FAQ on Grooming

Cleanliness is next to godliness and it applies to our canine friends as well. To keep your dog clean, healthy and looking his gleaming best, follow a grooming routine that suits his coat type. Most of the time, people do not know how to groom their pets. Gauri and Urmila of TailWaggers Pet Salon, Mumbai answers some of the frequently asked questions on grooming. Q?:?How can I groom my dog at home? Gauri and Urmila?:?A few simple steps should be followed as a regular grooming routine. Brush your dog often, at least once or twice a week. Clean his eyes with moist cotton wool daily. Check his ears after every bath and clean the inner flap gently with dry cotton, without probing too deep into the ear canal. Also check for any foul-smelling discharge from the ear and get it treated by your vet immediately.  Brush his teeth once a week with a dog toothpaste and tooth brush available at all leading pet shops. Last but not the least, run your fingers through his coat every day to keep those pesky ticks and fleas in check.

Q?:?My three-year-old Labrador sheds a lot of hair. What can I do to reduce or stop his shedding? Gauri and Urmila?:?Dogs shed hair for a lot of reasons. Two of the most common reasons are seasonal shedding and flea allergy. Seasonal shedding is a normal healthy function of a dog’s body, but excess hair can drive you nuts. To keep mess to a minimum, daily brushing is vital. Most of your dog’s loose hair should end up in your brush and not in your environment. For your Labrador, use a bristle brush or a hound glove (available at all leading pet stores) and first brush against the direction of your dog’s hair growth. This will help to remove any excess hair from underneath. Then, using the same tool, brush in the direction of the hair growth to pick up loose hair on the surface. Also, check for fleas and use a good flea control shampoo recommended by your veterinarian. If the shedding persists then you need to look into his diet and rule out other causes of shedding under your veterinarian’s guidance. Q?:?Can I use human shampoos and toothpastes on my dog? Gauri and Urmila?:?Please do not use human cosmetic shampoos on your dog because the pH-level of shampoos specially made for dogs is different than that of human shampoos and using human products could harm your dog’s skin.

In the case of toothpaste, we humans rinse our mouth and spit out the paste  and dogs do not. They swallow the paste. That means their toothpaste must be edible. Therefore, always use a specially formulated dog toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth. Moreover, lot of canine toothpastes are available in flavours that your dog will enjoy and will easily allow you to brush his teeth! Different brands of dog shampoo and toothpastes are available at all leading pet shops.

(Gauri and Urmila, at TailWaggers Pet Salon have been providing the latest and best grooming facilities for the past 5 years. A new branch has been opened at Oshiwara, Mumbai, which is run by David – a certified French pet groomer with 12 years experience. The services provided at The TailWaggers Pet Salon include haircutting, show grooming, oil massage, shampoo and conditioning, tick and flea control treatments, ear cleaning, teeth brushing and nail-clipping, aromatherapy rinses, detangling treatment, etc. They can be contacted on 9820127572 or David on 9819042983.)

Maintaining the lustre

Last issue, we discussed the importance of a balanced diet and proper deworming to prevent skin problems, plus how internal factors affect the skin condition of your dog. In this issue, we will discuss the next most important aspect – bathing and grooming correctly.

Most dog owners take the routine of bathing and grooming their dogs very lightly – so much so that they don’t feel the need to consult their veterinarians about the correct bathing and grooming schedule. In my experience, Indian dog owners tend to bathe their dogs too often, but groom them too little! In fact these are amongst the more common reasons why dogs begin itching, leading to serious skin infection (refer previous issue).

Bathing:

We may enjoy our daily bath, but dogs do not sweat all over their body surface. So your dog’s skin does not get dirty easily, since it is protected by his coat. Any dirt is superficial and can be taken care of by regular grooming and, if required, sponging. The dog’s skin is more delicate than ours, which is why nature has given our dogs a coat, whether smooth, long, short, wirey, dense or silky. This coat protects our pets from the adverse effects of the environment like sunlight and certain allergens. This is why it is not a good idea to cut or shave your dog’s entire coat in any weather. If nature has given your dog a coat, then it must have a purpose. Dogs, like us, secrete oil from their skin. This oil keeps the skin healthy and the coat shiny and lustrous. Unlike us, however, this oil is not replenished daily. It takes few days for the dog’s skin to begin secreting these oils after every bath. For this reason, it is best not to bathe your dog more frequently than about once a month. Frequent bathing is a major cause of dry, itchy skin amongst dogs in India. This can lead to skin infection.

