Best Grooming Tips For Your Dog’s Health

Your dog has their own ways of keeping themselves clean. Rolling on the ground, licking their coat and chewing at their fur are just some of the ways that they do this. They can’t do it all, though and sometimes need a little help from us humans to ensure they smell their best.

Grooming Tips To improve your Dog’s Health

Grooming your dog shouldn’t just be seen as a luxury or after they’ve been playing in the mud. Properly grooming your dog helps to prevent disease and distress.

Here are some grooming tips to help keep their fur, skin, ears, teeth and nails looking and feeling healthy.

Washing your Dog

We recognize that bathing your dog can be a pain for some dogs, but you should ideally wash them at least once every three months. Some dog breeds may need more regular washes if they spend a lot of time outdoors or have many skin problems, such as with Pugs or Shar Peis – in these breeds, be sure to clean among their folds and thoroughly dry these areas when done. 

Please do not use human products or shampoo to wash your dog. Dog skin is very different from ours; human shampoo can dry out their skin, leaving them open to parasites and other nasties. You can use dog-specific shampoo on your dogs, or shampoo for puppies if you’re bathing a puppy.

We would recommend brushing the fur to remove any excess hair or mats before washing. You should also rinse them thoroughly and check that no shampoo is left behind on the dog when done.

The crucial next step is applying a conditioner to your dog’s coat after shampooing because using shampoo strips the skin and hair of many of their natural oils. Dog conditioners moisturise and retain the moisture on your dog’s coat.

Brushing Tips

dog grooming

It is important to regularly groom your dog with a brush or comb to keep their hair in top condition. Brushing will remove any dirt, distribute oils found naturally within their coat, stop the risk of any matting or tangles. What’s more, brushing is an excellent time for bonding with your dog. 

Each dog breed has different needs for its coat, so it is worth checking that you have the right brush for their needs. Using a pin brush is great for gently removing loose hairs for long-haired dog breeds. Dogs with short coats have hair that doesn’t tangle easily, and a grooming glove will be a good choice for them. The way you brush them and how often will depend on the type of coat they have. 

While brushing, we would also recommend that you take the time to check for any fleas or dirt that may be present. At the same time, you can check for any peculiarities, such as lumps or spots, that may need further advice.

Inspect Fur for Fleas, Lice, or Ticks

It’s not always the most pleasant job to check your dog for fleas and ticks, but it is absolutely necessary. They can be confused with dirt, but a group of tiny black specs can be a sure sign that your dog has a family of fleas that have made themselves at home. 

If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, checking for fleas and ticks is even more essential and allows you to find the problem early on. There is also a variety of flea, tick, and lice preventions that you can use to stop the issue before it starts.

Keep your Dog’s Skin Healthy

Healthy skin on your dog is a sign of overall good health. You can detect if your dog has a skin issue if they begin excessively scratching, licking or chewing their skin. 

Skin issues can be caused by infections, parasites, allergies, stress, or a combination of these. Look out for any redness or inflammation, scaly patches on their face, hair loss, skin discolouration, or rubbing themselves or their face against your furniture etc. 

We would suggest seeing your vet as soon as you notice any abnormalities, as they will be able to identify whether or not there is a legitimate skin problem.

Ear Care for your Dog

While cleaning out your furry friend’s ears, you can use a cotton ball or specific ear cleaner. You should inspect them for any smell, waxy build-up, or redness. You should do this regularly, but especially if your dog has a lot of inner-ear hair. 

As with humans, never insert anything into your dog’s ear canal, as this can cause trauma or infection. Check your dog’s ears regularly for discharge, odour, swelling and other signs of infection.

Fold your dog’s ear gently backwards and wipe away any debris or ear wax that may be visible. Always wipe dirt and wax away from the ear rather than rubbing it into the ear or into the ear canal.

Looking after your Dog’s Nails

dog smiling

Grooming or trimming your dog’s nails is fundamental. Long nails can chip or break, which will cause your dog pain. Surprisingly, long nails can actually lead to arthritis as the nails push the toes into unnatural positions. 

Remember that the longer you leave it, the more difficult trimming their nails will be and can even cause them to bleed. Similarly, cutting them too short can damage blood vessels and veins at the base of the nails. An ideal length for dog nails is one that’s just about to touch the ground when they walk. 

Dog nail trimmers come in various designs; scissors, grinders, pliers, and nail clippersTo keep nails at a healthy length, we would recommend trimming your dog’s nails around once or twice a month. An easy way to keep the nails trimmed is to walk them regularly on pavements or similar surfaces.

Dental Care for Dogs

Brushing your dog’s teeth daily is ideal for puppies, but healthy dogs can manage with three days a week or even once a week. Always lookout for any broken or loose teeth or issues with recessed gums.

Ensuring your dog has a healthy diet and has plenty of chew toys will also make a big difference in ensuring their mouths remain healthy. Persistent bad breath can indicate that your pet has digestive problems or gum disease and should be reviewed by a vet.

As with the shampoo, it is essential to use toothpaste specific for dogs and not to use human toothpaste as this can irritate a dog’s stomach.

Look After Your Dog’s Paws

Dog pads provide cushioning and protect their bones from shock and insulate them from extreme weather. They also preserve their softer tissue when walking on rough ground.

You should check your canine’s feet regularly to ensure they are free of wounds, infections or anything stuck between pads such as gravel, broken glass or any other form of debris.

Different weather conditions need extra care, for example, the bitter cold of the winter can cause chapping or cracking, and the heat of summer can cause blisters or red skin.

FAQs

 It is preferable to groom your dog first, particularly if they have long hair, or their coat is matted. You can also groom your dog first if you want to quickly give them a bath, especially if your dog has no tangles since you brush them frequently.

If your dog has severe anxiety during grooming, you may need to visit a veterinarian for prescribed sedatives such as Benadryl, with the potential to cause drowsiness and lethargy to dogs. For puppies, you may want to start grooming them at a tender age so that as they age, they can endure grooming without the need for sedatives.

It depends on the dog’s breed, type of coat and its condition, age, general health, and level of comfort. For instance, a scared, matted dog would take far longer than a confident, well-kept dog. And an older dog may require more time due to health issues. Generally speaking, it should last 20 minutes to an hour.

It is better to brush your dog’s coat when it is dry because wet hair can worsen fur matting and make them more challenging to remove. After bathing your dog and you wish to brush their hair, wait until their coat is dry.

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