How To Groom Your Dog at Home

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Keeping your dog groomed is not only important to his appearance but to his health as well

Regularly grooming your dog can keep him free of parasites

and improve his general appearance as well.  During grooming, you also have the opportunity to check the condition of the dog's skin, eyes, ears, coat, and teeth.  Deciding on how often to groom your dog is up to you, however, it should be at least once a week.  

Brushing can be a pleasant routine for the dog as well as the owner.  You should have a specific place you wish to do the brushing.  A table or chair will suffice.  Lift the dog up onto the table or chair and talk to him.  I reassure that all is well.  It is important that you and your dog remain calm.  Let the dog sniff the tools you will use.  Doing this will allow the dog to associate the tools with a pleasant experience.  
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Tools you will need to brush and groom are comb, brush, nail clippers, and scissors.  

Begin by brushing against the grain (so to speak).  This helps to loosen dead hair and to stimulate the skin.  It is important to have the proper brush.  Short bristles are for short and medium-haired dogs and long bristles are for long-haired dogs.  Use a flannel cloth to bring out the shine in your dog's coat after brushing.  

If your dog is a long-haired dog, some matting of the hair may occur.  Matted hair can occur from burs, food, tar, and other sticky substances.  Matted hair is not only unsightly but can also irritate the dog.  Try combing gently to remove the mat.  If it is too tight or large, you may just need to cut it off.  The fur will grow back in time.  Always use blunt-end scissors to cut.  Matting of the hair can be avoided or lessened with proper and frequent brushing.

If you want to give your dog's coat a trim, it is important to know the specific way according to the breed.  Most short-haired dogs need little or no trimming.  However, longer-haired breeds need frequent trimming to keep a kept appearance.  Except for the occasional trim at home, it may be necessary for you to take your dog to a professional groomer, depending on the breed.  Use blunt scissors or clippers.  Be sure to have your dog relaxed and in a position that is easy for you to use.  It is also important to realize that in the summer months, a shorter cut may do fine, but beware of sunburn if your dog spends any time out of doors.  

Dogs can get overgrown toenails and even ingrown toenails occasionally.  It is wise to start clipping nails during the puppy stage.  This way the dog becomes accustomed to the routine.  Most dogs don't like change and you may have time if the dog doesn't know what to expect.  Get in a comfortable position.  Work quietly and quickly.  While cutting, be careful not to cut to close to the quick.  If you do, there will be some bleeding and some pain for the dog.  If you do have an accident, apply pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding.  

Occasionally, your dog will need a bath.  It is best to use the bathtub to bathe your dog, or if it is warm outside, do it outdoors using the water hose.  If using the bathtub, use warm water.  Gradually wet the dog all over.  Using a dog shampoo, cover the dog, and gently scrub.  Be careful around the dog's eyes, ears, and mouth.  Rinse thoroughly.  It is wise to have newspapers on the floor to catch the dripping water.  Rub the dog down to remove most of the water.  He will dry naturally on his own.

Cleaning your dog's ears is an important part of the grooming routine.  Long-eared dogs have more problems than short-eared.  Check for parasites, scratches, dirt, etc.  For just a routine cleaning you will need some mineral oil and some cotton swabs.  It is advised to restrain the dog in some way before you begin.  Start by dropping a few drops of mineral oil in the dog's ears.  Take the cotton swab and gently stroke the inside of the ear.  Do not enter the ear canal.  Do this until the ear is clean.

Care of the eyes is essential.  When you notice foreign matter in or around your dog's eyes, take a soft cloth and wipe from the outer corner towards the inner corner.  Apply ointment if irritation is present.

Lastly, it is very important to care for your dog's teeth.  After the first year of life, a dog begins to develop tartar.  You can combat this with dog biscuits as well as brushing if your dog allows.  

As you can see, grooming your dog can be a very pleasant and productive part of your life as well as your dog's life.  It is advised that if anything seems amiss while grooming, you should always have it checked out by a licensed veterinarian.



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