8 Dog Grooming Tips From a Veterinarian
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Grooming is an essential part of caring for your dog, but it is a stressful task for many pet parents and their pooches, especially if your pup would rather grow a long, matted coat than sit still for a bath!
You are not alone - it can be hard to know how to groom your dog or how often you should take your dog to the groomer. Every dog will have their grooming requirements depending on their temperament, coat, activity level, and overall health.
We are here to help keep your pup feeling fresh and looking fabulous with our top tips for grooming your dog.
1. Get Into a Routine
Establishing a grooming routine is key to maintaining your dog's cleanliness and overall well-being. Find a schedule that works for you and make grooming a regular part of your routine. Whether it's a nightly brushing session while watching the news or dedicating a special hour every Sunday morning to pamper your pooch, having a set routine will make it easier for both you and your dog to stay on top of grooming tasks.
2. Brush Your Dog's Coat Regularly
Brushing your dog's coat serves multiple purposes. It helps to remove loose hair, dirt, and debris, while also stimulating healthy skin and hair growth. It's also an excellent opportunity to bond with your pup and get to know their body. While brushing, take the time to check their coat, ears, eyes, and skin for any abnormalities or changes that may require attention.
The frequency of brushing depends on your dog's coat type and their tendency to roll in mud or get dirty. It's generally easier to do a little brushing more often than to tackle tangled clumps that have been left unattended for weeks.
3. Don’t Bathe Your Dog Too Much
After a good brushing, it is time to jump in the tub. It does not need to happen as often as brushing. For most dogs, bathing once a month is plenty. Again, this will depend on your unique situation. However, over-washing is harmful and can strip the good oils from the coat, leading to skin disease. Make sure you use a dog-specific shampoo. Dog skin is thinner and more sensitive than human skin, and human products are too harsh.
4. Trim Your Dog’s Hair Safely
Trimming your dog's coat is often best left to professional groomers, but if you're up for the challenge at home, there are a few things to remember. Invest in good quality pet-specific electric clippers to ensure a smooth and safe trimming experience. Avoid using scissors, as they can easily lead to accidental injuries.
Dog skin is thin and elastic, making it easy to cut too deep, especially if your pup wiggles around. If you're unsure or uncomfortable with the process, it's always better to seek professional assistance.
5. Trim Your Dog’s Nails With Caution
Nail clipping can be a daunting task for many pet parents, especially if your dog has long nails. However, with the right approach, you can make it a manageable and stress-free experience. The key is to train your dog to tolerate having their feet handled from an early age. Use sharp and appropriate nail clippers designed for dogs, and make sure to go slowly and carefully.
Before clipping, look for the line between the soft quick and the excess nail to avoid cutting too far. If you accidentally clip a nail too close, don't panic. Apply gentle pressure to the area until the bleeding stops.
6. Maintain Oral Health
Like us, dogs need regular teeth brushing to maintain oral health. Incorporate teeth brushing into your dog's grooming routine. Use a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste to remove bacteria and debris from their teeth. Follow a gentle brushing technique, and be sure to introduce tooth brushing gradually to help your pup adjust. Regular dental care can help prevent dental diseases and keep your dog's smile shining bright.
7. Make It Fun
Grooming time doesn't have to be a chore! Turn it into a fun activity for your dog by transforming each task into a game. Start by laying the groundwork early, teaching your dog to accept having their paws, nails, ears, tail, and tummy touched. Use plenty of treats and praise to create positive associations with grooming. You can even teach your dog to fetch their brush or jump into the tub as part of the game.
Begin with short sessions and gradually increase the length and complexity over time. With patience and consistency, your playful pup will start looking forward to grooming time as an exciting event!
8. Know When to Outsource
It's perfectly okay if you're not confident or equipped to groom your dog at home. Professional dog groomers can be a great resource to save you time, and money, and maintain your sanity. The frequency of visits to the groomer will depend on your dog's coat type and lifestyle.
As a general guideline, dogs with longer coats may require grooming every 4-6 weeks. However, it's best to consult with your groomer to develop a personalized grooming plan that suits both you and your furry companion.
Grooming your dog can be a rewarding experience when approached with the right mindset and techniques. By making grooming fun, establishing a routine, and using appropriate tools and methods, you can keep your dog clean, healthy, and looking their best. Remember to be patient, consistent, and attentive to your dog's needs throughout the grooming process.
Whether you groom at home or seek professional assistance, the goal is to create a positive and enjoyable grooming experience that strengthens the bond between you and your beloved canine companion. Happy grooming!
Have any additional questions? Chat online with a vet from BetterVet for assistance!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it better to cut a dog's hair when wet or dry?
Unlike when you get your hair cut, trimming your dog's coat when it is dry is best. This makes it easier to shape certain areas or make perfect poodle curls.
How do I keep my dog still when grooming?
Training goes a long way to help your pup sit still for their groom. However, it is also wise to have them restrained to prevent sudden movements. Asking a friend to help is a good idea as they can give praise and hand out treats. Alternatively, use a table and a harness to keep them secure. Never leave your dog alone when on a grooming table.
My dog is terrified of being bathed and groomed. What can I do?
For many shy dogs, grooming time can be the scariest part of the day. The act of being restrained while hearing noisy clippers or running water can be frightening, and for some, the anticipation of having one nail clipped can be too much. If you have tried slow, calm training techniques and your pup is still very anxious, it may be time to enlist the help of a professional groomer or chat with your veterinarian.