Furry Freshness: Embark on a grooming journey this 2024

You’ve probably made resolutions for better self-care in 2024, but how about making a few resolutions that would benefit your dog?
–by Nitya Ramchandran

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Everything is better with dogs. This year strive to be a better pet parent and learn more about basic pet grooming. Make resolutions that align with the wellness of your furry friend. Like improving his hygiene and overall appearance, for instance? Grooming isn’t just for dogs with long hair or fancy-looking canine breeds.

Not only does grooming your pet help him put his best foot forward, but it also makes you aware of any bodily changes that could indicate potential health issues that could worsen if not attended to promptly.Start the year on the right note by learning at-home grooming basics to keep your pet looking sharp between visits to a professional groomer.

Grooming Guru with the ultimate toolkit

The first prerequisite to grooming your pet is to have the right tools handy.

While different dogs have different grooming needs, there are a few essential tools you must have in your dog grooming toolkit

  • Brush and comb : Keeping your pet’s hair type in mind, pick from a wide range of brushes that are available in the market. A wide-toothed comb will help remove tangles from his fur, while a slick brush will help remove dead hair.
  • Shampoo and conditioner : Only use shampoo and conditioner specially formulated for dogs to help keep his coat shiny and smooth. Do not use human shampoo or conditioner, as it could lead to skin dryness or irritation.
  • Nail clippers: High-quality dog clippers come with a safety guard that prevents you from accidentally nipping the sensitive portion of your pet’s nail.
  • Nail filer: It helps smooth out the sharp edges of nails.
  • Scissors : You don’t need proper grooming scissors for this job. A regular craft scissor will suffice if it is relatively sharp and can do its job well.
  • Styptic powder: It helps stop nail bleeding if you cut your pet’s nails too short.
  • Blow-dryer: You can put your blow dryer to good use for this task. If your pet has a heavy coat, you must invest in a blow dryer specially made for dogs. It has more power than blow-dryers for human hair and will make drying your pet after a bath faster and easier. Alternatively, you could dry your pet with a microfiber towel.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste: Make sure to use toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs with a toothbrush engineered for them.

Look out for temper tantrums

Once you’re all set with your toolkit, there’s one more step you need to take, which involves getting him comfortable with the process. The best time to groom your pet is when he is tired and worn out. Go for a long walk with him or engage him in a play session to work off his excess energy before you start the grooming process. This way, he will be worn out and much calmer while you’re grooming him. It will also reduce the resistance on his part to the grooming process.

While you’re grooming your pet, talk to him in a calm yet firm voice. If your pet seems anxious even after vigorous physical activity, a gentle massage could help ease his nerves. Use plenty of treats and praise as positive reinforcement throughout the grooming process. Such rewards will keep your furry friend interested in the activity and make him eager to participate.

Nitty-gritty of nails

Give your pet regular nail trims every few weeks. Some dogs’ nails naturally get trimmed as they walk on concrete or pavement. But even then, filing and cleaning would be required.

Regular nail trimming is a must to help your pet stand and walk comfortably. Overgrown nails can change the stance of your pet’s foot and lead to muscle pain in his leg. To prevent injury, only trim the ends of each nail, i.e., the hook-shaped portion that turns down. Most dogs do not like getting their nails cut, so take it slow.

Brushaway grooming woes

Brushing is the most significant part of a dog’s grooming process. Dry brushing every day is really helpful.

Make sure to brush your pet before bathing him. Not doing so can make grooming your dog a nightmare for you and him. Wetting unbrushed hair can cause it to become tangled, making matting painful to remove.Take small sections of his hair and brush out the clumps bit by bit, taking care not to yank on his fur.

Carefully brush out tangles from all areas of your pet’s body, paying attention to often ignored hidden areas such as behind his ears, his armpits, between his hind legs, and his hip. If your pethas a fluffy tail, brush that as well!

Making bath session fun

After a thorough brushing session, it’s time for a bath session. Place an anti-skid mat on the bathroom floor or the bathtub. Pop cotton balls into each of his ears to prevent ear infections. Use lukewarm water to wet his coat. Once his coat is wet, use a dog shampoo and work it into a lather, covering all areas of his body. Then, thoroughly rinse out the shampoo, making sure to leave no residue. Start from the head to the tail and the legs at the end.

Once bathed, use a towel or a blow dryer to dry him. When the coat has dried completely, give it another brush using a comb. While baths are an essential part of the grooming process, try not to overdo it, as doing so can strip your pet’s coat of natural oils, making them dry and coarse.

Thumbs up for a trim

If your pet coat is dirty or matted, don’t cut or shave it. To begin with, trim the most necessary areas, such as the face, ears, and intimate area. Keeping the hair short and clean in these areas can prevent foul odor and infections.

Oral hygiene is crucial

Oral hygiene is a critical part of grooming your furry friend. Studies have revealed that over 80% of dogs have dental issues by age of 3 years. Brush your pet’s teeth regularly with a dog friendly toothpaste and toothbrush to keep his teeth and gums healthy.

Tidiness starts with clean ears

Aim for at least one ear-cleaning session for your pet per month. Using a damp cloth or a moist cotton swab, clean the outer region of the ear, applying little to negligible pressure. Make sure you never force anything into the ear canal.

Window to the soul, but make sure they are clean

A moist cotton ball will come in handy to clean any discharge from the eye. Never put anything irritating in your pet’s eyes. If your pet has tear stains, ask your vet how to reduce them.

Combining regular at-home grooming sessions with professional grooming visits will make your pet look and feel like the best version of himself.

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