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A Guide To Grooming Your Dog

An important part of looking after your pup is keeping it well groomed. Whilst dogs are able to groom themselves to a degree, there are a few ways that you can help them to stay clean and well-presented. This won’t just help your dog’s appearance – it could make help to avoid various health problems. Here are just a few things to consider when keeping your dog groomed.

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Bathing your dog

Vets and pet care experts have long been in debate over how often you should bathe your dog. Some suggest bathing your dog every week to minimise fleas and infections, whilst other suggest keeping bathing to a minimum as it can strip away important oils in the skin and fur. Most dog owners aim for somewhere in the middle – ideally every couple months. Certain breeds such as poodles and bichon frises can benefit from more regular baths, whilst breeds such as Labradors needs baths much less often (obviously if your dog rolls in muck at any time, feel free to bathe it!).

You’ll need to buy some dog shampoo. There are different types of shampoo for different types of fur. Companies like Wild Wash offer a great range of natural shampoos for all fur types. Brush your dog before bathing and then use the brush to help apply the shampoo. You will need to rinse off this shampoo thoroughly as any excess shampoo left in the fur could cause itching when the fur dries.

Not all dogs will enjoy baths, whilst others may get too excited and won’t want to sit still. It’s worth getting everything set up by the bath first (towels, brushes, shampoo) so that you can easily reach it. It could be worth buying a plug hair trap if you don’t have one already as your canines’ fur could block up the plug hole. Make sure that you’ve got a few towels as a dog’s coat can easily soak up a towel. It could even be worth buying a special dog towel to deal with your animal’s fur. You can alternatively use a hair-dryer, although many dogs don’t like the sound of it (if your dog takes a dislike to the vacuum cleaner, they’ll likely think the same of a hairdryer).

Brushing their fur

Brushing your animal’s fur can help to prevent dirt, lice, ticks and fleas. Dogs with long coats such as German Shepherds will need more regular brushing using a slick brush and then a bristle brush. Short haired breeds may only need to be brushed once a fortnight using a bristle brush and then possibly a polish with a chamois cloth to add some gleam back to their coat. Other shaggy-haired breeds may benefit from using a tangle brush.

If your dog already has fleas, make sure that you’re using a product such as Pet-Lock on top of combing and brushing. This will help to kill any parasites, making it easier to get them out of your animal’s fur. It could be worth taking your dog to the vet’s in some cases to see what treatment they recommend.

On top of being brushed, some dogs may benefit from having their coats trimmed. Dogs with shaggy coats are more likely to attract parasites.

Trimming their nails

Long toenails can be painful for the dog when walking. Every so often these nails may need to be clipped to ease discomfort. Specialist dog nail clippers can be bought to do this. Knowing how much to trim can be difficult to measure – trim off too much and you could cut through the quick causing bleeding and possibly infection.  Some dog-owners may prefer to visit a professional when giving their pooch a pedicure in order to avoid cutting through the quick. It’s worth noting that regularly walking your dog on pavements may be enough to naturally keep their nails worn down.

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Looking after their teeth

Your canine’s canines can start to rot if not given sufficient attention. Dry foods can help to clean your dog’s dentures. There are even specific dental brands out there such as ProDen. On top of this, various chew toys can help to take the plaque off your dog’s teeth such as those made of rubber and rope. It could be worth cleaning toys now and again as they could start to collect bacteria, which could bring on oral infections. Meanwhile, the old-fashioned treat of giving your dog a bone can be great for their teeth, removing plaque whilst also giving them a healthy intake of calcium to build the strength of their teeth.

However, if you truly want to keep your dog’s gnashers healthy, brushing their teeth on a daily basis could be worthwhile. This should be done using a specialist dog toothpaste (regular human toothpastes contain fluoride, which is incredibly toxic to dogs). There are also special dog toothbrushes on the market designed for getting around their teeth. If your dog persists on chewing the brush, it could be worth using a brush that slips over the end of your finger – you can then rub toothpaste into the teeth more easily.

Cleaning their ears

Dog ears can get filled with dirt and earwax, which can then bring on infections. You may be able to clear out wax simply by using cotton balls soaked in water (some dogs don’t like their ears being touched, so it could be worth getting someone else to hold them). For infections, there are plenty of eardrop solutions on the market such as Cerumaural ear flush, which could be more efficient at removing the wax. You may even be able to use a home-made remedy such as white vinegar and water, which is also very effective at fighting infections. In many cases, it could be worth going to the vets if you suspect there to be an infection so that they can recommend the best method of treatment.

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