At-Home Dog Grooming Tips in St. Paul, MN
You want your dog to look and feel their best. While regular grooming is needed for all breeds of dogs, there is not always time for taking your dog to the groomer.
So, what can you do in between visits to the groomer? Keeping your dog’s hair trimmed and nails clipped may be something you want to leave for the professionals, but there are things you can do to improve your dog’s overall hygiene, as well as help them maintain a beautiful coat.
A regular at-home grooming routine will also give you the opportunity to inspect your dog for pests, like fleas and ticks, as well as for problems with their skin.
Read through our at-home dog grooming tips. If you have any questions, call St. Paul Pet Hospital at (651) 789-6275.
Getting Your Dog To Enjoy Grooming
For many dogs, especially young ones, grooming can be a stressful process in the beginning. Be patient with your dog during these first few at-home sessions. They are going to need your encouragement and positive reinforcement. To ease them into the process, you can try:
Peanut butter, as long as it does not contain certain ingredients that are known to be unhealthy for dogs, can be spread on a clean surface. Allow your dog to lick it off while you brush or wash them. This will keep them distracted while you take care of their grooming needs.
Your praise means a lot to your dog. So, while you are making sure they look good and are healthy, be sure to give treats. Not only will this make grooming enjoyable for the pet, it will help them to look forward to the next session. It can also serve as a bonding moment for you and your dog.
The last thing you want to happen is for grooming time to become a scary time for your dog. Take some time beforehand to ensure that you are doing things as safely as possible. That may include placing slip-proof mats inside and outside of the tub to keep your dog from sliding around while they are wet.
Creating A Dog Grooming Routine
While grooming is important for all dogs, the things they need most will vary from breed to breed. Dogs with longer coats may require nail clipping and hair trimming, while dogs with shorter hair may need more regular brushing and bathing.
Bathing is important to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy, and to keep them from developing a bad odor. But you may not need to do it as often as you think. Most dogs, with healthy skin and coat, only need a bath every couple of months.
Doing so more often can remove natural oils from your dog’s coat and skin, causing them to have issues with dryness. There are conditions, however, that may require more frequent bathing.
While bathing your dog, there are several things to keep in mind:
Do not use shampoos and conditioners meant for humans on your dog. Their skin has different pH levels than ours. A soap-free shampoo that is made specifically for dogs will be most gentle on their skin.
After pouring warm water over your dog to make sure it is thoroughly wet, massage the shampoo into its coat gently. Try your best to stay away from your dog’s eyes, mouth, and inside of its ears. Too much moisture in the ears, especially dogs with long or floppy ears, can lead to ear infections.
When it is warm outside, allow your dog to shake and air-dry outdoors after you rinse off the shampoo. In colder weather, you can use a towel to dry your dog or a blow dryer on the coolest setting.
No matter the breed of dog you have, brushing will be an important part of their grooming routine. For long-haired dogs, matting can become a serious issues.
Not only can it become painful for your dog, if it is especially bothersome, they may lick or bite at the spot causing skin infections. Small, foreign objects can also become trapped in the mats, and burrow into the skin resulting in abscesses.
In short-haired dogs, brushing gets rid of loose dirt, hair and dander, which may allow for more time between baths.
It is probably a good idea to leave this to the professionals, but some trimming can be done at home. Just be sure to use caution. Overgrown hair around your dog’s eyes or paws can cause problems. If the hair around the eyes grows too long, it can impede their vision and potentially cause damage to the eye if it rubs.
Before you start trimming, ensure you and your dog are both calm. Sharp objects, like scissors, can easily cut your dog. And be sure to reward your dog with a treat after you are done.
Check For Skin Problems
As you bathe, brush and trim your dog’s hair, be sure to look for any possible skin issues. