Simple home grooming techniques that will give you a healthier and happier dog

Regularly grooming your dog not only has the added benefit of making him look and smell good; grooming your dog on a regular basis also gives you the opportunity of deepening the bond you have with your pet and for checking his general health.

If you have a puppy, take the time now to help him become accustomed to being groomed. You can do this by simply spending time with your puppy and gently his entire body; examine his tail, paws, ears, and teeth etc. Talk to your puppy in a gentle and positive tone, and have some food treats with you, so as you can reward your puppy for his positive behaviour. If you have an adult dog who is not totally happy with the grooming experience, then go back to the basics, using the plan outlined here.

Although basic grooming procedures are generally the same for all breeds of dogs, the amount of time you will need to devote to grooming your pet and the tools you will use, will depend on the dogs coat quality and it’s length.

Breeds with smooth coats are quite low maintenance, and need only occasional bathing, and brushing. Short coated dogs who have a top coat and a more dense undercoat, for example German Shepherds, will require brushing at least once per day, so as the undercoat does not become matted. Curly coat breeds, for example, the Kerry Blue Terrier, will need to be brushed regularly, along with a bath and coat clipping very couple of months. Breeds that have wiry coats need regular brushing, at lead once per day to prevent matting. The longer coat breeds, such as the Such as Yorkshire Terriers, and Collies, need daily brushing and combing, along with bathing and clipping when needed, in order to keep their coats in good condition.

The tools you will need for grooming will vary depending on your dogs coat, however your dogs grooming kit should include the following:

Natural/organic dog shampoo

You can buy organic dog shampoo from a host of online vendors or large pet supply stores. Using an organic shampoo is much kinder to your dogs skin and fur, as it has the correct ph-balance, and does not contain chemicals, or atrtificial colours or preservative, that can be harmful.

Tweezers

Tick removal implement

Tick removal implements can be purchased from your local pharmacy, however, tweezers work just as well for removing ticks.

Brush, comb and or grooming glove

The brush and comb you choose should be adequate for your dogs coat. For example, for dense coats, use a comb with wider teeth, for smooth coats choose a comb that has closer teeth, alternatively a grooming glove.

Electronic clippers

Nail clippers

A small pair of blunt nosed scissors for clipping away unwanted hair from between your dogs pads, or around the eyes.

Vitamin E oil for cleaning your dogs ears.

Dog toothpaste and toothbrush

Towels for drying your pet following a bath

Organic wipes, for cleaning around your dogs eyes

Now it’s time to begin grooming your dog, so lets begin with the messy part first, bathing.

Bathing

You can do this outside or indoors, depending on the size of your dog. If using the bath, first put down a rubber non slip mat in the bath, so as your pet does not slip around. Put a large cotton ball in each of your dogs ears and place him in the bath.

Begin by covering your dogs entire body with warm water, if you are using a shower, keep the shower head close to the dogs body. Next, add small amounts of your dog shampoo to your dogs body, paying attention to his rectum and genital area, and between his paws. Once you have done this you can rinse your dog thoroughly with warm water.

Towel dry your dog to begin with, then if you wish, use a dryer, however, don’t put the dryer to close to your dogs skin, and don’t point the dryer directly into the dogs ears.

Next, let us look at the general grooming procedure you can make on a more regular basis. To begin with, check your dogs coat for dirt, and parasites such as fleas and ticks. Also check the condition of your dogs skin. When you are happy his skin appears healthy, you can move on to combing his coat.

Combing your dog

Always comb your dogs coat in the direction the hair grows, combing small section at a time. If you encounter a knot in your pets fur, use the first tooth of the comb to gently tease the knot free. Hold the base of the knot as you do this, so as not to cause your dog any pain.

Brushing your dog

The next step is to brush your dogs fur gently, but not so vigorously as you will cause ‘brush burn’. Brush your dogs fur in the opposite direction hair growth. Attend to all areas of the body, ie, body, tail, chest, legs and behind the ears. When doing this part check your dogs paws and between his pads for any lodged seeds from grass, grit and dirt etc. Clean and trim any excess fur.

Having done the hardest work, brushing and combing. The next part to concentrate upon is nail clipping. Most dog owners avoid clipping their dogs nails, many leaving it to their vet, but with a bit of practice, trimming your dogs nails will become a routine procedure.

Cutting your dogs nails

Check to begin with to see if your dogs nails need trimming. Dogs usually wear down their nails by walking on the pavement, however, they still may need a trim every several weeks or so.

To begin with, identify the quick in each nail; the quick is the blood vessel inside the nail. It can be seen quite easily in light coloured nails as a red coloured line, but impossible to see in dark nails. Care must be taken not to cut into the blood vessel, as this will obviously be painful for your dog, and will also cause some bleeding.

Cut the nail in one stroke below the blood vessel. In darker nails, make several vey small cuts. If your not sure how much nail to cut if you have a dog with black nails, less is better than more.

Cleaning your dogs ears

It’s now time to move on to your dogs ears. Wax, dirt and fungus can build up in a dogs, especially in the case of floppy eared breeds. During the grooming process check your dogs ears for signs of wax and dirt etc. Smell inside your dogs ears, a foul odour, could mean your pet has an infection, especially id he has been scratching his ears, or shaking his head a lot. To clean your dogs ears, use a natural cleanser, such as an essential oil blend. You can use the following blend to clean your dogs ears, and keep them free from wax build up and infection.Put a little of the blend on a cotton ball and clean each ear.

Ear cleaning essential oil blend

2 drops Roman Chamomile

2 drops tee tree

4 drops lavender

Mix with 20 mls of Sweet Almond or Jojoba oil. Pour into a dark bottle and keep out of sunlight or in the refrigerator. This will last several moths. Use the blend to clean your dogs ears each time you groom him.

Cleaning your dogs eyes

Finally, let us look at cleaning your dogs eyes. It is important to clean your pets eyes regularly, in most breeds this can be done during the normal grooming session, however, with breeds who’s tear ducts can become blocked easily, cleaning around the eyes will need to be done more regularly.

Check your pets eyes for signs of discharge, especially in the corner of the eye. Use your blunt nose scissors to gently clip away unwanted hair, especially at the corner of each eye. When this is done, gently clean around each eye with a wet cloth or an organic baby wipe. These type of wipes are especially good for cleaning your dogs sensitive areas, such as around the eyes, as they contain no alcohol, or other ingredient that is harmful to the dog.

Job done. The more often you groom your dog, the quicker it will seem to become. Having said this, your dogs physical and emotional well being depends on being kept clean and healthy, so make grooming an extra special and fun time for you and your dog.

Ivan Ojounru has been training dogs in the UK since the late 1908’s. He now lives in France where he continues to train dogs and write about dog related behaviour care and trainig topics. He is passionate about giving dog owners the skills, knowledge and confidence to enable them to train their own dogs successfully. For further information visit http://www.dogtrainingcareadvice.blogspot.com

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