Muddy paw prints, grass blades and tiny puddles of water all over your floor and furniture – although it may seem like a nightmare to some, pet owners know the underlying cause and are resigned to their fate. Their ‘fur kids’ had just went for a walk and conveniently brought ‘souvenirs’ from outside. Despite our best intentions, our pets can’t seem to stop frolicking in the mud or splashing in a water puddle. Nevertheless, it is important to keep them clean and well-groomed, not just for their health but for our sanity as well.
In a perfect world, many of us would be able to send our pets to the groomers for bathing and grooming on a regular basis, basically every time after they go for walks. Unfortunately, it might just be too costly to do so and for some pets, sending them to the groomers can be quite a scary experience as they are in a unfamiliar environment. Therefore, it might be useful to learn some basic grooming techniques that you will be able to do on your own at home.
“But won’t it be too hard to do it all by yourself? Is it even possible?” you may question. Well, there will definitely be some challenges especially if your pet’s reaction to a bath is akin to the equivalent of having their teeth pulled out. But with a persevering and patient attitude, you may just be able to defy the odds and have a better understanding of your pet’s needs and thought processes. After all, you never know until you try right?
For the sake of specificity in this guide, we will focus on grooming methods for dogs as explained below.
Dog Grooming 101 Explained
Whether your dog is a friendly labrador or a feisty chihuahua, regular maintenance and upkeep is required to keep them happy and healthy. This includes not just bathing and brushing their fur but taking care of their ears, nails and eyes as well. Sounds like a tall order? Fret not as we have compiled a list of grooming tips for you. Here’s how:
Schedule Fortnightly Baths
Although the frequency of baths will differ according to the breed of the dog and their specific needs, you are advised to bathe your dog at least once every 2 weeks. This is especially so if they are constantly outdoors for long periods of time, which will make them more susceptible to getting ticks or other insect bites. Also, be sure to pick a shampoo that is suitable for your pooch’s skin condition. For instance, you should choose a hypoallergenic shampoo if your dog has sensitive and itchy skin. After which, reward them with their favourite snacks before, during and after their bath so that your dog will form a positive impression and association with the act of bathing. When shampooing and rinsing off the foam, be exceptionally careful near the eyes, nose and ears so as to ensure that the suds do not get into these respective areas, which will increase the risk of infection.
Shake It All Off
After their bath, use a towel to wipe them dry before either letting it dry out on their own or using a hair dryer. A word of caution, if you intend to use a hair dryer, ensure that the temperature is not hot and alternate between blasts of hot and cool air when blow drying your dog.
Combing Their Fur
Brushing your dog’s fur or hair regularly is essential to prevent their fur/hair from tangling and knotting. Combing also helps to keep your dog’s fur soft and silky. When attempting to remove knotted and matted fur/hair, use either a brush or your fingers to gently untangle it instead of a shaver or scissors as it might hurt your pet if you do not have proper control of it. If there is a tangle that is too difficult to remove, you are recommended to bring your dog to the groomer or vet to remove it.
Just like us humans, dogs need to have their nails trimmed frequently as well. This is because if left untrimmed, their nails might become long and curved, thus increasing the probability of them chipping or breaking. However, be careful when trimming your dog’s nails and avoid cutting them too short as you may risk cutting into the sensitive area and drawing blood. Do not panic if you accidentally cut the nail too deep and draw blood, simply dab a bit of baking soda or cornstarch onto the affected area and it will aid in staunching the bleeding.
Trimming & Plucking Ear Hair
The amount of ear hair varies across different dog breeds and tends to be more common in small dogs. Even though it may sound painful, trimming and plucking the ear hair of your dogs will aid in keeping ear infections at bay and prevent the accumulation of moisture. Before you start plucking their ear hair though, make sure that you are equipped with ear powder and a pair of scissors or forceps. Similar to us removing any thick or unruly hair in our delicate areas, great care must be taken to not use too much force when plucking the dog’s ear hair. Simply sprinkle some ear powder into their ear, near the ear hole and gently pick out a bit of hair at a time using the forceps or your fingers. Lastly, you can finish off by using scissors to trim any stray hairs at the side.