It feels great to snuggle your dog when their fur is soft and clean. But, what do you do when your puppy looks shaggy and you are not in any position to take her to the nearest groomer? This is the time you are required to groom your fur baby by yourself.
Many pet parents already groom their dogs at home. Trust me, it’s not a walk in the park. It takes a bit of an effort to make the dog comfortable, calm and still. However, DIY dog grooming helps reduce shedding and deepens your relationship with your dog.
How DIY Dog Grooming Works
For you to successfully groom your dog, he must completely trust you. By this, it means developing a strong foundation before even starting to groom your dog.
It’s important for you to practice dog grooming regularly for your dog to get used to being touched in sensitive spots. Always offer positive rewards like treats when they stay calm when grooming them.
Make sure to stick to a predictable routine that follows a routine of steps. This will allow your dog to reach a position of confidence and comfort. Your dog will always know when you are nervous and this will make them try to escape or even become aggressive.
If your dog shows signs of discomfort before being brushed, don’t force them. Try again when they are calm and comfortable. Always check with your vet if you are using the right brush that is appropriate for their coat.
Tips for Successful DIY Dog Grooming
Just like we keep our bodies clean, comb our hair and brush our teeth, our fur babies need physical maintenance too. Some breeds require more frequent grooming than others. Here are some grooming tips and essentials that are necessary for every dog grooming routine.
1. Hair Brushing and Bathing
Most dogs don’t enjoy bath times. However, bathing is extremely important to keep your fur baby clean and smelling fresh. How often you bathe your dog depends on the fur type, lifestyle and pet’s health.
Hair brushing is important as it helps your dog’s coat to be shiny and healthy. Here are the benefits of regularly brushing your dog.
- It prevents fur tangles
- It helps in spreading natural oils
- Helps remove dirt
- It helps you to know if your dog has flea or tick infestation.
So, how do you brush your dog?
If you have long-haired or medium-haired dogs, they may need frequent grooming to prevent fur tangles. Traditional combs and brushes might not be of great help, and you may need to look for a more specific comb or brush.
On the other hand, short-haired dogs can go for a few weeks without being brushed. However, some shed a lot and may need you to use a de-shedding brush several times a week.
How to Brush and Bathe Your Dog
To begin, you are required to brush your dog a few times a week for a few minutes to create a routine. Use a high-quality metal pin brush, especially for dogs with long hair. This brush goes through the dog’s fur easily and removes a great deal of dirt.
Use a shedding blade for short-haired dogs like Labradors. It helps get the fine hairs off easily. It is important to brush your dog while standing as you will never miss a spot.
Always use dog-friendly shampoo when bathing your dog. Human shampoos do not have the right level of pH to cater for dogs which means your dog’s skin would suffer over time.
2. Teeth Brushing
Always brush your dog’s teeth when they are calm and relaxed. Your goal here should be establishing a routine. Without brushing, your dog can develop plaque build-up which can lead to bad breath, gum diseases or even tooth decay. Your dog also can develop severe infections that can lead to life-threatening conditions.
Brushing your dog’s teeth should be part of your daily routine. About 70% of dogs and cats develop from periodontal dental disease by the time they are two. It is, therefore, important to take dental hygiene and care seriously. Click here to learn how to brush your dog’s teeth effectively.
3. Ear Cleaning
I am sure you have rubbed your dog’s ears once in a while. This is one of the things we do without even realizing it. Rubbing your dog’s ears is one way to know whether their ears are healthy.
If your dog loves to have their ears rubbed, it clearly tells they are healthy. In case they have an infection or injury, they will tend to pull away when touched. Gently messaging your dog’s ears is the first step to tell if their ears are healthy.
Also, your dog can constantly scratch the side of the head when one of the ears is not healthy. Bad odour is another indicator that alerts you to see a vet for an ear check-up.
Dogs with floppy ears are at a higher risk of getting ear infections because their enclosed ear canals create a perfect moist environment for bacterial and yeast growth.
How To Clean Your Dog’s Ears
- Tilt your dog’s head and squirt gently a few drops of ear cleaner (recommended by a vet).
- Before your dog can shake his head, use the dog’s flap to close the ear and massage it gently. Doing this will squish the ear cleaner around and soften any ear debris.
- Step back and let your dog shake. Hold a towel between you and the dog so that you don’t get splattered.
- Wipe the remaining ear cleaner using a clean and dry towel. Never use cotton swabs as they can drive debris deeper in the ear canal.
- Repeat the above steps on the other ear.
- Give your dog a treat after you are done.
Image is courtesy of https://www.thesprucepets.com/
4. Nail Trimming
If you hear your dog’s nails tapping the floor when they are walking, it means they should be trimmed. Did you know that when dog nails tap hard surfaces they are pushed back into their nail beds which is extremely painful? It not only puts pressure on the toes but also makes the toes twist to the side resulting in soreness.
Most dogs go for about one month without nail trims, but this depends on the dog’s lifestyle. You can make the nail cutting process enjoyable and comfortable by letting your dog lick peanut butter off the spoon. Here are steps to follow when trimming your dog’s nails.
Firstly, never use human nail clippers or regular scissors as they will shatter the nail and possibly inflict the dog pain, not to mention leave ragged nails that will catch on fabrics and surfaces.
You’ll need yummy treats to reward good behaviour and some clotting (Styptic) powder to stop the bleeding if you accidentally cut the quick.
When about to cut your dog’s nails you need to sit in a comfortable position, maybe on the floor with the dog on your lap. Make sure you position your body opposite to the nail you are trimming.
Make sure your dog is relaxed by gently patting and massaging them. Always make sure nail trimming time is fun. Having your dog’s favourite treats is a great way to calm them.
Hold your dog’s paws firmly and push on the pads to extend the nail. Locate where the blood supply begins (known as quick), which is usually pink in colour for dogs with clear nails and chalky white rings for dogs with dark nails.
Use a scissors-type nail trimmer to trim your dog nails just below the quick on a 45-degree angle. Make small nips with the clippers instead of making long ones to avoid cutting the quick which can be extremely painful.
Be gentle and take breaks between each paw especially if your dog is new to nail trimming. Reward your dog with treats with each clip.
Avoid cutting the quick (blood vessel), which is a dark spot located in the centre of the nail and can cause some pain if cut. It is easier to spot on white nails but may not always be visible on black nails.
In case you accidentally cut into your dog’s quick, wipe off the blood and use Styptic powder if necessary to stop the bleeding.
Be careful, some dogs get frightened and can bite. If your dog doesn’t like having his nails trimmed, see a professional groomer first. You can desensitise your dog by going back to basics and just handling the feet without trimming for a while.
We hope this article will help you in grooming your dog from home. DIY dog grooming will help you save money and increase the bond between you and your dog. In case you have more questions on DIY dog grooming, make sure to download our PetsForever App on PlayStore and AppStore where our team of vets, animal trainers, veterinary behaviourists, alternative healing providers, and animal communicators will help you answer your questions and concerns.
- How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails at Home: Accessed online April 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sisprxhsc6I
- Tips and Advice on Brushing your Dog. Accessed online April 2021 https://www.fourpaws.com/pets-101/grooming/brushing-your-dog
- Accessed online April 2021 https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/instructions-for-ear-cleaning-in-dogs
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