A Quick Guide to Dog Grooming
With their fragrant smell, trimmed fur and clean coat, it’s no surprise that dogs look their best when groomed. But beyond looking great and extra cute, dogs must maintain good hygiene to stay healthy and comfortable.
Like their human companions, dogs can feel discomfort when their hygiene is neglected. When a dog isn’t groomed, they can become prone to infections and sickness. For instance, the hair can get trapped against the eye or inside the ear which can lead to infections. They might also feel pain when their fur gets unruly and matted, trapping moisture, and preventing proper airflow to the skin!
Grooming is time-intensive and laborious, but a great skill to learn to do yourself. It’s also a paw-some bonding experience with your dog! While you’re still deciding whether to DIY or schedule an appointment with your local groomer, here’s a quick guide to dog grooming to give you the information you need to know.
#1. Brush your dog’s coat.
Through brushing, you can keep your dogs cool by allowing airflow to the skin. It will distribute their natural hair oils, keeping the natural shine and gloss of their fur. Creepy crawlies such as fleas will also be easy to spot when brushing – preventing them from spreading further in your dog’s fur.
It’s important to introduce your dog to brushing early with positive reinforcement. Make it a positive and fun activity where they can feel comfortable. Let your furry friend know when they’ve done well in behaving – praise them, rub their belly, and give them a treat!
How often should you brush your dog’s coat?
How often you brush your dog’s hair varies depending on their coat type, length, recent activity or even a change in season. As part of maintenance, dogs should be brushed as needed. It’s your responsibility to spot and remove any matting to avoid causing your dog discomfort.
Generally, dogs with short and smooth coats (Greyhounds, Kelpies, Boston terriers) are easy to maintain. As their coat is short, it continuously grows and sheds in weekly to twelve weekly cycles. Brush them every few weeks to remove loose hair.
Dogs with long and double coats (Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Corgis) shed according to the season. To prevent mats and tangles, brush their hair at least once a week.
Heavy-coated dogs such as the Chow Chow, Samoyed, and Pomeranian are very prone to mats, knots, and tangles. They may need to be brushed on a daily to weekly basis.
Long-coated and curly-coated dogs are usually non-shedding but need regular brushing or combing as they are also prone to matting. Brush them at least three times a week.
If you ever find that matting in your dog’s coat that’s too close to the skin, it might be best to contact your local groomer to have them remove it safely with a clipper.
#2. Bathe your dog.
Once all the mats and tangles are removed, it’s time to bathe your dog! This helps remove any odor, dirt, scale, or loose hair.
Dog skin is more sensitive than human skin, so it’s important to use a shampoo made specifically for them. While mild hypoallergenic shampoo often works well for dogs with healthy skin, you can ask your vet for advice. They will be the person to tell you the best type of shampoo for your dog (especially if your pet is dealing with skin conditions).
Try to choose a spacious area for bathing, whether it’s outdoors, in your bathtub, or at your groomer’s. Organise everything you need calmly to avoid alarming your dog (keep the treats in your pockets for easy reach). Your dog’s comfort while bathing depends on your positive reinforcement. Reward them while they’re in the tub to make them feel that the bathing area is a safe space for them.
How often should you bathe your dog?
Dogs should only be bathed when necessary – if they start to smell, or accumulate dirt on their coat. Dogs with healthy skin and coat only need to be bathed every couple of months. Avoid bathing them too often as this can remove the natural oils from their coat and dry their skin out.
#3. Dry your dog!
Dogs will naturally shake off excess moisture after getting wet, but you might still need to completely dry them with a towel. In warm weather, you can rinse your dog and let them shake and air-dry outside. In cold weather, you can towel-dry them gently or blow-dry using the coolest setting – be sure to place this at a safe distance from them!
#4. Brush and clip your dog’s hair.
After drying your dog, give it another brush to ensure there are no mats. If you feel confident to handle trimming their hair, grab your pair of grooming clippers and trim in the direction of the hair’s growth.
Many dog owners prefer to leave the trimming to professional groomers because of the level of intricacy required. You need to be careful when trimming around the eyes, paws, and inside the ears to make sure you don’t accidentally cut your dog.
#5. Trim your dog’s nails carefully.
Trimming your dog’s nails can get quite tricky, but can be done with nail clippers for pets. Discuss nail trimming with your vet. Ask for their advice on how to do it safely with the best type of nail clipper to use.
Avoid trimming too close to the blood vessel (pinkish area) underneath as this can lead to bleeding.
#6.Check your dog’s ears.
While grooming, it’s important to check your dog’s ears for any signs of infection. If you notice sweet-smelling ears, an unusual discharge, ear mites, or an inflammation inside the ears, take your dog to the vet immediately.
While a great experience, grooming is not for the faint of heart. If you’re feeling nervous or uncertain, look around for a friendly dog groomer near you – they will know what to do.
Looking for a dog groomer around Melbourne, Australia? Give Pawfection Pet Salon a buzz for your grooming needs!