Grooming your dog is one of the best ways to strengthen the bond of love that you share with your pet. There are certain things that should be kept in mind before you begin with such sessions so that it becomes a pleasurable experience for both of you.
Simple at home tips for grooming your pooch
1 Planning…Divyang Adawadkar
- Maintain a grooming schedule for your pet so that you can plan out your time in advance and make all the necessary arrangements needed prior to grooming.
- Select a proper range of accessories (viz. hair brush/comb, nail clippers, shampoo, etc.) for grooming your dog and this will depend upon the kind of breed.
- If you are beginner with grooming sessions, start with shorter duration i.e. 10 – 15 min. Grooming particularly includes brushing/combing and bathing, one can first beginwith combing sessions and then slowly switch tobathing sessions for your pet.
- Different breeds have different grooming needs. For healthy skin and coat, dogs should be brushed at least thrice a week to remove the dead hair, tangles and mats. A slicker-style brush is best suited for this.
- A slicker brush should not be pressed too hard else it will scrape the skin and hurt your dog.
- Brush or comb your dog against the lay of the coat, this will give the coat a fluffy look.
- Olive oil can be used on matted hair for easy combing.
3 Paw care…
- You can train your dog for nail clipping by giving him a gentle massage on the paws and then accustom him to the nail clipper. Be careful that you don’t clip off ‘the quick’ that is present in the nail as it has a nerve inside it and if cut, it can cause bleeding and pain.
- ‘The quick’ is easily visible in pink nails but difficult in dark nails so dark coloured nails should be given several small cuts to reduce the chance of cutting into ‘the quick’.
- A small piece of sand paper can be used to file the nails of your dog.
- The hair between the paws should be trimmed to prevent insertion of ticks and fleas or fungal growth due to moist environment.
- Your dog can be bathed once a fortnight to once in a month depending upon his daily activities and his exposure to dirt and dust and the season.
- If you are using a bath tub, place a bath mat made of rubber in the tub to keep your pooch from slipping and sliding.
- Select a proper dog shampoo depending upon the nature of the coat and skin condition of your dog; in general, a mild shampoo should be used to bath your dog. Make sure that the shampoo does not enter the eyes, ears or nose.
- Before bathing, brush your dog to remove any dead hair or mats.
- For drying your dog, keep the blow dryer on cool setting so that there will be less of a chance for your dog’s hair and skin to dry out.
- Keep your dog indoor for few hours till he is completely dry after a bath, else he may go and roll in dirt to get his scent back.
- If your dog is naughty or resist from taking a bath, make sure you take him for a long walk before you give him a bath to drain out the energy and reduce his stress level.
5 Ear care…
- To clean your dog’s ears, apply some ear cleaning solution to a cotton ball and simply wipe dirt and wax away from the inner ear. Be very gentle while cleaning the ears and do not insert the cotton ball too deep inside the ears.
- Dogs with droopy ears or long hair should be checked weekly as they are more susceptible to fungus, waxy ears and ear mites.
6 Coat care…
- For German Shepherd, Cocker Spaniel and other such breeds with thick coat, the coat can be trimmed in different lengths to give them a relief in summer. This also avoids the growth of ticks and fleas.
- A healthy coat is a sign of good health for your dog. Excessive shedding or bald patches could be signs of ill health. Regular grooming helps you to look for early signs of diseases.
- Never use hair colours or dyes on your dog, they are meant for human use as they can cause skin irritation which can lead to serious health problems in dogs.
7 Extra care…
- For breeds like Pugs who have facial wrinkles or folds, in order to prevent bacterial growth in the areas inside these folds, use damp cotton to clean off the dirt.
- Dogs with very long hair, like St Bernard and Golden Retriever, need trimming of hair in between the legs known as hock.
- Puppies and at times even adult dogs tend to become playful during grooming, to keep them engaged keep their favourite toys and treats handy.
Last but not the least, give your pet lot of love (hugs and kisses) for being patient once you have given him an enjoyable grooming experience!
(Divyang Adawadkar runs PET INN, a one-stop destination for all your pet’s needs (especially for dogs and cats), be it grooming, hostel facilities, veterinary advice or pet food and accessories in Ahmedabad).