Down to Basics: The Grooming Essentials Every Dog Owner Needs to Know

Grooming is a key part of dog ownership – after all a clean dog is a healthy dog! That’s why it’s important for every potential pup owner to understand how to groom their pet. Here are the grooming basics you need to know:

Bathing

How often you give your dog a bath will vary according to the coat texture and length. Use lukewarm water along with a shampoo that’s clearly labeled as safe for dogs. Be sure to keep the water and shampoo out of your pup’s eyes and especially their ears. After each bath, towel-dry thoroughly and keep your dog in a warm room until he’s dry.

Nail Trimming

Your dog will need his nails trimmed, so it’s important to start as a puppy to ensure a lifetime of stress-free trimming. Here are a few tips that will help make the experience easier:
  • Use a specially designed dog nail-clipper. Other clippers may not be strong enough to work and may hurt your dog.
  • Hold your puppy’s paw and gently push down with your thumb at the base of each nail.
  • Beginning at the tip of the nail, cut back just a little at a time until you get close to the quick, the pink part.
  • Be very careful. If you cut too far, you’ll cut the quick, resulting in pain and bleeding.
  • Keep styptic powder handy to help stop any bleeding. 
Brushing and combing
No matter what type of coat your dog has, his hair will naturally shed. Regular brushing and bathing will help remove the old hair and keep the piles of dog hair around the house to a minimum. How often you brush your dog will depend on their coat:
  • Short-haired: Although a short coat might not require intensive grooming, brushing once or twice a week can help keep it shiny and healthy.
  • Medium-haired: Because of the coat density (both undercoat and topcoat), be sure to brush your pup every other day or the hair will collect. 
  • Long-haired: Long-haired dogs require daily brushing. Be sure to be gentle with the brush to not irritate their skin.
Visit Your Vet

If you’ve noticed your dog has particularly sensitive skin or a dramatic reaction to one of these grooming techniques, talk to your vet. Your veterinarian will be able to help you determine the cause of their heightened sensitivity and find some solutions.

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