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: