Keep the Allergies Out With These Spring Dog Cleaning Tips

Spring is here, and the inevitable cleaning is well underway in many households nationwide. Part of that is spring dog cleaning — a chance for you to give your furry friend a refreshing makeover as well as an opportunity to clear out a winter’s worth of dander, shed fur, and other unwanted things your pet may have dragged in or dropped off in your home over the colder months.

Here are a few tips to get your home and pup ready for the warmer season ahead.

Help Your Dog Out with Keeping Her Coat Clean

First on our list of spring dog cleaning tips is a good, old-fashioned brushing. And we don’t mean the normal 1-2 minute brushing you might give her just to keep her coat neat and tidy. We mean a real brushing. Consider a product that will remove excess hair from her undercoat. This will help prevent shedding and also keep your dog cooler. Remember that certain dog breeds will need to be brushed more frequently than others. Learn more about properly grooming your dog.

Remember to bathe your dog frequently as well. A spring dog bath will not only help keep your dog’s coat clean and fresh but will also help to clean the skin further down. This is important, as the winter months can be hard on pets’ skin just as it can on humans. Be sure to use a shampoo that won’t dry your dog’s skin out with each bathing — dry skin will result in more dander and more issues with allergies. Learn more about keeping your dog’s coat clean during the spring months.

Medications Can Help with an Allergen-Inducing Spring Dog

Whether you already have a dog or have been considering adding one to your family, it’s important to take proper precautions for anyone with an existing allergy to dogs. Certain medications and immunotherapy can help members of your household will help alleviate any allergy symptoms you or your family members may have.

Clean Your Home — and Its Air — Thoroughly

As the weather begins to warm up, your pet will start to shed. Even if you have a breed that doesn’t typically shed much, some shedding is expected, so it’s important to keep your living space as clean as possible. In addition to your normal routine cleaning, deep cleaning under couches and chairs, appliances, rugs, and tables should be performed to clear any hair or dander that may have accumulated there over the colder months. Also remember to clean your dog’s bedding as this can be a significant source of hair accumulation.

Hair removal throughout your home is important, but just as important is ensuring the air inside your home is clean, too. Don’t rely on your furnace filter to catch everything, even if you have a higher-end allergen-catching filter. Consider an air purifier to help catch dander, hair, and other pet-related allergens and cycle the air more rapidly. And remember that if you open the windows for fresh air, you’re also letting more allergens inside — so an air purifier will be very helpful in catching pet allergens and natural allergens from outside.

A Clean Spring Dog is a Happy Spring Dog

With warmer weather comes more opportunities for outdoor fun and adventure — as well as mud, water, and other grime. As you start to take your dog outdoors for walks and other fun, remember to keep her clean when you return home. Not only will this help keep your home fresh this spring, but it will also keep your pet feeling fresh as well.

While you won’t need to give your dog a full bath after just one walk around the neighborhood, if it’s sprinkling or if your dog gets into some muddy mischief, consider rinsing her off. The last thing you need is a dirty home and a dirty spring dog scratching herself all over your rugs and furniture.

Remember that spring is also a time when ticks and fleas start to show up, so frequent bathing and protective medications or applications are important to keep her free from disease, insect bites, and irritating itching. Bathe her frequently to remove any unwanted guests, keep up on your treatments and medications, and brush her frequently.

Learn More About Allergies and Dogs

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.

Start Young

Socializing your puppy means he experiences everything the world has to offer. The more he is exposed to something, the more he learns 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 him, I get a treat, for example. Grooming should be a part of this process. As a puppy, start handling him, touching all the parts of his body, his paws, his tail, his tummy and his ears. Reward him and praise him as you go. You want him 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 him. You may find that giving him a chew to distract him will help or putting a dollop of peanut butter on the kitchen cupboard helps encourage him to stand whilst you handle him.

Introduce The Tools

Once you are confident he 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 matts, 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 matts 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 grips 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 home from work, or family issues have taken over. 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. Dog’s like routine too, they will soon get into the swing of things if you are consistent.

