Dog Grooming 101: How to Keep Your Pooch Looking Fab
Golden Retrievers, Labradors, German Shepherds, and Border Collies are among Idahos' most popular dog breeds. These dogs are great with the state's open countryside where ranches are usually found. They usually help their owners in herding, chasing off wildlife, and guarding properties.
The aforementioned tasks suggest that these breeds fall under the working and guardian dog category. It is very important to groom these dogs regularly since they are always exposed to dirt, grime, and parasites from the outdoors.
It may be daunting and time-consuming to groom a large dog, but it is necessary to keep your pet clean and healthy. Besides, you can always opt to book for professional pet grooming services online. Websites like barkidaho.com offer full-service dog baths for dog owners around Idaho. It’s the most convenient option for busy pet owners. But if you want to do-it-yourself, read on to know the basics and essentials of dog grooming.
Grooming Essentials: Equipment and Supplies
Grooming your dogs would require the use of specific tools. There are many choices out in the market, but you might want to consider certain factors before buying any of them. These include your dog's breed, hair length, and size. In general, though, here's a list of tools that you should have in your pet grooming kit.
There are many kinds of brushes for dog hair. The most common are slicker, rake, bristle, and pin brushes. Slicker brushes are used to address matted hair in dogs. This type of brush fits long-haired German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and Border Collies. There are also specially-designed slicker brushes for dogs with shorter hair, but extra care must be observed as their metal teeth can hurt the skin of your dogs.
Rake brushes are closely similar to slicker brushes, except that they have longer teeth. These teeth work well in removing tangles and dead parts of dogs' undercoats. Just like slicker brushes, they should also be used with care because it might cause pain when applied forcefully to your dogs.
On the other hand, bristle brushes are made of tightly packed bristles from natural fibers. These are great for short-haired and shedding dogs. The last type is the pin brush which looks a lot like common hair brushes. This might be good with picking sheds, but they may not be the best choice for dogs with matted hair and undercoats.
- Shampoo and Conditioner
Bathing removes excess sebum in your dog's hair and keeps fleas away. Using a dog shampoo is a must when bathing your dog. Not all shampoo, however, is safe to use on a dog's hair. Some contain harmful chemicals and ingredients such as dyes, fragrances, parabens, and mineral oils. These ingredients can cause skin allergies, irritants, and even cancer.
Clippers are used for cutting or clipping your dog's hair. There are many clippers out there, so a good starting point for deciding which one to get is by simply knowing your dog's breed. From that, you can narrow your options to clippers that are made specifically for German Shepherds, for example.
If there are no clippers made for your dog breed, find something that is commonly used by pet owners whose dog breed is closest to yours. You can also consider factors like the noise, grip comfortability, and the weight of the clipper before finally purchasing one.
- Toenail Clippers
Do you know that well-kept nails help your dog keep its balance? Large dog breeds, like German Shepherds, are prone to hip dysplasia. One cause of hip dysplasia is repeated floor slips. These floor slips are caused by multiple reasons, such as excessive hair growth on the paws and long, untrimmed nails.
Toenail clippers come in a wide variety of types. There's the scissor-type, the guillotine, and the grinder. Each comes with its own pros and cons, so it's essential to know which works best with your dog's breed and personality.
- Toothbrush And Toothpaste
Doggy breath can be unpleasant. Just like in humans, bacteria can also thrive inside a dog's mouth. As a remedy, it's best to include tooth brushing as a part of your dog's grooming routine. To make this enjoyable for your pets, look for dog-friendly flavored toothpaste like chicken or liver.
It's also important that the toothpaste contains a formula that breaks down tartar and plaque. You should also opt for a pet-specific toothbrush to maximize the effects of the toothpaste on your dog's teeth.
Grooming Basics: Best Practices to Keep Your Dog Fab
Now that you have everything you need, it's time to learn about the best practices and techniques in grooming your dog. Brushing, trimming, and bathing your dog can be very tricky since they constantly move around and are usually anxious when you pull out a clipper or any kind of tool. To help you achieve the best results and keep your dog looking clean and fab, here are some best practices to take note of:
- Brush Your Dog’s Hair Daily
It's a well-known fact that brushing your dog's hair can avoid matting. Aside from that, it also allows natural oil distribution throughout the fur, making it look healthy and shiny. It's also one of the best ways that you can bond with your dog.
You should brush your long-haired dogs daily. You can look at their hair or fur type to determine the right brush for the task. Using the wrong one can cause them discomfort and pain. You will notice this if they tend to move away or get aggressive when they see you pulling the brush.
As a dog owner, you should also be aware of the proper brushing technique. It's always proper to brush in the direction of their coat's growth. Not only is it useful in getting rid of sheds, but dogs love it that way too.
- Clip Your Dog's Nails Regularly
You might be excited about the new toenail clipper that you bought for your dog, only to be frustrated when he starts biting you with every attempt you take. This aversion to nail cutting and trimming might have resulted from a painful experience in the past. It can be challenging, but you can make this task easier for you and your pet with the appropriate knowledge and care.
The "quick” is the most important thing to know when you’re cutting your dog's nails. This part is behind the natural curve of their nail. You must not trim or cut beyond the quick because it's filled with nerves and blood vessels. This means that when you cut your dog's toenails up to this part, bleeding will start. This can be a harrowing and traumatic experience for dogs.
If you're a bit worried about cutting through the quick, there are three ways to work around this. The first is to leave nails a little longer. You can also opt to have your dog's nails filed. Lastly, having a local veterinarian or professional grooming center do this for you is a good option.
Another winning technique to successfully cut your dog's nails is to help them get accustomed to the clipper first. Let your dogs be familiar with the way the clipper smells and sounds. Whenever you’re clipping their nails, provide treats and stroke their hair gently to help them get through this stressful process.
- Bathe Your Dog Regularly
In general, dogs can be bathed for at least just once a month. Depending on some factors, however, this frequency can change. Some dog breeds, like the Golden retriever, have water repellent coats. This type of dog can do away with frequent bathing because it helps them keep their natural oil. German Shepherds only need to be bathed once every four to five months.
On the other hand, Labradors need to be washed once every two to three months. Among Idahos top-ranked dogs, the Border Collie can go without bathing for up to six months, as long as it's not dirty.
Some dogs get anxious when they’re about to be bathed. You can help them calm down by brushing their hair before taking a bath. It's also a good practice to talk to them in a calm voice so they'll feel comfortable with the bathing process.
- Don't Forget Ear And Oral Care
Your dog's mouth and ears are also perfect spots for bacteria to grow. These parts are relatively easy to groom. You can start by putting little drops of ear cleaner into your dog's ears. Then massage the base of the ear so the cleaner can make suds and weaken the dirt and wax inside the ear flaps. You can finally finish the task by wiping the ear flaps and the insides with cotton or gauze.
Next, you must also take good care of your dog's mouth. Dogs can have oral problems too. Some of them experience bad breath, gingivitis, and mouth ulcerations. These diseases are usually caused by bacteria and plaque buildup. You can brush your dog's teeth like you do your own. The only difference is, you need to hold your dog's mouth once in a while for the cleaning to cover every spot inside their mouth. You would also need a lot of patience because dogs rarely keep still when they’re getting a toothbrush.
Your dogs are your most reliable companions. With their selfless devotion and unquestionable loyalty, they deserve your love and care. Dog grooming is essential to improve your pooch's quality of life. Aside from its health benefits, regular dog grooming will also keep them looking fabulous all day long.
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