Owning a dog comes with many responsibilities, like trips to the vet, daily walks, buying food and treats, and grooming. Depending on the temperament of your pooch and your own availability, giving your dog a bath may be something you put off until it becomes unavoidable. But, regular grooming can keep your dog healthy and happy, not to mention clean. Follow these dog grooming tips for quick and easy maintenance on your pooch.
1. Brush your dog’s hair regularly
At first glance, this dog grooming tip may seem overly picky; however, it’s important to brush your dog’s hair for several reasons. First, it will prevent his hair from becoming tangled and matted, which is actually quite painful for the dog. Second, brushing your dog’s hair is an opportunity for the two of you to bond. If you have a long-haired dog, you’ll want to brush his coat once a week. Short-haired dogs don’t need much brushing at all; brushing once a month will keep your dog looking great.
2. Brush your dog’s teeth if necessary
Some breeds are prone to dental problems – check with your vet to see if yours is. If your dog does have plaque buildup, it’s important to clean it to prevent tooth decay or illness. There are many treats and chew toys on the market designed to strengthen and clean teeth. If you want to do it yourself, pick up a canine toothbrush and some chicken- or beef-flavored toothpaste; human toothpaste is poisonous to dogs. Your dog may not cooperate initially, but should eventually get used to it.
3. Give your dog a bath at least once a month
Regular baths will keep your dog smelling good and free of any dirt, grime or fleas that can get trapped in his fur. To bathe your dog, make sure you have a large enough bathtub, dog shampoo (it’s soap-free) and plenty of towels. Make sure the water is warm but not hot. Massage the shampoo into his hair, being sure to get down to the skin. Then, rinse him off, taking care to avoid putting water in his eyes and ears. Finally, dry him off with a couple of towels, starting at the head. If you’d like, you can then blow dry your pooch, again taking care not to hit his eyes and ears with the jet of warm air.
4. Trim your dog’s nails
If your pet is scratching up your hardwood floors and furniture, it may be time for a trim. Many dog owners are afraid of cutting their dog’s nails because of the veins that run into them. If you trim a nail too short, it hurts the dog and causes bleeding. It’s important to trim just a little bit off. White nails are easier because you can see the vein inside. Black nails are opaque, and therefore much trickier. If you’re uncomfortable trimming the dog’s nails, you can buy a rotary nail file that will gently grind nails down.
5. Clean his ears and eyes
Finally, keep your dog’s ears and eyes clean and free of crusty buildup. Many dogs have tear stains on their faces. When you notice buildup just outside their eyes, remove it with a tissue before it has a chance to harden or stain. Ears, particularly long ones, can also be a place where wax builds up. Regularly check them and use a cotton ball to swab out any odor-causing buildup to help prevent bacterial infections.
6. Look into pet insurance for your dog
Regularly grooming your dog will help keep him or her healthy and happy. If you’re unable or uncomfortable bathing your dog or trimming his nails, you can always take him to a professional groomer. You can further take care of your dog with regular visits to the vet and with pet insurance. Get a quote for pet insurance to help you cover expensive medical bills in the event your dog gets ill or injured.
This is a guest post contributed by Alex Kelly.