Grooming Isn’t Just Brushing

Whilst the tools we’ve mentioned only really look at brushing your pooch, when we say grooming, we mean the whole caboodle. Fido needs his 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 plucking 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 of grooming your faithful friend!

More Than Just One Flea

Fleas. They’re the tiny little insects that can be the ruin of us all. Ok, that may be a little dramatic, but one flea can quickly turn into hundreds of fleas overnight. Fleas are a serious issue and need to be addressed in a timely manner to avoid future complications. Even more unsettling, if your house becomes infested with fleas the cost for getting them out can be costly, that’s why we recommend stopping fleas before they become an issue. Year-round flea prevention is essential for dogs and cats alike.

 

How Fleas Affect Your Dog

Flea allergy dermatitis is a common ailment associated with flea bites. Though each bite from a flea can cause minor skin irritation, some dogs can develop an allergy to the saliva of the flea. Just one flea bite can result in significant irritation, itchiness, and aggravation, making for one very unhappy cat or dog. Flea bites can usually be seen most predominantly at the base of the tail, but small red scabs from the flea bites will most likely be present all over your pet’s body.

Tapeworms are another common problems associated with fleas. Although they are not transmitted by bites, fleas cause tapeworm infestations when the dog grooms and ingests a flea carrying the tapeworm larva. We know; ew. After ingestion, the tapeworm larva continues to develop in the dog’s gastrointestinal tract. When developed, the head of the tapeworm will attach to the intestinal wall, and small egg-filled segments periodically break off and are passed out the rectum.

Lastly, flea bite anemia can occur in severe flea infestations or in tiny puppies. When a flea bites, it feeds on blood and when many fleas are feeding at once significant blood loss can occur. After a while, if a severe flea problem is left unchecked, those same fleas can be the cause of significant blood loss for your cat or dog. At that point, blood transfusions, iron supplementation, and hospitalization can be necessary. Sadly, if the infestation becomes too severe, some pets may not survive the resulting anemia.

 

Flea Dirt Explained

You may have heard the term “flea dirt” during your research into fleas. The term can actually be a little confusing. Flea dirt is not dirt at all; it’s actually flea feces. This waste usually looks like little black pepper flakes on cats and dogs. It’s typically easy to spot flea dirt on lighter colored animals, but it can be found easier on darker colored animals along their back or by the space where their tail meets their back. You can also usually spot flea dirt on your pet’s bedding.

How can you find flea dirt on your dog or cat? By separating your pet’s hair and looking at the skin, you should be able to see this flea identifier. There are also special flea combs that will pull out any small objects such as fleas or flea dirt from your pet’s coat. If you’re not sure if you’re looking at real dirt or flea dirt, place a small amount of the substance on a damp paper towel. Flea dirt will make a reddish or down spot as opposed to a deep mud brown color like real dirt.

 

The Life Cycle of a Flea

The flea’s life cycle has four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

  1. Eggs: The adult flea uses your dog as a place to take its blood meals and breed. Fleas either lay eggs directly on the dog where they may drop off or deposit eggs into the immediate surroundings (your home or backyard). Because the female may lay several hundred eggs during the course of its life, the number of fleas present intensifies the problem. The eggs hatch into larvae that live in carpeting, cracks or corners of the dog’s living area.
  2. Larvae: The larvae survive by ingesting dried blood, animal dander, and other organic matter.
  3. Pupa: To complete the life cycle, larvae develop into pupa that hatch into adults. The immediate source of adult fleas within the house is the pupa, not the dog.
  4. Adult: The adult flea emerges from the pupa, then hops onto the host.
    • This development occurs more quickly in a warm, humid environment. Pupa can lie dormant for months, but under temperate conditions, fleas complete their life cycle in about three weeks. The inside of your home may provide a warm environment to allow fleas to thrive year round.

 

Preventing and Treating Fleas

As one might expect, flea control can be very time consuming, expensive, and difficult. The good news is that currently, with the newer flea products on the market, flea control is much safer, more effective, and environmentally friendly. Current flea control efforts center on oral and topical treatments. These products not only treat existing flea problems, they are also very useful for prevention. In fact, prevention is the most effective and easiest method of flea control.

