Quick & Easy
Dog Grooming Guide
by Gary Le Mon

All dogs regardless of coat type or length need grooming on a regular basis. Grooming is very important because it helps keep your dog's coat clean, healthy and manageable by removing dead hair and loosening dander.

If a dog's coat gets neglected, mats can form in the fur and lead to yeast infections. Grooming sessions should include regular brushing, bathing, nail clipping and health checks.

Brushing your dog

Dogs should be brushed at least twice a week, but some dogs may need to be brushed more frequently. The amount of brushing a dog requires depends on the dog's lifestyle and coat type. There are six different types of dog coats and you can purchase a wide variety of brushes to suit each type. It is important to know what kind of coat your dog has before you commence brushing:

Short coated - Jack Russell, German Shepherd, etc. This type of coat should be brushed with a bristle brush that has short, tightly packed bristles.

Smooth coated - Labrador, Shorthaired Dachshund, etc. This is the easiest coat to care for and will stay in good condition when regularly groomed with a soft brush.

Curly coated - Poodle, Kerry Blue Terrier, etc. This type of coat is best suited to a wire pin brush.

Wiry coated - Cairn Terrier, Australian Terrier, etc. A firm pinned slicker brush is ideal for this type of coat.

Long coated - Lhasa Apso, Maltese Terrier, etc. A bristle brush with widely spaced bristles, along with a comb, is ideal for longhaired coats.

Silky coated - Afghan hound, Collie, etc. This is the most difficult coat to maintain, as these coats have a thick undercoat which can mat into the dog's outer hair. Regular brushing with a rake and slicker brush is required to keep this type of coat in good condition.

During moulting your dog may need more frequent brushing to keep its coat in peak condition. Some breeds may also benefit from regular clipping to make their coats more manageable.

Before beginning to brush your dog, find a comfortable place to perform the task. Always start grooming from the head and work your way towards the rear of the dog. As you groom, release any tangles by gently easing the fur apart without pulling or stretching it.

Health checks

Grooming sessions also give you the perfect opportunity to give your dog a thorough health check. You should start by checking over your dog's body for any signs of lumps, bumps, skin irritations, etc. Regular health checks will help you become more accustomed to your dog's body and enable you to notice anything out of the ordinary. Detecting problems early and getting them treated as soon as possible could even save your dog's life.

Eyes

The next thing to check is your dog's eyes. Eyes can be very sensitive and it is important to check both eyes very carefully to ensure that they look clean and bright with no signs of excessive discharge. Some longhaired varieties, however, can be susceptible to watering eyes and this can cause tear stains on the facial hair. If tear stains are not removed regularly, they can become an ideal breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. The best herbal remedy for dog tear staining is Primalix Tidy Tears because it stops dog tear stains at the source.

Ears

Ears also require regular attention and they shouldn't look red, irritated, swollen, damaged, or contain an excessive amount of wax. Both ears should also be free of any unpleasant odour or discharge. You can gently clean the ears with ear cleaning solution and cotton wool, but don't try cleaning too far into the ear as this can cause damage.

Teeth

Dogs, like humans, have problems with plaque, tartar and bacteria, and this should be removed to prevent your dog's teeth from decaying. You can clean your pet's teeth two to three times a week with a dog toothbrush and toothpaste, or alternatively you can buy an effective "brushless" oral care spray or gel which will help remove plaque and tartar, reverse gingivitis, fight cavities, and freshen breath - all without harmful alcohol.

Always inspect your dog's mouth before teeth cleaning to ensure that there are no obvious problems.

Nails

A dog's nails will usually wear down naturally if it is regularly exercised on rough surfaces, but sometimes they don't wear down enough and will require trimming to prevent them from growing too long and causing damage to the feet. You can usually tell when your dog's nails need clipping, as you will be able to hear a clicking sound as it walks around.

Before attempting to clip the nails, make sure that you have a suitable pair of dog nail clippers. Hold your dog's foot firmly and then trim a small amount off the end of each nail. Once you have finished, you may need to give the nails a quick file to make them smoother.

While you are trimming the nails, always try to avoid cutting the quick - this is the vein that runs through the centre of the nail and is actually easier to detect in white nails. If you do accidentally catch the quick, then it is best to dab the end of the nail with some styptic powder. Nails may require clipping once a week, or you may be able to leave it as long as a month between clips.

Bathing your dog

Most dogs will require bathing at some point, but some will obviously need to be bathed more frequently than others - once a month, however, is generally enough for the majority of dogs. You can bath your dog indoors or outdoors, but if you decide to use your bath you will need to put a non-slip mat inside it to prevent your dog from sliding around.

Before placing your dog in the bath, carefully remove its collar. Then gently wet your dog all over using a hand-held shower head, making sure that the water temperature is just right. You can then begin to shampoo your dog all over, starting from the neck and moving downwards. Do the head last and take great care around the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Only use a small amount of shampoo and always use one that is specially formulated for dogs.

After shampooing, thoroughly rinse your dog until all the soap has been removed and then dry gently with a towel. Finish off with a light, refreshing mist of TripleSure Natural Flea & Tick Spray. Longhaired and double-coated dogs may need to be dried with a hairdryer on the cool setting. The hair can be brushed while being dried, but take care not to over dry it as this can dry the skin out.

Reassurance

During each stage of the grooming process you may need to give your dog some reassurance to put it at ease. Have a few treats handy, as these can help to keep your dog calm and reward good behaviour. Regular grooming doesn't just help to keep your pet in peak condition; it also helps you form a special bond with your dog!

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