At-Home Dog Grooming Tips

Sitting at home in front of the television petting our beloved canine companion, it is hard not to notice the knots in his fur and debris he has picked up from a play day in the front yard or at the park. As pet owners, we are responsible for taking proper care of our furry companions, in the same way that we are responsible for taking care of ourselves. A regular at-home dog grooming routine is the perfect way to treat your pet to a spa day, and also protect him from periodontal disease, wax build-up, ear infection, yeast infection due to matted hair, dirt, bacteria, and any number of ailments resulting from poor hygiene. Fortunately, at-home dog grooming is not nearly as tedious as it sounds, and both you and your dog will be happier and healthier as a result.

Step 1: Get Prepared
The first step to grooming your canine at home is to gather the proper supplies. If you are planning on a full-body grooming, then you will need a variety of supplies, such as clippers, brushes, bath tools and drying tools. It is important to recognize that when mats are present in wet fur, they become practically untamable. Therefore, brushing your dog's fur is a must before any water is added into the equation. If your dog has medium to long hair, a slicker or pin brush may be necessary. Also, in some cases, the mat may need to be shaved or cut in order to prevent bacterial growth from occurring between the skin and the mat. Brush from the neck downward until all hair is combed flat, and do not forget to give him a treat for being on good behavior.

Step 2: Conduct a Quick Physical Exam
Next, take a look at your dog's eyes to ensure that there is no irritation or build-up. If he or she has a white coat, be aware that there are special products you can purchase to remove noticeable tear stains. If there is built-up hair around the eye that is contributing to any irritation, a veterinarian should be contacted so the hair can be cut safely. After thoroughly investigating your pet's eyes, take a look inside his ears. A healthy ear will contain some degree of wax, but it should not have debris, sores or signs of mites and infections. Ear cleaner may be purchased to clean out the ear, but do keep in mind when wiping around the ear, that it is crucial not to insert anything, especially not too deep.
Since about 80 percent of dogs suffer from periodontal disease, it is essential that owners thoroughly check their pup's teeth. You can find special dog toothbrushes at pet supply stores which will allow you to carefully clean the teeth without causing irritation. Next, take a look at his or her nails. Overgrown nails can cause damage to the pads of the foot, so they should be trimmed as often as needed. The key here is to be sure not to clip too far, since there are blood vessels that run through the nails. Usually about 1/16 of an inch is adequate, depending on the age of the dog. There are also specialized clippers that can be purchased to make this process a bit easier.
Step 3: Wash Your Dog
At this point, your canine companion is probably wondering if this grooming routine is ever going to end, so fortunately, there is just one task left: a good washing. Put your dog into a tub and begin wetting him. Generally, a hose attachment is the best bet. After he is thoroughly wetted, apply dog shampoo, moving from the neck downward and massaging into the coat. Certain coats will require different shampoos; it all depends on the breed of dog. After this, rinse the shampoo off, being certain not to get any in the dog's eyes or mouth. Dry him off and lo behold: your canine should be looking and feeling pretty fine.