What Are My Options: Grooming

When you take your dog to the groomer, your pet usually comes out looking spiffy. However, grooming isn’t just about looks. Dog haircuts help ensure that your dog stays clean and comfortable throughout the year. Most groomers recommend that you perform dog grooming every 6 to 8 weeks, however, this could depend on the breed of dog, time of year, and desired dog hair style. Knowing your options ahead of time can help you communicate with the groomer and set up a productive grooming schedule.

What Does Grooming Entail?

Grooming is a general expression that may refer to a variety of procedures. This guide to grooming explains that grooming can include bathing, shampooing, blow drying, haircuts, trimming the nails, or expressing the anal glands. You can groom your dog yourself or bring the dog to a professional. Many pet owners feel comfortable washing their dogs or trimming their nails, however, they may not be as proficient at styling their dog’s fur, this is where a good groomer will come into the picture. Sure, you could simply buzz the dog with trimmers but some dogs are extremely sensitive or don’t like the noise. Additionally, you might not know how short or long to make the cut and working around some of the more sensitive areas such as  the paws, tail and face can be difficult. Grooming a dog requires special tools and a lot of practice, but with the right knowledge you can become a home grooming pro.

Typical Dog Haircut Styles

When you go to the groomer, you may just want to lop off some fur to keep your dog cooler in the summer. If you have a particular result in mind, you should know how to use the right “groomer-speak.” When speaking with your groomer always be sure to specify  the length as well as the areas that you want the groomer to trim even if you’re using one of the terms below.

Teddy Bear Trim

According to Pet Helpful, the teddy bear cut is also known as the puppy cut. The length is usually uniform all over the body and is supposed to resemble the length of your dog’s fur when it was a puppy. Typically, the fur is usually left about ½-inch to 1-inch long. The style of the cut around the face may differ. Some groomers leave the hair on the legs longer when they do a teddy bear trim. The hair around the face is often left untouched with this type of style.

Lamb Trim

A lamb trim is similar to a teddy bear cut but with this style the fur on the legs may be cut shorter. The fur around the face may also be trimmed as opposed to left untouched as it would be with the teddy bear style.

Summer Cut

In the summer, you can keep your long-haired dog cool by shearing its fur. A summer cut is usually an all-over short style with some preferring to leave the ear and tail hair longer.

Kennel Cut

Kennel cuts are traditionally very short. Some groomers consider a kennel cut to be the same as a puppy trim so make sure that you know what you’re getting by thoroughly discussing your wants and needs with your groomer prior to starting the appointment.

The philosophy behind a kennel cut is that you would only keep your hunting or show dog’s fur short during the offseason. Hunting dogs may need to keep their long coats to protect them from the elements when they’re outdoors and show dogs are meticulously styled during the show season. Longer coats require more upkeep than shorter coats, and some owners prefer to take a break from that maintenance whenever they can.

Breed Cut

Each breed has a traditional cut. Some require more maintenance than others. Breeds that have especially distinct styles are schnauzers, spaniels, and poodles. Our breed profiles can offer a look at what each breed cut is traditionally meant to look like.

Top Knot

Many owners of small dogs prefer to keep the hair on the head pulled into a top knot. This can prevent the hair from getting in the eyes, top knots are often times accented with bows for added style and fun.

Tips for Deciding on Dog Hair Styles

Should you keep your dog groomed with a long or short cut? One thing to consider is your dog’s comfort. Does your dog’s fur get tangled frequently? Does dirt or poop get stuck in the fur? Does your dog’s fur get wet when it urinates? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, tell your groomer. A professional will be able to cut certain areas to an appropriate length to prevent these issues.

Get Out the Duster — How to Prepare for Dogs Shedding in Winter

Every dog owner knows that when spring rolls around, your dog’s fur is suddenly everywhere but on your dog. During the winter, you might think you get a break but you’re still finding dog hair around your home. What gives? Dogs shedding in winter isn’t actually all that uncommon. What kind of dog you have, along with whether your dog lives outside or inside can play a big part in your dog’s shedding cycle.

