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7 Steps for the perfect groomed look

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.

2 Brushing…

  • 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.

4 Bathing…

  • 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).

6 easy steps to make toothbrushing fun

By the time they are three years old, 80 percent of dogs show signs of gum disease, caused by a build up of plaque and tartar on the teeth. Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth is a great way to prevent this problem and help his teeth and gums stay healthy and it can be an enjoyable reward for your dog.

Small breeds in particular are more susceptible to gum disease as they live longer so there is more time for disease to take hold and they have the same number of teeth crowded into a smaller jaw. You need to introduce your dog to toothbrushing very gradually, ensuring that he learns to really enjoy the experience. It is essential to remember to praise and reward your dog for any positive responses. Choose a suitable time and place to carry out this training, for example, when you and your dog have returned from a walk or playing and he has had the chance to release some energy. A quite area that is free from distractions is best.

The necessities

  • Dog toothpaste (never use human toothpaste as this can upset your dog’s stomach).
  • Clean hands and short nails (this is essential for the safety of your dog).
  • A ‘finger’ toothbrush.
  • A pet toothbrush (soft bristles, do not use firm bristles as this can cause damage to the gum tissue).
  • Water.
  • A quiet area, with little or no distractions.
  • Patience!

Steps to introduce toothbrushing

Each of the following stages should last for no longer than five minutes and should be repeated on five separate days before moving on to the next stage. If your dog appears unhappy with any stage then return to the previous stage until he is ok.

Stage 1

The first stage is to introduce your dog to the taste of the toothpaste so that he starts to look forward to his toothbrushing sessions. Wash your hands and smear a small amount of toothpaste on to your index finger. Allow the dog to lick the toothpaste from your finger. Repeat this process for a few minutes rewarding your dog for licking the toothpaste.

Stage 2

The next stage is to get your dog used to having has mouth handled and the feel of something in his mouth. Smear your index finger with toothpaste and then gently slide it into your dog’s mouth letting it glide over the surface of the teeth and gums. Only go as far into the mouth as your dog is comfortable. Re-apply toothpaste to your finger and repeat this process for approx 6- 8 times. Remember to praise and reward your dog for any positive responses. With your other hand start to gently touch your dog’s muzzle and nose, bridging the nose with your hand ensuring your fingers and hand do not interfere with your dog’s eyes. Gently lift your dog’s lips whilst your finger is in the dog’s mouth. Repeat this for the remainder of the session.

Stage 3

Place the finger brush on to your index finger, wet it with water and smear some toothpaste onto the bristles. Let your dog lick the toothpaste from the bristles. This will feel different to him so repeat this a few times allowing him to get used to the feeling. When he is happy to do this, re-apply toothpaste to the bristles and gently slide your finger into your dog’s mouth and allow it to glide over the teeth and gums. With your other hand, bridge your dog’s nose and lift the lips as you slide the finger brush over the teeth and gums. Only go as far as your dog is comfortable and happy and remember to praise all positive responses. Remember to always end the session on a good note.

Stage 4

Wet your dog’s toothbrush with water and smear the bristles with toothpaste and then allow your dog to lick the toothpaste from the bristles to let them get the feel of the bristles. Put some more toothpaste on the brush, bridge your dog’s nose and, lifting the lips, start to gently brush his canines, using an up and downward motion; start with the toothbrush angled towards the gum line and move the brush away from the gum to the tip of the tooth. Finish the session with the finger brush and toothpaste exploring all areas of the teeth and gums.

Stage 5

Your dog should now be happy with having his canines brushed with the toothbrush. You can now move on to cleaning his other teeth. Prepare his toothbrush and paste and start by brushing his canines, as before, using an up and down motion. Slowly move along to the teeth behind the canines using a circular motion, (remember to slightly angle the bristles towards the gum line), and slowly proceed to the back of the mouth. Only go as far as your dog is comfortable and happy with – remember this should be an enjoyable activity for your dog. Concentrate on the top teeth at first and work along both sides of the mouth in turn. When your dog is happy with his top teeth being brushed, start to brush along the bottom row behind the canines, moving towards the back of the mouth (take your time as it is usually more difficult to brush the lower teeth – this is the part of the jaw that moves!).

