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Dog Grooming: It’s Not Just For Purse Dogs Anymore

Puppy after Bath and Grooming

Back in the day we didn’t “groom” our dogs. We didn’t trim their toenails and we certainly didn’t squeeze their anal glands. And dogs were fine! But you know what? Now they’re better! They’re healthier and happier and living more robust lives because they’re bodies feel good from all kinds of advancements in pet care, including being groomed. Sometimes laughed off as “pampering,” grooming is actually more like a doctor visit than a spa treatment. Let’s talk about why it’s important to groom your dog and some good ways to get it done.

 

Home Care Vs. The Groomer – Try a little of both!

I love the groomer for a couple of reasons.

- First of all, some socialization for my dog – away from me is a good thing. Especially in the case of rescue dogs who may have lingering abandonment issues, it’s good for them to have a regular experience of being separated for a while then reunited, so he knows you’re always coming back for him.

- The groomer simply does a better job. They have the time and the proper tools to get things done properly and efficiently, providing the best experience for your dog. Sometimes the human world gets pretty hectic and pet grooming can get put on the back burner for later. Professional grooming is easier and provides consistency.

Now I am not saying to skip grooming all together, heck no! Even though it may prove difficult at times, caring for your dog builds trust and bonding, just like with your children.
At Home – The most basic aspect of grooming, which is also usually the easiest and most enjoyable for all parties involved, is the brushing. Did you know there are different brushes for different dogs and hair types? Yup! So find a dog brush that is right for your furry guy, which will meet the needs of his coat, keep it shiny and provide a comfortable experience. Then brush every day.

That’s right. I said “EVERY DAY.” There is different information out there regarding how often dogs should be brushed. They say that long haired dogs need to be brushed daily to prevent matting and tangles, medium haired dogs can get by once a week, and short haired dogs can go up to a month between brushings! Well – Oliver and I have talked at length about this and we are both of the opinion that every dog deserves to be brushed every day. It feels good for them, it’s easy, it creates closeness between you, and it doesn’t take much time. So forget what you may have heard, and get brushing!

 

Bathing - This is a tough one because some dogs love it and some run and hide under the bed if they even hear the bathtub water turn on. It can be an excellent bonding opportunity if done properly with care and encouragement, but can also be a traumatic experience for everybody if you’re not prepared and confident in your task.

Once a month bathing should suffice for most dogs. You can adjust this according to your dog’s lifestyle. If Muffin spends a lot of time rolling around in the mud, she may need more frequent visits to the tub! A good general practice is a once a month trip to the groomer, with a bath at home in between. Since the groomer does all the trimming and poking, you can just focus on the washing and scrubbing. Try to pass it off as a wet belly rub! Whatever you do, keep it positive, use only doggie cleaners, and keep water away from the eyes and ears as much as possible. They also make dry shampoos for quick clean ups between baths.

 

Ears – The inside of dog ears is covered with ridges and creases which can collect wax and funk. Some dogs experience build-up and infection and some don’t. Talk to your vet about your dog’s needs and rest assured whatever it is, it’s probably pretty easy. It’s only the external canal that we deal with and all that is usually needed is a q-tip and whatever ear care solution your vet recommends. If you notice your bud shaking his head a lot, itching his ears, or there is a lot of visible wax – those are your cues that there could be something wrong.

 

Teeth - It can be challenging but brushing those canine teeth will keep not only is mouth healthy but will keep a host of other problems at bay, as well. Did you know that plaque build-up on a dog’s mouth leads to bacterial infection that can enter the blood stream and cause harm to the kidneys, heart, brain, and liver? Chewing hard biscuits as well as dental treats and toys will help, but brushing once or twice a week will provide the best health. I prefer the doggie toothbrush that fits at the end of your finger but you can get a full sized doggie toothbrush, too. Just remember that dogs can’t spit so make sure you get toothpaste made for them. Human toothpaste will make them sick. And if you can find a flavor of paste that he likes, your job will be even easier!
TO THE SPA! That’s it for me for home grooming. I don’t care to bond over clipping nails, haircuts, or anal glands, thank you very much! A once a month trip to the groomer puts my mind at ease that my furry companion is being nipped and trimmed in all the right places and always looks his best.

 

Different dogs have different needs. For instance, if your dog is doing the boot scoot across the floor often, he may need his glands squeezed more often. Some little guys just don’t express them well enough on their own. If your furry fella is prone to eye watering or infections, you need to keep his hair trimmed around his eyes. And so on. Talk to your groomer about your dog’s behavior and quirks so they can work with you to build a customized grooming plan that fits your pet’s needs and your wallet.

Good care, including grooming, will keep your dog healthy and feeling feisty longer, while also keeping those vet bills down. So get brushing, scrubbing, trimming, and squeezing. You’ll both feel better in the long run.

One Response to Dog Grooming: It’s Not Just For Purse Dogs Anymore

  1. Pingback: Dog Grooming: Choosing A Grooming Brush | Oliver's Blog

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