If you have a breed that is known for it’s thicker coat like a collie or an Australian shepherd, you can expect for there to be a lot of shedding in your home.

These dogs have double coats, meaning both an undercoat made up of softer fur and a topcoat that tends to be coarser to help repel water. Dogs with single coats aren’t as notorious for shedding, but they can still lose more hair than you’re expecting. More fur means more shedding, but what makes these dogs start shedding in the winter?

Why Are Your Dogs Shedding in Winter?

All dogs have a shedding cycle that is controlled by the growth of their hair. When the hairs die, they fall out and regrow causing the cycle to start over again.

However, dogs shedding in winter is mainly caused by the amount of light in the day. Hair growth is stimulated by light, and with daylight decreasing in winter by the day dogs are more apt to begin shedding. In the winter, dogs are shedding their light spring coat to make room for a thick and warm coat that will help them get through the cold season.

If your dog lives outside, this change will be much more prominent because your dog is more directly affected by the changes in light. If your dogs are inside all the time, the lights and temperature are more controlled. This will cause your dog’s shedding to be more regular throughout the year, rather than just in the winter and spring.

The main cause of dogs shedding in winter is that their bodies are making room for a protective winter coat. The more dramatic shedding we all know comes in the spring when this winter coat is no longer needed.

How to Avoid Allergies From Dogs Shedding In Winter

If you’re a dog lover with allergies, you know that your dog’s shedding brings a bit of suffering on your end. Once you’ve made it through allergy season, relief is the light at the end of the tunnel. But when your dogs begin shedding in winter, everything starts falling apart. We know there’s no way you’re going to stop being a dog person, but there are easy ways to keep your allergies at bay so you can finally have the peace you’re looking for.

Start with your home. A clean home is a healthy home, and making sure you’re wiping down surfaces and vacuuming frequently can help keep itchy eyes and a runny nose from becoming a damper on your holiday plans. There are also a few other tricks to keep you breathing easy through the cold winter months.

  • If you don’t have one already, consider using HEPA filters in your home. These electrostatic high-efficiency particulate air cleaners can be used throughout your entire home and will help give your home cleaner air.
  • Rugs, curtains, upholstered furniture, and even carpet are all places that can harbor dandruff from your dog. Keep these places extra clean or consider keeping your dog out of these areas to minimize allergies.
  • Give your dog frequent baths. Twice a month should do the trick, and if your dog acts the same way around water as he does around vacuums, a damp cloth and thorough brushing can help as well.


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Products that Aid With Dogs Shedding in Winter

The biggest thing you can do to prepare for dogs shedding in winter is to regularly brush your dog. It may take up a bit of time out of your day, but it will significantly help the amount of hair your dog is losing around the house.

You would be surprised how much hair you can brush off of your dog once you take the time to do it, especially if your dog only has a single coat. But don’t worry, your dog won’t end up naked, this amount of shedding is completely natural. Depending on whether your dog has a single or double coat can affect what type of brush you should use to prevent shedding. When you pick a brush, always make sure you’re getting one that fits your hand so you can easily grip it while grooming your dog.

So Fresh and So Clean: Top Grooming Tips for Your Dog

Keeping your dog healthy means paying regular attention to bathing, grooming, and brushing. Even dogs with short hair will benefit from this often overlooked aspect of his health. For longhaired dogs, owner grooming is essential if matting is to be avoided. In general, grooming helps to remove flakes of dry skin, dirt, and debris from the hair coat. It also removes shed hairs and helps to stimulate sebaceous glands that condition the dog’s coat.

Grooming is an important aspect of your pet’s health care throughout his life. As your pet ages, taking an active role in grooming becomes even more important. Older pets often groom less, may have trouble cleaning those “hard to reach places,” or may develop skin conditions that require extra attention. You will have to take a more active role in keeping your pet clean and monitoring for any changes in skin and coat that may signal medical problems.

