5 Important Steps to Grooming Your Dog

by Connie on January 12, 2012

Grooming is an essential part of keeping your dog healthy.  A dirty dog is more prone to skin infections and irritation & ear and eye issues. A dirty dog is more likely to have an undetected health problem, because when you give a dog a bath or shower you are giving him or her special attention that can uncover a previously undetected skin irritation, mysterious lumps and bumps, cuts, scratches and bruises. A dog bath or dog shower may be a hectic task to perform if you are unfamiliar with the proper steps to take for a thorough grooming.  There are 5 important parts to properly grooming a dog; brushing and bathing, drying, nail trimming, and eye/ear cleaning.  Following these steps in the order they are listed will give you the best results.

1. Brush and Bathe Your Dog

Before bathing your dog it is important to brush the coat thoroughly to get any tangles out.  Some supplies you will need for bathing include; dog shampoo, dog conditioner, and a dog bathing brush.  Do not use human shampoo/conditioner; it will cause inflamed and dry skin in your dog.  Use the dog bathing brush to wash your dog’s entire body; be careful not to get shampoo in the eyes when getting close to your dog’s head.  Bathing small dogs can easily be done in your bathtub, but for the larger dogs it may be necessary to wash them outdoors.  Portable shower units are available to help with bathing your big dog.

2.  Dry Your Dog’s Coat

A blow dryer can be used to dry your dog’s coat.  While blow drying your dog it is important to place your free hand in front of the blow dryer to make sure that the air isn’t too hot.  Your dog CAN get burns on his skin if you are not careful of the distance you keep from the blow dryer and your dog.  Brushing your dog’s coat while blow drying will help it dry sooner and become smooth.

3.  Clip Hair if Necessary

The reason why bathing is done before clipping the hair is because the clippers usually work a lot better with a clean coat.  The hair will be smoother and untangled, thus making it easier to clip the hair.  Hair clipping is not always necessary, but it is important to keep certain areas short including; in between the toes, around the ears/eyes, and around the rear end.  Overgrown hair in these areas will cause bacteria to grow due to the moist environment.  Keeping these places clean prevents infections and mats from developing.

4.  Trim Your Dog’s Nails

One very important part to grooming your dog includes trimming the nails.  It may be the part that is the most dreaded by pet owners, but it is a necessary thing to do.  Long nails cause discomfort in your dog and it also increases the chance for injury.  Before starting the nail trimming process you will need appropriate size nail clippers and kwik stop.  Nail trimming can be a tricky process, so it is important to do some research on how to properly trim your dog’s nails.  If your dog’s nails bleed you will need to place a sufficient amount of kwik stop to the tip of the nail to stop the bleeding.  If nail trimming is not something you are comfortable with, it is best to get help from a groomer or a veterinary professional.

5.  Clean Eyes and Ears

Even if your dog does not suffer from eye/ear infections, it is important to keep them clean.  Most pet stores and veterinary practices sell special eye liquid and ear rinse.  Gauze is perfect for using in conjunction with the eye and ear solution.  A semi-moist gauze can be used to clean around the eyes.  The same process can be used to clean inside and around the ears.  For really dirty ears, you will need to place a few drops of ear solution into the ear and massage.  After a few seconds, let the dog shake to get all of the liquid out of the ears.  Lastly,  use dry gauze to gently finish cleaning the ears and remove the rest of the ear rinse.

Finding a comfortable spot to groom your dog will make the experience positive.  For bigger dogs, you can use special products to make the grooming process more manageable.  Making the grooming experience as easy as possible will prevent you and your dog from becoming stressed.  For those without the time or experience to groom your own dog, there is always the option to have your pet groomed by a professional.

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