The Basics of Grooming
Grooming your pet can be a positive experience for both you and your dog. It
will keep your dog feeling and looking good and will help build a close and
trusting relationship between the two of you. The amount of grooming that your
dog needs will depend on a variety of factors, such as; length of hair, coat
type and how much he sheds. Some dogs will need to go to a professional groomer
periodically, but in almost all cases there are grooming techniques that can be
done at home. These include bathing, brushing, cleaning teeth and ears, and some
light clipping. Bathing will keep your dog 's coat healthy by removing dead hair
and cleaning his skin. Bathing and brushing will also prevent matting and fleas.
Keeping his ears clean will prevent infection. Brushing your dog's teeth can
lessen bad breath and prevent tooth decay. Before Grooming Begins always ask
your vet or a professional groomer what specific tools or techniques should be
used with your breed of dog. Many breeds require a very different grooming
procedure, such as long-haired breeds verses short-haired breeds.
How often you have to groom your dog will depend on the dog's specific needs.
All dogs can be brushed daily. This only needs to take 5-10 minutes per session
and should be viewed as a pleasant activity that you and your dog share. Bathing
should be don e on an "as needed" basis, which can be judged by the appearance,
odor and the feel of the hair. In many cases you can bathe your dog as
infrequently as twice a year. If he has fleas, ticks or any type of skin
allergies he may need a bath more often. Any between-bath grooming that is
needed will depend on your dog's coat. Longer hair requires more attention.
Sometimes you may need to do some clipping to remove extra hair from around the
eyes, ears and feet, or to remove hair mats. How often you will need to cut your
dog's toenails will depend on how much outdoor exercise he gets, the more he is
outside the less you'll need to clip his nails. The correct length for the nails
is just touching the ground. The frequency of teeth cleaning depends on the
amount of plaque build-up your dog has on his teeth, but can be done as often as
twice a week. Ears should be cleaned once a month to remove dirt and wax.
There are a wide variety of supplies available for grooming, but what you
purchase will depend on how much grooming you plan to do. Most supplies can be
purchased at pet supply stores, grocery stores or through mail order catalogs.
Following is a general list of grooming supplies that you may need:
- Brush (the type will depend on your dog's coat)
- Fine-toothed comb
- Wide-toothed comb
- Scissors (rounded edges are best for safety purposes)
- Nail clippers
- Toothpaste that is specially formulated for dogs
- Shampoo that is specially formulated for dogs (or baby shampoo)
- Flea shampoo (if needed)