Whether he’s a puppy or a senior citizen, grooming does more than just make your dog look and smell nice. Regular grooming will also help your dog stay healthy and feel better. Now that you know why to groom, here are some tips on how to groom.

The Right Shampoo

You’ve probably seen that expensive dog shampoo at the store and wondered, "Why can’t I just wash my dog with the same shampoo I use?" Quite simply, human shampoos and dog shampoos are not created equal, as dog skin and human skin are not alike.

People skin is more acidic than dog skin, and people have sweat glands and dogs don’t have them on their haired skin. Thus, a shampoo that’s too acidic (because it’s pH-balanced for humans) and/or too harsh (because it’s designed for those with moister skin) can lead to dryness and irritation, the most often observed outcomes of an inappropriate shampoo selection.

But there are more perils than just these. The skin is, after all, a major organ that plays a huge role in immunological defense. By drying the skin we’re stripping the oils and the top layers from an animal’s skin, thereby compromising the body’s natural barrier against infection. And when these defenses are disrupted, the skin — indeed, the entire dog — can become predisposed to infections (usually by the yeast and bacteria that live on the surface of the skin).

The Right Brush

Consider your dog’s hair coat before selecting any grooming tool. Short-coated breeds are best groomed with a soft bristle brush. The brush will pull up any dead hair or skin and distribute natural oils throughout your dog’s coat. The soft bristles are also gentle on the underside of dogs, where the hair coat may be thin and in some areas may even be bare. Brushes range in size, type of handle, and bristle. Choose one appropriate to your dog’s size and coat and one that fits in your hand comfortably.

Medium-coated dogs require a bit more than just brushing. Coats of medium length should be first groomed with a slicker or wire brush to pull up dead hair or undercoat. A slicker brush contains small metal pins set into a rubber backing. They may have a plastic coating on the tip for comfort. A wire brush has small thin wires that are angled at the tip and do an excellent job of combing out loose hair and undercoat. Comb your dog first, and then finish with a good brushing to distribute oil. Some grooming tools are double-sided containing both brush and comb.

Long-coated dogs need the most grooming attention to keep their coats beautiful and healthy. These pets should be brushed every day, just as you would your own hair. If you are attempting to groom a neglected coat, you may want to begin with a mat rake. Mat rakes and shedding combs are designed for loosening matted hair and removing it comfortably, provided it is not matted down to the skin.

Dealing with Mud

Does rainy weather have you cringing in anticipation of your dog dragging in mud? First, take a look at the areas your dog frequents; is there any ground cover? Is there anything you can use to cover the mud? Straw can be messy in and of itself, but it can also cover the mud, is inexpensive, and is biodegradable. Another more expensive, but permanent, solution is to build a patio between the yard and the back door. Ten feet or so of flagstones or concrete can make a huge difference, especially when you top it with outdoor matting made specifically for messy situations. These carpet-type mats (as compared to small welcome mats) have stiff bristles or rubber teeth that are made to get the mud off of shoes or boots and do just as good a job on paws.

Top Medical Reasons For Grooming Your Dog

Keeping your dog healthy means paying regular attention to bathing, grooming and brushing. Even dogs with short hair will benefit from this often overlooked aspect of his health. Grooming does more than just make your dog look and smell nice. Here are the top medical reasons why regular grooming will help your dog stay healthy and feel better.

The Better To See You With

Keeping your dog’s face free of long hair that can irritate the eyes will make him feel more comfortable and prevent eye problems. Many dogs, such as the shih tzu, Lhasa apso and poodle, have long hair that hangs in the eyes causing irritation and damage to the cornea. Check your dog to see if there are hairs lying on the eye. These should be trimmed by a groomer, or drawn up in a bow to keep your dog’s face clean and clear. NEVER use scissors or sharp implements around the eyes.

Some dogs have a problem with drainage from the eyes. This problem may have many causes. Check with your veterinarian to help rule out any medical conditions that can be solved. If the drainage is persistent, make sure you keep it wiped away. Skin and fur that stays constantly moist can discolor and become infected.

