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Tips for Cleaning and Grooming Your Dog at Home

Just like humans, dogs require good grooming and cleaning to ensure optimal health and happiness. Without proper grooming, your dog might develop serious health issues that can result in pain and discomfort. Proper grooming is vital for preventing these issues and ensuring that your four-legged family member looks and feels his best.

Grooming has several other benefits as well. Regular grooming gives you the chance to examine your dog’s body and spot signs of problems that might otherwise go unnoticed. It can also help to strengthen the bond between you and your canine. How you groom matters, though. Here are a few tips for cleaning and grooming your dog properly at home.

Give Regular (But Not Too Frequent) Baths

Regular baths are important for getting dirt and debris out of your dog’s fur and ensuring that he looks and smells great. Bathing too frequently, however, can strip natural oils from your dog’s fur and lead to dry, itchy skin. Several factors determine how often your dog needs a bath, but the general rule is once every three months.

When bathing your dog, select a gentle shampoo that’s designed for dogs. You can place cotton balls in his ears and mineral drops in his eyes as protective measures. Wet him with warm water and apply the shampoo from the neck back. Once he’s lathered and scrubbed, rinse him with warm water and dry him thoroughly with a towel.

Brush Gently and Trim Fur if Necessary

Brushing regularly helps to keep your dog’s fur clean and neat. It helps to stimulate blood flow, remove dandruff, distribute natural oils, and reduce shedding. The frequency of brushing required depends on your dog’s breed. Long-haired dogs may require daily brushing while short-haired breeds can be brushed a few times a week.

The type of brush you use matters. Select a brush based on your dog’s fur length and texture. As you brush, check for burrs, ticks, matted fur, and cuts on the skin.

If you have a long-haired dog, you may also need to trim his fur. This will help to keep the fur out of his eyes. You can also trim around his ears, legs, and feet to keep him looking neat.

What you feed your dog can also play a role in his coat quality. A high-quality diet such as Ultimate Pet Nutrition can help to ensure that he gets all of the essential vitamins he needs for optimal health, coat and skin included.

Clean Out the Ears

Your dog’s ears should be cleaned at least monthly. If he has folded ears or is prone to ear problems, you should clean them more frequently. Clean only the outer portion of the ear using a cotton ball or washcloth soaked in mineral oil. If you notice redness, swelling, or a yeast-like odor, call your vet to schedule an appointment.

Trim Nails Carefully

Nails that are too long can interfere with your dog’s gait, which can lead to pain or difficulty walking. Long nails are also more prone to breakage, which can also cause pain. Use clippers specifically designed for your dog and avoid getting too close to the quick. If you find it difficult (or impossible) to trim your dog’s nails on your own, your vet or a groomer can do it for you.

Don’t Forget the Teeth

Like humans, dogs can develop oral health problems that can result in pain, infections, and tooth loss. Taking care of his teeth is essential for keeping his teeth and gums strong and healthy.

Use a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for dogs and brush at least a few times a week. You can also provide your dog with chew toys designed for maintaining oral health.

A clean and well-groomed dog doesn’t just look good. When your dog’s fur and body are properly cleaned and groomed, he’s likely to be much happier and healthy as well. When grooming your dog, be sure to remain calm and be gentle, especially if he’s nervous. When you make the grooming experience a calm, pleasant one, both you and your dog will look forward to your sessions.

This blog was contributed by Kevin Gardner. If you would like to submit a blog please email cynthia@newyorkdognanny.com

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