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I can’t see your eyes, Buddy.
Is your dog’s hair covering his entire face already? Are his nails long enough to scratch you or entangle with holes and railings? We’re sure you know it’s time for some grooming but it seems like the nearest pet grooming centre is miles away, and you’re too busy to drive that distance. Sigh.
Does that mean Buddy has to endure all the stink and unruly hairs and nails? Of course not! Like many things, pet grooming at home is also possible with the right knowledge and preparations.
Read on and see what you’ll need to know before you groom dogs at home and turn it into something more fun fur you and your fur babies!
We all know that grooming is important for dogs to maintain good hygiene, like how we regularly wash and often have haircuts.
Specifically, grooming helps keep your dog’s coat free from parasites and dirt. But apart from that, here are other things you could benefit from regularly grooming your pooch.
With good hygiene comes good health. After all, most dog diseases are brought about or worsened by poor sanitary conditions. Hence, dogs not regularly groomed or cleaned are more vulnerable to canine distemper, parvovirus, and other canine diseases since the viruses and bacteria causing these usually thrive in poorly maintained places. The same goes for parasites.
Moreover, grooming allows you to easily detect symptoms (e.g. bumps, lumps, and rashes) of your dog’s underlying diseases. With this, you can immediately visit vet clinics for a diagnosis.
Besides good health, regular grooming also prevents the matting and tangling in your dog’s beautiful coat, which can be painful and unsafe, especially for dogs who like to move around.
Although shedding is natural for dogs, the heap of hair you must collect after weeks or months without brushing their coat would be overwhelming. Hence, it’s best that you get to brush these away before they pile up on your carpet or furniture.
Have seen how Buddy’s instinctively clinging on to you while you’re brushing his coat or what your fur baby’s first bath was like?
These small moments often have lasting impressions on us and our dogs. Since our furry friends have a relatively shorter lifespan than us, we get the pleasure of witnessing their growth from a puppy no bigger than a bottle up to the snuggly giant they are now.
Lastly, regular grooming helps dogs achieve their best version. Without tangled coats, long nails, and foul smell, plus some trendy dog bandanas and bow ties, your dog would surely get heads turning during a walk.
Whether in centres or at home, grooming can be stressful for dogs. And if you don't try to ease them, grooming becomes even more challenging—paws will surely fly around. Thus, here are some tips on how to make your dog feel comfortable before grooming.
What do I do with this pent-up energy?
Dogs, especially active ones, are often curious about anything and don’t know what to do with the energy in their system. Consequently, they become more unruly during grooming. Hence, allot some time to exercise your dog before starting the fun.
Most dogs get scared when you introduce something new to their daily experience. Thus, make sure to have them familiarise the tools you’ll be using. Assure them that it’s safe.
Like us, dogs become more eager to participate in something that has yummy rewards by the end. Make grooming at home a positive experience for your furry friend!
Lastly and most importantly, you have to be calm, as your composure also influences the way your dog perceives the activity.
Besides your to-do list, you must also remember these not-to-do’s before you groom a dog at home.
Here’s the part you’re most excited about!
Now that you’ve learned the importance and necessary precautions of dog grooming at home, it’s time to explore the step-by-step guide on how to do it.
Ensure to only prepare grooming tools meant for dogs and approved by veterinarians to avoid complications. These include dog shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, wipes, towels, comb, and nail clippers. You may also opt to add blowers and coat sprays.
Routinely check your dog’s coat for ticks and fleas, especially during tick season, before grooming. If you have findings, consult your veterinarian about the safest way to remove the ticks.
Paw pads are often forgotten during grooming or even in daily inspections. As a result, paw pads become dirty and dry. Some hair may have also grown between your dog’s toes, which can cause pain on your dog due to matting.
After inspections, you may start wiping your dog’s coat to remove primary dirt and dust stuck on their fur.
To further clean your dog’s coat and untangle mats, start brushing the coat thoroughly before bathing.
Bathe your dog with water and shampoo meant for dogs. You may also use a conditioner after, making your dog’s hair smoother. After bathing, dry your dog using a towel and a blow dryer.
Since you can’t let any water inside your dog’s ear. You have to clean it separately using cotton balls and a dog-specific solution.
Ideally, you should brush your dog's teeth twice a day. But if you're too busy, three times a week would already make a difference. Remember to only use a dog-specific toothpaste.
Make sure to seek your veterinarian's advice before you attempt to trim your dog's hair and nails, do it carefully, and avoid sensitive areas.
Lastly, brush your dog again to remove trimmed hair and voila! Your dog's ready to get heads turning!
If your dog is proving difficult to groom or you feel overwhelmed with the process, we recommend exploring online dog grooming courses. Most online courses are great and extremely detailed.
Take your time in the learning and practice process. We’re confident that through patience and practice, you’ll be grooming your dog effecting in no time!
While there are cases wherein wetting your dog’s hair is necessary, like having to deal with severe matting, it’s generally preferred to cut a dog’s hair dry. Cutting it wet often results in uneven cuts as their hair would appear longer when wet and skin irritations since hairs are more likely to stick to a dog’s skin in wet conditions.
It depends mainly on your dog’s breed, coat type, and the amount of grooming you want to accomplish. If you only wish to trim your dogs’ nails and brush their coat, it would usually just take about 30 minutes. But if you intend to groom your dog at home fully, then it might take a few hours, and even more if your fur baby is anxious about the process.
When you’re still learning to groom a dog at home, remember to take your time, as rushing things may only harm your pooch.
Dog breeds with longer hair would require more frequent grooming than their short-haired counterpart. But apart from breed and coat type, your dog’s lifestyle also plays a part in determining the frequency. Dogs spending most of their time outside to play and explore would require frequent grooming.
Generally, grooming every 4-8 weeks is beneficial for most dogs. An interval of 2-4 weeks is best for long-haired and active dogs, while dogs requiring less frequent grooming would be fine with every 6-12 weeks.
Remember, our dogs have unique needs. All these may serve as your general guideline, but it would still be best to consult with grooming experts and veterinarians.