Lots of tasks are increasingly difficult — if not impossible — these days, including taking your dog to the groomer. However, regular grooming can keep your pup healthy and increase his quality of life.
While bathing your dog in the bathtub is fairly straightforward, other grooming tasks might seem more daunting. But just a few simple tips can help you spruce up your pooch in the comfort of your own home.
Brush your dog with the best tool for her breed. Bristle brushes are perfect for short-haired breeds such as a Greyhound. Slicker brushes are preferred for long-haired breeds such as Yorkies, as well as for curly-haired dogs such as Poodles. If your dog has a double coat, like the German Shepherd, try an undercoat rake to remove dead hair near the skin, followed by a slicker brush to tame the top layer of fur.
Examine your dog’s pads regularly for cleanliness and to ensure that they are not dry, cracked or injured. You can order pad moisturizer to nourish and soothe upset paws from your favorite online retailer. Longer-haired dogs sometimes grow extra fur between the toes. While this can be really cute, it can also become matted or cause other problems for your pup. The excess hair should be trimmed to be even with the paw pads, or even slightly shorter. Use small, blunt-edge scissors or small, narrow clippers to carefully trim this fur.
Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed may seem tricky, but a few simple tips can make the process easier. Avoid guillotine-style clippers, which crush the nail and cause pain. Use scissor-style clippers instead, and choose the smallest clippers your dog’s nails will allow (only giant breeds need really large clippers) so that you can have better control. Avoid the quick, a bundle of nerves and blood vessels inside the nail. Look for this dark stem in the nail; you can hold the nail up to a window or light to see it better. However, the quick will be more difficult to see in dogs with black nails. If you accidentally clip the quick and cause bleeding, use a styptic pencil or cauterizing powder like Kwik Stop.
Keep your dog’s ears clean by wiping them out weekly with a moist cotton ball or soft cloth. Check to be sure the ears don’t smell bad since a foul or yeasty odor may be a sign of infection and require a trip to the vet. Also, look into the ear canal for signs of redness, swelling, discharge or debris. Again, issues here might require an appointment with the veterinarian when you are able to get back out and about.
Keep your pup’s smile sparkling with brushing at least a few times per week. Dog toothbrushes, toothpastes, and even kits are abundant, but you can also use a simple washcloth or gauze. Wrap it around your finger and massage the gums and wipe down each tooth. Dental problems in dogs can lead to serious problems including kidney disease and heart disease. Get your dog comfortable with having her teeth cleaned regularly since it is healthy for your pet and can save you from pricey dental work later.