Stage 6

Providing your dog is happy with having the rest of his teeth brushed you can start to brush his front teeth. Prepare his toothbrush and paste and start by brushing the canines and then move along the teeth behind on both sides of the mouth in turn, brushing top and bottom teeth. Now for the front teeth – with your other hand, carefully bridge your dog’s nose placing your middle finger across the top of the nose. Place your index finger under his nose, ensuring you do not block his nostrils. Place your thumb on the top of your dog’s bottom lip and gently part the lips with your index finger and thumb. This should reveal the front teeth. Gently brush the front teeth using an up and down motion (as for the canines). This may feel quite strange to your dog so you may need to repeat parting the lips a few times before using the toothbrush. Gradually build up the amount of time spent brushing.

When you have repeated Stage 6 several times you should be able to confidently brush your dog’s teeth every day. Remember this should always be an enjoyable experience for your dog.

Steps towards being a responsible pet parent

Caring for a dog involves a lot of responsibility, since you are the sole provider for your furry buddy’s social, dietary and health-related needs. Here are vital tips to take care of your pooch.

Training

  • Puppies require special attention: Encourage your puppy to interact with the world around her and beComplete Care open to new situations or environments. This is also known as ‘socialisation’ and involves exposing your puppy to as many new things as possible.
  • Dogs who are properly trained are much easier to manage, and can adapt more easily to new training programmes. Proper dog training should ideally be started as soon as you bring a dog into your home.
  • Be sensitive to how quickly your dog can learn new commands. Different breeds of dogs have different levels of intelligence and will learn at different speeds.
  • Pets respond to love and reward. Teach them right behaviour with patience.
  • Dog training is a process of teaching a dog to perform behaviour in response to certain commands, most commonly as sit, lie down and teaching him to relieve himself outside.
  • Potty training in particular can be difficult as some dogs need a bit of time to adapt going for that outdoor. House training is important issue for puppies. Consistent and regularly reinforced rules, litter box, crate or paper training can be successful.
  • Success of your dog training directly depends on your clear understanding of the dog’s nature. When the dog wags his tail it means that he is pleased with the situation and he would like to play and have fun.
  • Build a strong trust between you and your dog. This does require time and energy, so do not be lazy about it. Communication is pivotal when it comes to getting your dog’s confidence.
  • There is no dog too old or young to learn these techniques. Regardless of the kind of background the dog has, any dog can be properly trained.
  • The most effective way to train a dog involves using treats and positive reinforcement, besides clicker can also be used.
  • Pet parents and dogs who attend training class together have an opportunity to learn more about each other and how to work together under a trainer’s guidance. Training is the most effective if all those who handle the dog take part in the training to ensure consistent commands, methods and enforcement.
  • Most dogs live with people who want them to behave in ways that make them pleasant to be around, keep them safe and provide for the safety of other humans and pets. Dogs don’t figure out basic obedience on their own. The fundamental rule that must be remembered is that one should never apply human standards of society onto the dog with the assumption that the dog will understand.
  • The hardest part of the training is communication with the dog in a humane way that the pet animal understands.

Nutrition

  • Feed your puppy a special puppy-food diet for their first years.
  • Feed your dog a high-quality, nutrient-rich dog food formula that is balanced enough to ensure proper digestion. It is also best to avoid dog food that contains artificial preservatives, colours or chemical flavouring. Fresh food is always best!
  • A nutritionally balanced diet, with constant access to fresh water, is must for your dog.

Grooming

  • Groom her on a daily basis. Move a brush or comb through the hair of your dog, ensuring that her coat remains smooth and free of tangles. Make sure to keep her ears as well as teeth clean.
  • Bathe your dog at regular interval as frequent bathing can dry out her skin and coat and result in skin infections. The best bet would be to bathe your dog once in a month. In case she gets too dirty in-between, rub her with a damp towel or wash just the paws.

Exercise

  • Give her lots of exercise. Keeping her busy physically will also help keep behavioural problems at bay. Walk her at least twice a day and play with her to keep mentally stimulated.

General

  • Never keep your dog tied up.
  • Provide proper area for your dog.
  • Dogs crave companionship and do not like to be alone for long periods. So, try to spend as much time with your dog as possible.
  • Collar your dog and attach an ID to it, with the dog’s name, your name, address and telephone number written on it.
  • A proper physical examination of your dog on a monthly basis is a must.
  • Regular veterinarian check-ups are recommended for your pooch.

(Arun Bajpai is an artist, stylist, interior/exterior designer of villas by profession and above all a great pet lover).