The next important aspect is the choice of shampoo. There is a vast choice of dog shampoos available in Indian market today. So why do dog owners still insist on using human products on their dogs? The pH balance requirement of a dog shampoo is different from that of human shampoos because dog skin is more sensitive than human skin, so bathing with a human shampoo is an absolute no-no! The wrong choice of shampoo can lead to an allergic skin reaction, intense itching and bald patches.

Sometimes these effects are seen a few days after bathing. Out of the wide variety of dog shampoos available, not all shampoos are good. Unfortunately some products sold as dog shampoos in India are not properly pH-balanced. As a general rule, a branded shampoo marketed by a reputed company is a good bet. It is best to ask your veterinarian or an experienced dog owner about the best quality shampoos for your dog. A good quality dog shampoo is likely to be a bit expensive, but it is well worth the expense considering that you only need to use it only once a month and you don’t run the risk of causing a major skin problem for your dog (which could cost you a lot more to treat!).

It is not recommended that pups below the age of four months be bathed. They can, however, be sponged and brushed with a soft puppy brush. If, for any reason, you feel you really must bathe your pup, please make sure that you dry him thoroughly with an absorbent towel. Such young puppies still have their soft puppy coat, which retains the water and doesn’t dry easily.

Grooming:

No matter how long or short, silky, curly or wirey, thin or thick your dog’s coat is, he will need to be groomed everyday. I find it odd that many owners think it necessary to feed their dogs what they eat and bathe them daily because we humans do so, but even though we brush our hair everyday (often more than once a day), somehow we don’t consider it necessary to do the same for our dogs. Yes, a dog’s dietary and bathing requirements are very different from ours, but as far as grooming is concerned, it is best to make it a daily habit from the very start.

Everyday, our dogs shed a few strands of hair, just like we do. This loose hair trapped close to the skin will eventually cause itching leading to redness and skin infection. Daily grooming not only removes dead hair, but also removes dead skin cells and stimulates blood circulation to the skin’s surface and hair roots, thus improving the health of the skin and coat. If your dog emits a hit of an odour, you can use a good dog grooming powder when grooming, daily or as needed, to keep your dog smelling good. The techniques and types of grooming equipment will be discussed in the next issue. Grooming also includes regular nail clipping and ear cleaning, which can be done at home or at your veterinarian’s clinic or a grooming parlour. Ear wax is a common cause of itchy ears and otitis.

As tip for puppy owners: Always handle your pup’s feet, ears and tail several times a day from the time your pup comes home. This will make it easier for you to handle him during bathing and grooming throughout his life. Bathing and grooming should be introduced to the pup’s routine as early as possible and should be made enjoyable. The more pleasant the experience is for your pet, the easier this routine will be for you.

Next issue: Grooming techniques for a beautiful skin and coat.

(Dr. Freya Javeri, B.V.Sc. & A.H. (Bombay Veterinary College), MVS (University of Melbourne, Australia) is a member of the prestigious Dog Writers’ Association of America. She was the former editor of Canine Review, the official publication of the Indian National Kennel Club. She is a qualified judge, with a diploma in dog judging from the Animal Care College, UK. She is currently practicing as a veterinary surgeon and animal behaviour consultant, specialising in small animals with two clinics of her own in Ahmedabad. She can be contacted at 9824433227, e.mail:dr.freyajaveri@yahoo.com)

Grooming your lil’ tail wagger

Your pup looks cute and adorable and you will go to any extent to keep him that way. Regular grooming will not only keep them neat and tidy but will also keep them healthy.

Bringing home a puppy means different things to different people. Along with all the laughter and joy that a new puppy’s arrival brings, there are details like toilet training to take care of, vaccinations to get done, food & chewies to shop for, his bedding to be decided and so on and so forth. Among all these tonnes of things, a lot of times an important issue takes a backseat – grooming, which plays an important role in their pet’s well being.

Benefits of grooming:

Other than keeping your pup clean, comfortable and looking good, hands-on grooming also gives you a chance to inspect him regularly and make sure his skin, eyes, ears and nails are healthy. Grooming also helps stimulate the sebaceous glands that provide the oil that keeps the skin in good condition.