My, What Big Ears You Have

Those long floppy ears are endearing but they cover your dog’s ear canal creating a moist warm environment that lacks air circulation. This can cause your dog to suffer from chronic ear infections that can be difficult to cure and can re-occur. Cocker spaniels, shar-peis and golden retrievers are just a few of the breeds that suffer from this all too common problem. Infections that go unchecked can result in serious and painful ear disease.

 

Learn how to clean your dog’s ears to help prevent these problems. Your veterinarian can show you how to clean them properly and advise you on the use of an ear cleaning solution. Have your groomer shave the hair from the inside of the pinna (the floppy part of the ear) to allow for air circulation, and gently remove any hair that may be growing in the ear canals. Once again, NEVER use scissors or sharp implements in or near the ears. A healthy ear should look and smell clean. Any foul odor, discharge or excessive scratching should be immediately investigated.

Say Cheese

Dental disease in dogs is common. Checking your dog’s mouth and teeth will help you spot trouble before it becomes a big problem. Your veterinarian can show you how to keep your dog’s teeth clean with brushes and toothpastes designed specifically for dogs. Your older dog may not think too much of dental care. If you can’t get him to accept having his teeth brushed, make it a regular habit to check his teeth for tartar, chipping or excessive wear, or any lump or bump that looks suspicious. Dental disease can be very painful and serve as a source of infection for the rest of the body, so check those teeth and tell your dog’s doctor if you find a problem.

Everybody Into the Tub

Most every dog will need a bath a few times a year. This need will vary depending on your dog’s lifestyle, breed and any skin problems he may have. Bathing helps remove old hair, dirt and oil from the skin. The physical action of being washed is pleasant to most dogs and it may make you aware of a lump or bump that may have appeared or changed suddenly.

This is also a good time to check for parasites such as fleas and ticks. Dogs that swim in natural waterways such as lakes, ponds and rivers, or those lucky enough to visit the beach should be rinsed after every outing. There are a lot of different shampoos and conditioners for every type and color of dog. Your groomer or veterinarian can advise you if your dog has special needs. Be sure to protect your dog’s eyes with a little mineral oil or eye ointment before bathing.

Break out the Brushes

Between baths, brushing your dog will help keep the coat clean and free of hair mats. Mats can be irritating and cause skin disease under the hair. Longhaired dogs require everyday brushing to keep their coats healthy. Most dogs enjoy grooming and often wait eagerly to be combed. If your dog’s fur is badly matted, he may need to be shaved. This is a job for a groomer. NEVER attempt to cut of hair mats with a scissors; you may cut the skin as well. As your dog’s hair grows back, begin with daily brushing to keep the new hair soft and tangle free.

Grooming Supplies for Dogs

Grooming is a lifelong part of your pet’s good health. Regular brushing, bathing and nail trimming add to your pet’s appearance – and it feels great, too. Here is a list of supplies to keep on hand that will make grooming easy.

Brushes, Combs and Rakes

Depending on your pet’s hair coat you will need a brush or comb for removing tangles, dead hair and mats. A mat rake will help for long hair. Brushing and combing should be done before bathing because wet hair is much harder to work through.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Choose a shampoo or conditioner appropriate for your pet’s needs. Skin, color and hair coat type should influence your choices. Most longhaired breeds need a conditioner or finishing spray to make the hair manageable.

 

Bath Essentials

You’ll need a few items to make bathing easier. Use a rubber mat in the bottom of the sink or tub so your pet can stand securely. You may need to use a leash or harness to keep active or frightened pets from jumping out of the tub. Have a small bucket ready to dilute any shampoo or dip you may be using. Place cotton balls in the ears to prevent water and soap from getting in the ear canal, and a drop of eye ointment or mineral oil in each eye to prevent soap burns. Protect yourself with a rubber apron and latex gloves if you are applying dips or medicated shampoos.

Have a few fluffy towels ready for drying. If you have a large dog, try a rubber grooming glove or curry to strip off excess water before drying.

After the bath is complete, use a blow dryer to dry the hair quickly. This is most important in the cooler months. Some pets will be frightened and resistant to a blow dryer initially, but with repeated exposure and patience, many come to endure this procedure.

