tips and Facts:
- No matter how big or small your dog is, she has 42 teeth. If she’s one of the toy or short-nosed breeds, those teeth are likely to be crowded, which means greater potential for developing dental problems.
- According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, roughly 80 percent of all dogs over the age of three have some degree of dental disease. This situation, as stated by Dr Tom Lonsdale, is one of the compelling reasons that most fur kids developing all kinds of health issues. According to Dr Lonsdale, fooding raw meaty bones & associated biologically species appropriate diets will help curtail dental disease.
- Dogs’ teeth are awash in bacteria-rich plaque, which, when combined with minerals in the saliva, hardens into tartar (or calculus) that traps even more bacteria. Left unattended, your dog’s gums can become inflamed, resulting in gingivitis and ultimately, periodontal disease.
- Oral bacteria can enter your dog’s bloodstream and cause damage to her heart, liver, kidneys and lungs.
- Most plaque build-up occurs on the cheek side of your dog’s teeth, so when brushing, concentrate your efforts there. And you need to be quick— dogs have limited patience with this kind of personal-hygiene exercise.
When used with supervision, raw bones, special chews, dental bones and toys, and other healthy products that work by scraping off plaque (but not tartar) can also help, although they shouldn’t be relied upon to do the whole job.
Don’t shave double-coated breeds! Some dog breeds, such as Retrievers and Pomeranians, have a double coat (a soft undercoat and a coarser topcoat), which greatly increases shedding as the warmer months approach. You might be tempted to shave your dog, but this beautiful, warm-looking double coat counter-intuitively allows your dog to regulate her body temperature—so don’t shave it! Instead, give your dog a haircut using a longer comb attachment with your clipper or thin your dog’s coat using a de-shedding tool.
- Use a slicker brush and metal comb before and after the haircut to ensure your dog’s coat grows back healthy.
Grooming your pet regularly can be a great bonding experience in addition to ensuring a long and healthy life. With practice and patience, you both might come to enjoy it.