Brushing his coat:

Because grooming is so important, it is vital that you teach your puppy to tolerate it as soon as you bring him home. Even if he is only a fur ball right now, spend time brushing his coat. Practice lifting those puppy paws up and manipulating them. If he learns now that grooming is a part of everyday life, he will be more cooperative when he is an adult. If you wish to send your dog to a professional salon for grooming, that too should be done at an early age. Start with brushing your pup thoroughly twice a day. Short coated breeds are obviously much easier to groom than long-coated breeds. Make sure you brush the undercoat as well as the outer coat. Matts tend to form the most behind the ears and the underbelly and these areas need to be paid special attention to. It is always important to keep a long-haired dog thoroughly brushed. Different kinds of brushes and combs are available at all pet stores, so make sure you get the right kind of brush best suited for your dog’s coat.

Bathing your pup:

Consult the vet about how often to bathe your pup. Puppies need baths less regularly than full-grown adult dogs. Be prepared to be soaked to the skin yourself while you are bathing your puppy. Make sure you have everything you need close at hand before you put your puppy in the bath. You will need a water proof apron for yourself, specially formulated tearless puppy shampoo (available at pet stores), a towel and a hair dryer (especially for the long-haired ones). Pour a jug full of luke-warm water over him, taking care to see that no water goes into his eyes and ears. When you have soaked him completely, rub the shampoo thoroughly into his coat. Use your hands to work up a good lather all over the body, gently talking to your puppy as you do. After this, rinse him out completely making sure that no trace of shampoo is left on him. Let him shake off the excess water and towel dry him as much as you can. If you have a long-coated breed, it would be a good idea to get him used to the sound and feel of a dryer.

Cleaning ears and teeth:

Check your pup’s ears and teeth once a week. Gently clean his ears with cotton wool but never poke or prod into the ear canal. To keep his teeth sparkling and clean and to help him during teething, give him chew sticks, which are also a yummy treat. Get his nails clipped by his veterinarian or a professional regularly. Run your fingers through your pup’s coat everyday to check for ticks and fleas. If an infestation does occur, check with his vet about the kind of tick and flea shampoos best suited for pups. We hope all these tips will help you to groom your pup better. And remember the quality time you spend grooming him will help you establish a closer bond with him.

(Gauri and Urmila at Tail Waggers Pet Salon have been providing pets with the latest and best grooming facilities for the past 4 years. You can contact them at 9820127572 or 022-56067271.)

Wagging their way to beauty

Our canine friends love to romp through the grass, swish around in the water and roll in the mud. Unadulterated fun – that’s what dogs are all about. But when they are done with all that frolicking, they also want to come back into the house and lie on the sofa like one of the family. And that’s where good grooming comes in. Regular grooming can not only make your dog look smart and tidy, but also help in avoiding many health problems. During our interactions with clients at the TailWaggers Pet Salon, we come across several people who have had and loved dogs for years but are blissfully unaware that grooming plays an important role in their pets’ well-being.

Grooming is more than just swiping a brush through your dog’s coat. Regular grooming keeps your dog clean and looking good. It also keeps shedding to a minimum and gives you a chance to inspect your dog to make sure his skin, teeth, eyes, ears and nails are healthy. Because grooming is important, dogs should be trained from an early age to associate it with a pleasurable experience.

Short-coated breeds are obviously much easier to groom than long-haired ones. With long-coated breeds, grooming is not only desirable but also absolutely essential. To leave a long-coated breed un-groomed is cruel. The hair becomes matted and dry, making the dog extremely itchy and uncomfortable. This can also result in skin infections and the end result is misery! We have seen dogs belonging to well-meaning people, brought in for grooming to our salon, so badly matted that we don’t know where to begin!

A good grooming schedule, for your pet, includes combing, brushing, bathing, nail clipping, ear cleaning and teeth brushing.

Combing and brushing your dog :

For short smooth coats, use a soft bristle brush and first brush against the direction your dog’s hair lies. This will help to remove any excess hair from underneath. Then, brush in the direction the coat lies to pick up loose hair from the surface. Brushing once a week will keep shedding under control. For long double coats, use a pin brush and start by taking sections of your dog’s coat and separating it with your hand, so there is a parting where the skin is visible. Then use the brush to comb out the undercoat, brushing outwards from the skin as you do. This is the best way to prevent matts from forming in the undercoat. Once you have finished with the undercoat, use the same brush to brush out the top coat as well. Brush your dog twice a week but increase it to several times a week in the shedding season.

