Regularly grooming your dog at home is important to keep them healthy and smelling fresh.
There are four routine grooming habits that you can do at home to help maintain your pet’s health. Learn how to groom your dog through brushing their coat, washing them, cleaning their ears and cutting their nails.
Make this an enjoyable experience for your dog by only grooming your dog when they are in a calm and relaxed mood, and maintaining a positive tone throughout. You should introduce a grooming brushing routine to your dog when they’re a young puppy so they’re accustomed to you touching and inspecting various parts of their body.
Step 1: How to brush a dog
Step one in grooming your dog is brushing. Brushing is important to remove loose fur and dirt from your dog’s coat. This allows your dog’s skin to breathe and stay healthy, and reduces the amount of fur that is shed on your furniture. It also helps to spread natural oils throughout your dog’s coat to increase its shine, and gives you time to bond with your pet. It’s a great idea to brush your dog at the same time every day and use this time to check your dog’s skin and coat for ticks, lumps, cuts and other skin issues.
Brush your dog’s coat in the direction that it grows, and be gentle and patient with any tangles. Sensitive areas that you should focus on are their face, ears, neck ruffs, and any feathering on their legs. If you notice any mats in your dog’s coat, try to remove them with a coat conditioner. If you’re unable to detangle the mat, we highly recommend that you do not attempt to cut it off with scissors as you may accidentally cut your dog’s skin. Instead, have a professional groomer at a Petbarn Grooming salon remove the matting.
Depending on your dog’s coat type, there are a variety of brushes, combs, rakes and grooming gloves that will best suit their needs. Ask the friendly team members at your local Petbarn which combination of grooming products will keep your dog’s coat in the optimum condition.
Step 2: How to wash and bathe a dog
The next step is to wash and bathe your dog, although you will not have to do this every time you groom them. How often you should wash your dog will depend on factors such as their coat, environment, and activity. Ask your Greencross Vets for a recommendation on how often your unique dog needs to be washed. As a rough guide most dogs will not need to be washed more than once a month, though exceptions can definitely be made for when your playful pet jumps into a puddle of mud! Don’t wash your dog more than necessary or you’ll risk stripping the natural oils from their coat and cause it to dry out.
Before washing your dog, brush through their coat to remove tangles, and put cotton balls in their ears to prevent water from getting in. Fill a tub with lukewarm water and make sure that you provide your dog with a non-slip mat to stand on. If you have a large dog that cannot fit into a tub or sink, Petbarn’s DIY Dog Wash units are conveniently located inside our stores for a safe and mess-free way way to bathe your dog.
Always use dog shampoo and conditioner, not human products, to wash your dog. Gently lather your dog, taking care to keep the soap out of your their eyes and ears. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the shampoo from your dog’s coat as it can irritate their skin if left in. Finally, use a towel to help your dog dry off, and let them air dry the rest.
Step 3: How to clean dogs’ ears
It is possible for you to clean your dog’s ears at home but it’s best that you have a professional groomer or vet show you how to do it first. In addition, Petbarn Grooming salons offer an ear cleaning service that you can take advantage of.
Only specially designed ear cleaners should be used on your dog’s ears. Drip this solution into your pet’s ear canal and gently massage the ear to help the cleaner break down the wax and debris. After about 20 seconds, you can use a cotton ball (not cotton tip) to clean your dog’s ear flap and canal. Then, repeat this process on the other ear.
Your Greencross Vet can recommend how often you’ll need to clean your dog’s ears depending on elements including their breed, age and wax production. Dogs with long ears and dropped ears require special attention.
Your dog’s ears should never smell, and a bad odour could be a sign of an ear infection. Other signs that your dog’s ears are infected and will need to be inspected by a Greencross Vet are if there’s discharge, red and inflamed ears, or if your dog is shaking their head and scratching at their ears.
Step 4: How to cut a dog’s nails
How often you have to cut your dog’s nails is influenced by their activity levels. Highly active dogs who have naturally worn their nails down through running on hard surfaces may not need their nails cut, while indoor dogs who only go for a short walk each day will need their nails regularly trimmed.
A dog’s toenails consist of the nail itself which surrounds the quick, the pink part inside which supplies blood to the nail. Be very careful that you do not cut into the quick as it will bleed quite a lot and hurt your dog. For dogs with black nails where you cannot see the quick, it can be more difficult to avoid cutting into it but the best method for cutting your dog’s nails is to simply trim the hooked part of the nail that is curving down. For dogs with dewclaws, you must trim these as well as they cannot naturally wear down.
Make sure to always use dog nail clippers to trim your pet’s nails as these are specially designed to suit the strength and shape of dog toenails, and they often include safety features and cutting guides. If you don’t feel confident cutting your dog’s nails yourself, take them into a Petbarn Grooming salon where our professional groomers can perform this service for you.
Taking the time to groom your dog in between visits to professional Petbarn Grooming salons will keep them healthy and clean. To understand which dog grooming products best suit your unique pet, visit your local Petbarn where our friendly team members can give you personalised advice.