The Ultimate How-To Guide for Grooming a Dog at Home
Along with their daily walks and mental stimulation, there is another important part of being a pet parent; maintaining a regular grooming schedule at home.
Even if you attend appointments at your local grooming salon, there are still jobs that need to be done at home, this is especially true for large or high maintenance dogs.
We have put together 5 top tails for grooming your pooch at home.
Socializing your puppy means they experience everything the world has to offer. The more they are exposed to something, the more they learn it’s nothing to be feared and potentially, that when certain things happen, good things happen too!
When I walk past the neighbor’s yappy dog and ignore them, I get a treat, for example. Grooming should be a part of this process. As a puppy, start handling them, touching all the parts of their body, their paws, their tail, their tummy and ears. Reward and praise them as you go. You want them to learn that being handled is nothing to be worried about. Start in short sessions, a couple of minutes here and there. Slowly increase the time spent handling them. You may find that giving them a chew to distract them will help or putting a dollop of peanut butter on the kitchen cupboard helps encourage them to stand while you handle them.
Introduce the Tools
Once you are confident they can tolerate being handled, now you need to introduce the tools of your trade. These will vary depending on the breed of dog you have. For double-coated breeds, a rake and metal comb will be your life saver. For tight, curly-coated breeds, a slicker brush and metal comb should be the top of your tool list! For any breeds who suffer with knots or mats, so again those curly coated breeds, you may want to invest in a de-matting knife. Not as brutal as it sounds, it simply cuts through knots and mats to make it as pain free as possible to remove them. For soft, sleek-coated breeds you may want to invest in a rubber paddle brush. These have rubber nobbles which grip loose hair, removing it as you brush.
Get Into a Routine
It’s easy to let life get in the way – you’re running late from work or have family issues to take care of. But if you get into the routine of grooming, you’re less likely to forget. Maybe you will groom your faithful friend before work, maybe just before bed. Dogs like routine too. They will soon get into the swing of things if you are consistent.
Grooming Isn’t Just Brushing
While the tools we’ve mentioned only deal with brushing your pooch, when we say grooming, we mean the whole caboodle. Fido needs their ears and eyes checked regularly and cleaned. You can clean their eyes by simply dampening some cotton pads and wiping around the area. You may find a specific dog safe ear cleaner keeps their ears grime free. Pay attention if your dog is a poodle or poodle cross. They regularly need their ears plucked, due to the hair growing inside their ear canal. Failure to keep on top of this often results in ear infections!
Brush Their Teeth Too
Just like humans, dogs get plaque and tartar build up. The best way to prevent this is to brush their teeth. Again, introduce it as early as possible. Start by just letting them sniff and explore the toothbrush and toothpaste. Introduce short sessions – it may only be 20-30 seconds for the first time. Praise throughout and reward when you have finished. You want Fido to learn that tooth brushing isn’t that bad, especially if there’s a treat at the end of it!
Studies have shown that brushing your dog’s teeth only once a week shows no improvement in plaque and tartar build up, so several sessions throughout the week are necessary to keep those pearly whites strong and healthy! Not only that, but bacteria growth in the mouth has been known to move around the body, causing other health issues too.
Grooming at home is a huge part of being a pet parent. By starting young, you stand the best chance of making it as stress-free as possible, for both of you. Choose the right tools for the job and regularly praise and reward throughout. Getting into a regular routine gives you the best chance of staying on top of it, but seek the advice of a qualified groomer if there is ever a time you are unsure when grooming your faithful friend!