Grooming provides bonding time along with ensuring that you’ll keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy and be aware of any subtle changes in condition.
The first step in home grooming is to teach the dog to accept the attention. Start as early as possible and make this interaction an enjoyable experience for your lil’ darling.
A basic home grooming kit for a long-coated dog should include a soft wire slicker brush, a comb that has both fine and coarse teeth, a universal brush and mat comb for dealing with tangles. A kit for medium-coated or short-coated dogs should include a slicker brush or flexible-pin brush. Bony dogs should be brushed with a soft brush or one with blunt bristles. Feathery hairs on the legs, ears, and tail should be combed. A nubby glove or coarse rag is suitable for grooming faces and for stimulating the skin and conditioning the coat on short-coated dogs.
Dogs don’t need frequent baths as it can dry the natural oils in canine skin and lead to constant scratching, which in turn can lead to bacterial infections and oozing hot spots. Tips for bathing your loving dog :
- Before bathing, clear all tangles from his coat.
- Teach him to stand in the tub, then add warm or tepid water.
- Soak him to the skin, lather, then rinse thoroughly.
- Take care to keep water and soap out of his eyes and ears and clean his face and the insides of his ears with a sponge.
Daily examination Check your canine thoroughly to make sure he has no cuts, sores, fleas, rashes, bumps or ticks in his coat or dirt in his ears. Remove fleas with a fine-toothed comb and drop them into a container of soapy water. Remove embedded ticks with tweezers or protected fingers and drop them in a vial of alcohol. Carefully remove vegetative matter such as grass awns, seed casings, or thorny twigs with fingers or comb.
Be prepared for mats
Dogs should be combed frequently and completely to prevent kinks and knots caused by intertwining of hairs or by dirt, grit, or vegetative matter in the coat. Mats can pull tender skin and cause pain and lead to hot spots or wounds to irritated skin and eventual infection, general skin outbreaks, or fungus or insect invasion.
When grooming a dog with a tangled coat, work gently to avoid irritating the skin. Comb the outside of the tangle, gently progressing towards the skin, just as you would comb a child’s snarled tresses. If the coat is severely tangled or matted, work in short sessions and praise the dog frequently for accepting sometimes irritating or painful combing. Or consider taking the pooch to a professional.
Shedding can take anywhere from three weeks to two months. Regular grooming can help control clouds of hair that scurry into corners and under furniture and encourage growth of new coat. Shedding is controlled by hormonal changes that are tied to photoperiod (day length) and is influenced by level of nutrition and general state of health. In addition to natural biennial shedding, a dog may drop his coat after surgery, X-rays under anesthesia, and whelping puppies.
Healthy skin is certainly a consideration for a well-groomed dog, and healthy skin begins with a good diet.
Grooming is essential for healthy skin, not only for keeping him clean, but for making the owner aware of any problems that may be developing. Flea allergies can cause severe skin problems, so daily examination of the dog during flea season is a must. Treat the house for fleas as well.
Contact allergies can also cause skin to break out. Irritated skin leads to scratching, which can open the skin to staphylococcus infections. Skin irritations and infections can crop up overnight, so keep a close eye on the situation.
All dogs should have their ears checked periodically. Dogs with droopy ears are especially susceptible to fungus and bacterial infections and should be checked at least weekly. Veterinarians can prescribe cleaning agents for ears to dry them out. Infected ears can also lead to further complications. Not only is the dog painfully uncomfortable, he may cause a hematoma by breaking a blood vessel while shaking his head in response to the discomfort.
Dogs should have their toenails cut every two to three weeks. Dog nails have a quick that can be seen as a darkening of light-colored nails but is invisible on dark nails. The quick has a nerve and blood supply; nicking the quick not only hurts the dog, it causes profuse bleeding, or have the vet or groomer do the job.
Include an examination of the dog’s feet into a grooming session to make sure there is nothing stuck between the pads. Seeds from some grasses can stab into the pad, pebbles can get stuck, chemicals used on lawns can burn, and fungus can cause irritation, which leads to licking, which can eventually lead to hot spots and infection. To pamper your pooch, seek the help of a professional groomer.
(Dr. Gandhi Narendra graduated from Punjab University in 1990. He can be contacted at : 9811057296, 9811897903.)