Being a responsible pet owner means that your pet’s basic needs are being met. Aside from food, water and shelter, your pets (dogs especially,) may need help with being groomed from time to time.
Just like you wash your face, body and of course wash and brush your hair, it is important to remember that your pet is completely covered in hair for the most part, and if you are grooming so meticulously, surely your pet also needs the same treatment?
As a bonus it allows you to spend some quality time with your pet, it’s a bonding experience. Starting them young, it gets them used to being handled, touched and makes trips to the groomer and vet less stressful. It also gives you the chance to do a quick all over check - skin, coat, ears, eyes, feet so you will be the first to know of any changes that may require veterinary attention.
When it comes to grooming, there are five things to remember:
1. Washing and Drying
Washingcleans the skin and hair from debris, grease and dead/matted hair. Lightly massaging the skin as you shampoo helps ensure a deep cleanse, which is important for removing dirt and grime (and even flea dirt, which turns the water a muddy red colour). Drying (unless it’s a hot day) helps blow out any excess dead hair, dirt and of course, dries your pet. It’s cold being covered in wet fur.
This should realistically be done everyday for dogs with curly coats (Bichon Frise, Poodle), silky/soft coat (Maltese, Shih Tzu), double coat (Rough Collie, Tibetan Mastiff) or long coats (Afghan, Wheaten Terrier). Great brushes are long/fine-toothed combs, slicker brushes, razor combs and rakes - sometimes even a combination will work better. There are also some fantastic detangling products on the market these days.
- Cowboy Magic Detangler and Shine
- Magictails Shine Serum
3. Cleaning ears and eyes
This should be done very carefully and gently. A soft toothbrush can remove eye discharge when placed on the skin at the corner of the eye and gently brushing down, towards the muzzle/following the tear tracks. For the ears, use a gentle ear cleaner (such as PAW Gentle Ear Cleaner) and a couple of cotton balls. A few drops into the ear canal and a light massage. Leave for a few seconds and gently wipe out and dry using the cotton ball.
4. Trimming nails
Start them as young as possible! This can be tricky. Check out a recent article about nail clipping for more information.