Routine grooming sessions certainly help your dog feel and look its best. But, whether due to time, health, or budget constraints, taking your dog to the groomers isn’t always a feasible option.
So, how do you make sure you give your dog the best care it needs when going to the professionals isn’t possible?
From what we’ve read on DogsCessories, there are a ton of things that you can do at home and ensure that your best friend feels and looks their best.
Here are eight of their best tips.
Depending on your dog’s breed and coat, regular bathing is needed. But before we go further, it’s important not to go overboard with the frequency.
Bathing your dog too frequently can lead to dry, rough, lackluster coats. This is because the shampoo can strip away much-needed oils in your dog’s hair. We recommend bathing your pup once a week or whenever they’re visibly soiled and smelly.
When bathing your dog, place them inside your tub or a large basin. Before getting them wet, cover their ears with clean cotton balls and drop some dog-friendly mineral oil in their eyes to stop them from getting irritated with soapy water.
Saturate your dog’s coat with warm water, starting from their neck all the way to their legs and tail. Using a mild shampoo specifically formulated for dogs, gently scrub the lather into your dog’s skin.
Once done, rinse thoroughly with warm water and allow them to shake off the excess. Take a dry, clean towel and rub vigorously until all the excess water is soaked up. You can blow dry your dog’s coat as needed, making sure it’s at its lowest setting.
Finally, comb or brush away any tangles or falling hair.
2. Cleaning and protecting your dog’s paws
After bathing your dog or in between baths, wipe away any dirt or debris in between your dog’s paws using a clean cloth and warm soapy water.
To prevent cracking and any painful lesions caused by dry paws, make sure to keep your dog’s paws moist and protected with dog-formulated paw balm. These are non-toxic humectant-rich moisturizers that keep moisture in and irritants out.
Paw balms are especially necessary if you live in an area with dry, hot, or wintery climates.
3. Nail trimming
Long nails break off very easily, create painful wounds, cause infection-prone ingrowns, and even interfere with the dog’s gait. These injuries usually call for an expensive and completely preventable trip to the vet.
One way to determine if your dog’s nails need a trim is when they start to make tapping sounds on the floor.
Using a flashlight, shine the light under your dog’s nails to determine where the quick is. Take a clipper specifically designed for dogs and trim only the hook-like ends of the nail. Then, let your dog stand on the floor and see if the nails touch the floor.
If they do, repeat the steps above until they are just a few millimeters above the ground.
4. Ear cleaning
Cleaning your dog’s ears will depend on how much ear wax they produce. Usually, their ears only require cleaning once a month of their ear production is normal.
However, if they produce a ton of wax on a regular basis or are prone to ear infections, once a week is ideal.
Using a damp cloth or mineral oil-soaked cotton bud, limit your cleaning to the outer part of the ear only. Avoid forcing anything too deep inside, as your dog’s ear canal has a right-angled bend that makes foreign objects incredibly difficult to remove.
For some dogs, it may be necessary to pluck some hairs to encourage air circulation. If you’re not sure, ask your vet.
5. Eye cleaning
As we all know, the eyes are quite sensitive to chemicals and foreign objects. To clean your dog’s eyes, simply take a clean, water-soaked cotton ball and gently remove any discharge or debris.
6. Nose cleaning
Before cleaning your dog’s nose, inspect it for any untoward signs of poor health.
A healthy nose is moist and free of any discolored discharge. While it’s normal for your dog’s nose to become dry at certain times in the day (especially after a nap), beyond that could be a sign of dehydration, sunburns, or dry air.
Use your observations to confirm any other symptoms that are consistent with anything more serious.
If you don’t see any, simply address the occasional dry nose with high-quality, dog-friendly balms, cool water, and/or make sure air humidity is within an ideal range.
For dry dirt or debris, simply take a moist cotton ball or cotton bud and gently wipe them away.
7. Hair brushing
Daily brushing can help remove hair fallout and keep your furniture clean and hair-free. For long-haired dogs, regular brushing ensures they don’t develop matted fur and helps you keep track of any ticks that may have made themselves at home on your pup.
Take a pin brush with long, round-ended steel pins for long-haired dogs or a bristle brush for short- to medium-length-haired dogs.
To remove mats and dead hair, slicker brushes are ideal. To polish coats, use rubber curry combs.
Apply enough pressure to get the tips of the comb or brush to massage your dog’s skin to help stimulate blood circulation and gently remove dandruff.
8. Tooth brushing
Never use human toothpaste to clean your dog’s teeth. Most human toothpastes have xylitol, which can be toxic to dogs.
Gently ease your dog into the whole process by massaging your finger into their gums and teeth. Then, slowly add dog-friendly toothpaste to your fingers to get them used to the taste and smell.
Transition into a special toothbrush and gently massage their teeth and gums. Brushing your dog’s teeth three times a week is ideal. However, once they get older, they may need a vet visit to get rid of tartar buildup. You can maintain their teeth using chew toys specifically designed to clean teeth.
And there you have it — the eight best tips from the experts. We hope these will help you keep your dog looking and feeling its best!
Just remember that even with religious at-home grooming, your dog will benefit immensely from special trips to the vet and groomers when needed.