 

Nail Trimmers

Don’t forget to trim your pet’s nails on a regular basis. Overgrown nails are prone to splitting and breaking and can make walking painful.

Summary List

  • Brush, comb and rake
  • Shampoo, dip and conditioner
  • Cotton balls and mineral oil
  • Drying mitt and curry
  • Towels
  • Bath mat, leash and harness
  • Hair dryer
  • Apron and gloves
  • Bucket
  • Nail trimmer

 

Pooch Pampering: How to Groom Your Dog Like a Pro

For some dog owners, it may seem pointless at first.

You set aside time each day or week to groom your canine companion, carefully and lovingly brushing and cleaning his beautiful coat. With a comb and a bath, you ensure his coat is clean and devoid of mats, tangles, fleas, and ticks.

Yet once your task is complete, your dog immediately commences undoing your efforts. He heads outdoors and locates mud and burrs, showing little appreciation for your grooming abilities and seemingly working every bit as hard to “ungroom” himself.

But before you become discouraged by this “game” you and your pooch play, this constant cycle of grooming-and-ungrooming, it’s important to recognize grooming’s true value. While we all prefer not to have a stinky companion, grooming is about much more than simply smelling and looking good – it’s about promoting your dog’s overall well-being.

Not only does regular grooming relax a dog and offer human-canine bonding time, but it also affords the owner an opportunity to inspect the dog for overall health. This type of inspection can address problems ranging from lumps and cuts to ticks and skin conditions to dirty ears and eye health.

At the end of a proper grooming session, both owner and dog should be feeling good about the experience.

Grooming Your Dog

Although it’s often overlooked, grooming represents an essential component to your dog’s health program. Routine brushing and combing removes dead hair and dirt while preventing matting. Because it stimulates the blood supply to the skin, grooming also gives your canine a healthier and shinier coat.

Start regular grooming when you first bring your dog home and make it part of his daily or weekly routine. Purchase a quality brush and comb and get your dog used to being handled. Praise your dog when he holds still and soon he will come to enjoy the extra attention.

A proper grooming regimen should consist of:

  • Brushing: Your dog’s skin and coat reflect his overall health and nutritional status. For most dogs, a good brushing once or twice a week is adequate.
  • Bathing: Bathing your dog every month or two isn’t unreasonable, but some dogs will require more frequent cleanings. A good rule of thumb is to bathe your canine only when his coat gets dirty or begins to smell “doggy.”
  • Nail Trimming: Ask your vet to show you the correct technique, then get started by getting your dog used to having his paws handled. Once you start using clippers, go slowly: Try clipping just a few nails in one sitting. Maintain a regular schedule and be persistent. Your canine will eventually learn to cooperate.

Top Medical Reasons For Grooming Your Dog

Regular grooming isn’t just for show dogs – it’s important for making any dog a model of strong health. Brushing your dog will help keep his coat clean and free of hair mats, which can be irritating and cause skin disease under the hair. Most dogs enjoy being combed and will eagerly await this part of their routine.

During a grooming session, focus on inspecting:

  • Eyes: Keeping your dog’s face free of long hair that can irritate the eyes will make him feel more comfortable and prevent eye problems. Some dogs have a problem with drainage from the eyes. If the drainage is persistent, you should keep it wiped away to prevent infection, then consult your vet.
  • Ears: Long ears cover your dog’s ear canal creating a moist warm environment that lacks air circulation. This can cause your dog to suffer from chronic ear infections. Your veterinarian can show you how to clean them properly and advise you on the use of an ear cleaning solution.
  • Teeth: Dental disease in dogs is common. Checking your dog’s mouth and teeth will help you spot trouble before it becomes a serious issue. Your veterinarian can show you how to keep your dog’s teeth clean with brushes and toothpastes designed specifically for canines.

Grooming Supplies for Dogs

The right supplies will make regular grooming both manageable and enjoyable for dog owners. A full grooming arsenal should encompass items for both brushing and bathing. It’s generally recommended to brush your canine prior to bathing because wet hair is much more difficult to work through with a comb or brush.