Remember to groom the underbelly, behind the ears as these areas are most prone to matts. If your dog is already matted, it maybe difficult to get rid of the matts at home. You run the risk of injuring your pet if it is not done correctly. At such a time, it is advisable to seek professional help for detangling or hair-trimming. Also considering our hot and humid climate, it is advisable to keep your dog’s hair trimmed and neat, no matter how exotic a breed he or she is!

Another everyday routine should be to run your fingers through your dog’s coat to check for any skin parasites like ticks and fleas. Skin parasites multiply at an alarming rate and are best checked right at the onset. There is a huge variety of tick and flea shampoos available at all leading pet shops which are very effective. Please consult your veterinarian before using them since some of them can be very toxic if licked by your pet.

Bathing :

Bathing your dog once in 10-15 days is ideal. Bath time will go more smoothly if you’re well prepared. First make sure you’re not rushed. No matter how small your dog, a bath is not a ten-minute job. You should have a good dog shampoo, a couple of towels, and a hair dryer (for a long-haired dog) ready, before you bathe him. Do not use human shampoos for your dog since the pH level of their skin differs from ours. Soak the dog completely right through the hair with warm water. Rub the shampoo into your dog’s coat with your fingers or a bathing glove, taking care download sixaxis controller apk not to get any into his eyes and ears. Work it in all over his body, under his chin and neck, under his belly and bottom, right down to his toes. After this, rinse him well, starting at the head and working toward the back, taking care to remove all traces of shampoo. Squeeze out all the excess water from the legs, tail, underparts, and the top of the body, the ears and so on. Briskly dry him with a towel and finish the process with a hair dryer if necessary. For long-haired breeds also, comb the dog gently while drying to keep the matts from forming.

Ears and eyes :

When you sit down to groom your dog, you have the opportunity to take a closer look at his ears and eyes. Now is the time to check them for any signs of problems and to work at keeping them clean and healthy. Ears must be treated very gently. And to clean them, ease a piece of cotton wool into the ear and take away any visible dirt. Do not prod into the ear canal but make sure the inner ear flap is clean. If your dog is constantly scratching or shaking his ears, he is in obvious discomfort and you should seek advice from a veterinarian. To keep your dog’s eyes sparkling and clear, simply wipe them with a cotton ball dipped in luke-warm water. This will get rid of any discharge that may have built up in the corners.

Nail-clipping :

Your dog’s nails will need regular clipping, particularly if he doesn’t get much exercise on hard ground. The quick (the blood vessel within the nail) is easy to see in white nails but it doesn’t show that well on black ones and can get cut if you are not careful. If you are apprehensive about trimming your dog’s nails yourself, seek professional help.

Teeth brushing :

An important but often over-looked part of your dog’s grooming routine is the brushing of his teeth. Dogs need to have clean teeth in order to have fresh breath and a healthy canine smile. Poor dental hygiene can lead to tartar build up that can cause diseases in the mouth which can lead to other infections. To brush your dog’s teeth, you can either use a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger or a specially made dog toothbrush and Betadine mouthwash or dog toothpaste. Dog toothbrushes and pastes are available at all pet shops.

To keep your dog clean, healthy and looking his gleaming best , follow a grooming routine that suits him the best and follow it diligently. Grooming is easy to learn and no matter how much time it takes, both you and he will be proud and happy with the results.

(Gauri and Urmila at TailWaggers Pet Salon have been providing pets with the latest and best grooming facilities for the past 3 years. During this time, they have groomed hundreds of dogs and put a smile on many a dog and owners faces. Well, although they admit that it is not an easy job they do get bitten and sometimes smell like dogs at the end of a long day, they wouldn’t trade it for any other career for both of them love the hours they spend with four-legged friends. The services provided at The TailWaggers Pet Salon include haircutting, oil massage, shampoo and conditioning, tick and flea control treatments, ear cleaning, teeth brushing and nail-clipping, aromatherapy rinses, detangling treatment and hydrosurge baths. You can contact them on 9820127572 or 56067271.)