Grooming can be an excellent chance to bond with your beloved canine companion. It can help them feel their best too! Here, our Denver vets offer you some advice on at-home dog grooming.
Your dog's lifestyle and breed will largely determine what their grooming needs are. Most often, long-haired dogs will need more grooming than short haired breeds. Dogs who spend lots of time outside will also need more grooming than pups who love to lounge around inside all day.
That being said, all dogs can benefit from the basics of grooming: nail trimming, brushing, bathing, and (depending on the breed) haircuts.
Before you bring your dog into the room, make sure you have all of your tools prepared and laid out for you. This will help you both remain calm throughout the grooming process.
Make sure you speak to you dog and reassure them throughout the process too. Use a warm tone and allow them to safely sniff your grooming tools to make sure they are comfortable with them. Wait until you dog has calmed down and is done their investigation to begin grooming. And don't forget to reward them for good behavior.
The key to a successful session of grooming is to remain calm, positive and stay patient with your pup.
Removing any dirt or debris caught in your dog's coat helps to keep their skin healthy. And the best way to do this is through a lovely soapy bath! It's important to mention, however, that bathing your dog too often can damage their hair follicles, cause skin irritation, and lead to fungal or bacterial infections.
You dog's bathing schedule should be based on how dirty they get, how often they like to get dirty, and what kind of fur they have. Bathing your dog one to three times a month with warm water and special dog shampoo is generally a good bet. Make sure you don't use your shampoo on your dog, it may cause them skin irritation.
If your dog’s fur is very long or curly, conditioners and detanglers formulated for dogs work well. Use as directed.
If your dog is nervous around baths, start them off slowly. Stand them in a dry tub and off there them a treat for their good behavior. From there have them stand in a dry bath as your clean them with a wet sponge. Take these small steps and you wil eventually be able to give your dog a bath standing in a tub that is full of water!
You may find that your dog adores being brushed. If this is the case, the hardest part of the brushing is already behind you. For most breeds of pup, weekly brushing will help remove dead hair from their coat, prevent skin irritation and matter. It will also help to prevent the about of fur your dog sheds all around the house.
If your dog is very active and loves to spend a significant amount of their time outside, they may need to be brushed more frequently. Conversely, you may only need to brush a dog with short hair once per month.
You may not know it, but there are actually nail clippers which are specifically designed for dogs! Along with shampoo and conditioner, grab one of these tools and start trimming your dog's nails when they are still young. This will help them become more tolerant of having their nails clipped as they age.
If your dog doesn't enjoy having their paws touched, you can work up to trimming their nails by gently stroking their feet until they get used to that feeling. Once you find that your dog is able to tolerate having their feet touched, you can start by trimming a single nail. As your pup becomes better behaved and more tolerant of being groomed in this way, be sure to reinforce their good behavior with treats and praise.
Take nail trimming slow to start, even if this means only clipping one nail during each attempt. If you’re not comfortable trimming your dog’s nails yourself (or if your dog isn’t able to tolerate it), consider hiring a qualified professional to do it.
Different breeds of dog will have different needs when it comes to haircuts. Talk to our Denver groomers to find out exactly how often your dog should have their hair cut. Or if they should at all.
Start your at-home haircuts by using high-quality dog shampoo to bathe your pup. After that, towel dry them and brush their coat. With scissors (make sure they're sharp!), trim the fur around their face and feet. And then use electric clippers on the rest of their body.
If your dog is anxious or fidgety during the haircutting process, or if you'd rather avoid cutting your furry companion's hair yourself, you might want to bring your pup into a professional groomer.
Professional groomers love helping to keep your pets looking and feeling clean, healthy and neat - whether you need a mid-winter pampering session or a trim to help him or her stay cool and comfortable in the summer heat.
Plus, they have all the tools necessary and are trained to keep even anxious dogs relaxed throughout the grooming process.
Grooming Nervous or Anxious Dogs
Grooming is a very important part of your dog's well-being. Matted fur, goopy ears and excessive long nails can all lead to health problems if they are allowed to remain for too long.
From brushing and bathing to ear cleanings and nail trimmings, you might begin dreading grooming-time for your pup if they are anxious or frightened of the process.
Here are a couple of ways you can try to help your dog relax and enjoy the process of being groomed:
- Positive reinforcement works wonders. Offer treats for good behavior.
- Dog parents know their dogs love to be pet, so keep this in mind when you bathe your pup. Dole out the pats and hugs throughout the grooming session to let your pup know that everything is okay and that they don’t need to be afraid.
- Dab a calming aromatherapy oil (such as lavender oil) on your fingers as your pet your dog and run your hands through their fur while you bathe them.
- Is your dog very nervous? You may want to think about using a calming dog pheromone diffuser to bathe your room in a non-sedative, odorless and synthetic hormone to help your dog relax. Speak to your vet to learn more.
- Ensure your dog gets lots of exercise before you start to groom him or her.
Basic at-home grooming, when combined together with regular exercise and annual veterinary wellness exams (including vaccinations and parasite prevention), will help to keep your dog feeling and looking their very best.