Supplies that typically prove handy for regular grooming purposes include:

  • Brush, comb, and rake
  • Shampoo, dip, and conditioner
  • Cotton balls and mineral oil
  • Towels
  • Bath mat, leash, and harness
  • Hair dryer (low-heat)
  • Apron and gloves
  • Nail trimmer

How to Bathe Your Dog

Dealing with Tear Stains in Dogs

Tear staining is a common problem for dogs. The pesky brown streaks creeping down from their dog’s inner eye corners drive pet owners everywhere crazy – but what are they? This is one of the most common questions I answer from pet parents as a veterinarian. Below is information on what is tear staining as well as how to treat it in dogs.

What is Tear Staining and Why Does it Occur in Dogs?

Tear staining refers to the browning of hairs near the inner corner of the eye. We see tear staining most often in white and light-colored dogs. Most of the time tear staining is normal and not of concern (other than perhaps making the dog appear “less cute” to his owner).

Tear staining occurs when a chemical called porphyrin, a breakdown product of blood in the tears, interacts with the light and is oxidized. This causes a brownish stain of the hair at the inner aspect of the eye.

What is the Significance of Tear Staining in Dogs?

Most often this is nothing more than a cosmetic problem. When there is a real medical problem involved, it often leads to excess tears and excessive tear staining.

Medical problems that would cause excessive tearing (epiphora) include: having a foreign object in the eye, having a scratch or lesion on the eyeball itself (corneal ulceration), or having a hair growing inward towards the eye and irritating it. If you are unsure if there is an underlying medial problem with your dog – please see your veterinarian.

So, is there cause for treatment if there is no medical problem? No.

Treatment Options for Excessive Tearing in Dogs

You may have heard of these products or even purchased them: Angel Eyes, Tear Stain Away, Pet Spark, etc. Over-the-counter medications aimed at treating tear staining are a dime a dozen. These products contain the antibiotic tylosin. The problem with this is two-fold.

The Danger of Tear Staining Products in Dogs

The first issue is that the exact amount of antibiotic in the product is not specified on the label, which means your dog is ingesting an unknown amount of the drug every day. Obviously, if you’re going to use a drug, you should at the very least know how much is being used. An alternative to these is an accurately dosed capsule, which can be fulfilled by a compounding pharmacy with a prescription from your veterinarian – if it is medically warranted.

The second problem with these OTC tear-staining medications is the central issue itself: is it even appropriate to use an antibiotic daily for a cosmetic problem? Overuse of antibiotics is responsible for antibiotic resistance of bacteria in the environment and, in general, bacteria that becomes resistant to tylosin also becomes resistant to other bigger antibiotics.

With the overwhelming majority of tear-staining cases being simply a cosmetic issue, perhaps non-antibiotic treatment could be used instead, though it is admittedly less effective. The simplest treatment: gentle daily washing of this area of your pet’s fur. All you need is warm water and a paper towel, cotton ball, or washcloth.

All in all, the overuse of unnecessary medications is bad for everyone even if it doesn’t immediately impact your pet. If your dog seems to have excessive tear staining, talk to a vet to ensure there is no medical cause.

Important Signs of Eye Problems in Dogs

While tear staining is typically a non-medical issue, other eye problems can have very serious causes and consequences.

Here are some signs that you should keep an eye out for:

  • Closed eyes
  • Squinting or sensitivity to light
  • Rubbing or scratching at your dog's eyes (this can cause damage! – call your vet immediately)
  • Discharge and crust collecting at the eyes (a little normal daily accumulation is normal, but a change in the amount is a sign that something abnormal may be brewing)
  • Lack of or excessive tearing
  • Red or white eyelid linings (they should be pink)
  • Cloudiness or change in eye color
  • Change in color to the whites of the eye
  • Unequal pupil sizes
  • A visible third eyelid popping out towards the bottom of the eye (called a “cherry eye”)
  • Bulging of the eye

Tips to Keep Your Dogs Eyes Healthy