Every dog owner must learn how to groom their dogs. A dirty, smelling, or unhygienic dog is just a BIG NO. Not only because they don’t look clean enough but also because it will raise certain health issues in the dogs too. Dog grooming is not easy and we get it, it takes a lot of time and effort on your part. But a nasty smelling dog isn’t what you need at the end of the day.
With your routine, you can easily manage the dog grooming schedule at the weekends and besides the grooming doesn’t have to be a regular one. You can do this at regular intervals by weeks.
Beginners Dog Grooming Tips
So are you scared for your first dog grooming lesson? Don’t be. You just need the right equipment and need to remember a few things to process it through.
You need to remember that according to the dog breed and size you need to groom him, find the right equipment to do so. So you will need the following items;
- A comb. Use a medium-toothed comb. It can be used on all dog types. If your dog has thick hairs use a wide-toothed comb. Also, get a flea comb to remove any tangles in furs and of course the flea.
- Brush. Use an all-purpose sleek brush to groom a dog’s hair. If the hair is short use a curry brush and if the hair is long use a pin brush.
- pH-balanced shampoo and conditioner. Shampoos are easily available in the market. Also, keep old towels on hand
- Toothbrush and toothpaste. Use the oral tools recommended by your vet.
- Dog toenail clippers. Also, keep a styptic powder when you clip nails to stop the bleeding (just in case).
- The otic solution, forceps, and gauze. Commonly found in stores, you will need them to clean the dog’s ears.
- Electric clipper. Use it in case your dog has long fur and is thicker than usual,
Ways to Begin the Dog Grooming
No matter how much your dog may hate the grooming, you need to be consistent. To ease the process you can take one step a day to ensure your dog doesn’t cower from the grooming.
Another thing to remember is to follow a proper dog grooming schedule in sequence.
1. Begin with the Nails
Nail trimming can be one of the tricky parts but it’s best to start with the paws. If your dog has long nails, then it will trouble him in walking or running. Especially if you have a senior dog that suffers from arthritis then your dog will need the nail trim right away to make the movements easier.
Long nails can get curvy and keep poking the paw at all times, yet another reason why you need to begin with the nails. You need to do it at least once a month. Some dogs may need it more than others.
A large dog breed would require less frequent nail trimming because the more the dog walks sidewalks or asphalt the nails will wear down naturally. However, if you have a small dog then they will require more frequent nail trimming like once every two weeks because their walks are shorter too.
Use of Nail Clippers
Using a dog clipper can be a bit difficult if the position of the dog is not favorable. You need to place them in such a manner so that you can turn around the paw and see the underside. Trim should be little by little not all at once.
Use of Grinders
A great way to shorten the length of nails is to use nail grinders. They are less risky and quicker to trim the nails. Grinders are loud so you don’t want your dog to panic because of the loud noise. Use it gradually to make your dog familiar with the sound. Dog grooming at home must be done carefully.
Point to Remember
Dogs have a sensitive vein in their nails. It can easily bleed if you cut the nails too short. In case if the nail trimmings are not frequent the vein can even grow! In such a condition, the nail trim sessions are frequent every week. This will stop the abnormal growth of the vein. The use of grinders is best for this purpose.
2. Continue with Brushing
If not regularly, occasionally a dog needs brushing or combing too. Even if your dog is short-haired or shed a lot of hair, it will help untangle the fur and your dog won’t look like it needs help. Some dogs have longer hair, so the type of brush you use will make dog grooming easier or difficult.
You can easily find brushes and combs according to the type of dog’s fur from metal to plastic to wood combs. For instance
If you have a Boston Terrier or Great Danes then using a rubber curry brush is sufficient. In case you don’t have that option at hand then the standard bristle brush will do the trick too.
Rubber curry brush is also suitable for dogs that shed more hair-like Labs or Pugs, despite their short hair. You can even use a shedding tool to remove the lighter fur or trim it.
Undercoat rakes or a slicker brush is used for dogs with thick and shedding hair like Huskies or German Shepherds. You can also use a slicker brush for dogs with medium hair like Golden Retrievers.
A pin brush and de-matting tool are most usable for dogs with straight hair like Maltese or for dogs with curly hair like a Poodle. You can also use a metal comb for a Poodle or Bichon.
3. Teeth are Next
Dog’s oral hygiene is as important as any other grooming part. If you must know a dog can develop periodontal disease or similar dental disease by the age of 3.
Gum disease is super drastic and to imagine your dog suffering from it? It is a mess at a whole another level. Bad oral hygiene can make your dog’s teeth fall out, cause abscesses or a broken jaw can lead to other severe problems. Bacteria are enough to kill your dog!
Unlike brushing or nail trims, you need to brush your dog’s teeth every day. If your dog is not used to the bristles on his gums, then it is suggested to start slowly. Let the toothbrush hang around their mouth (move it around) so that they can get the feel of the object. They will sniff it and lick it if it has toothpaste on the toothbrush.
Wear gloves while you do the dog grooming. You can even buy special gloves for the purpose as it will keep your hands protected in case your dog bites you. Also, remember to use the toothpaste prescribed by your vet. Human toothpaste is not made for dogs so don’t even think about using one.
Put the toothpaste on your covered fingers and rub it on the dog’s teeth (exterior). Use a fine toothbrush. In case your dog really hates the toothbrush and doesn’t let you do it, a dental spray is the best alternative.
You can also use tooth wipes, although they are of little help in the long run. It’s best to use chew toys that actually promotes oral hygiene.
4. Give a Bath
Oh gosh! It may seem like giving a bath to a toddler. You must make it your aim to give your dog a bath once a week. Even if your dog is short-haired. This is highly reasonable if your dog stays more outdoors. He will be coated in dust and dirt easily. Usually, a dog must be given a bath every 1-3 months.
Although it’s best not to give a bath more than once a month then again it depends on the hygiene condition of the dog too.
You need to use a gentle/mild shampoo and conditional specifically made for dogs. Hypoallergenic shampoos for dogs are also available which is a great choice. Extra bathing can make your dog’s skin and coat dry which is why you need to use a conditional after shampooing too.
Avoid using human shampoos. The ingredients are not for dog’s hair as humans have a different pH level than dogs. Before giving a bath brushes your dog or otherwise, the water will make the tangles worse. Also place a bath mat before the actual bath as dogs don’t like slippery floors either.
Point to Remember
The best way to start giving a bath is from the back and then work your way up towards their heads. This way they will not become jumpy and rather cooperate throughout the bathing. Some dogs even love to get wet so it can be fun too.
5. Clean the Ears
You can clean the ears, once a month. Use an ear cleaner specifically made for dogs alongside the witch hazel on a cotton ball.
A bit of dirt can easily make a home in the dog’s ear. Swiping a cotton ball dipped in the hazel will help remove the impurities from the ear. If it comes out sticky or dirty it means your dog may have developed an ear infection. Infection can make the ear stinky or covered with yeast. If so, then do visit the vet.
You can even use normal saline. Just hold the ear flap upright (but not too tight) and fill the ear canal with the cleaning ointment. Then use a cotton swab to clean it gently.
One of the professional grooming tips you need to follow is to make sure to use flat clipper blades. Scissors or any other sharp objects can cause fear in dogs. So using flat clipper blades will be less of an ordeal for the dog.
What you need to remember is that clipper blades get hot instantly. Attach the comb to keep the blade away from the dog’s body or it will be a hot barking mess under your hands.
Also, use the proper dog grooming clippers in the right direction slowly to avoid any accidents.
Dog grooming requires an artful technique, for some dog owners it comes easy but if you are skeptical about doing most of it on your own like trims then it’s best to get help from a professional groomer.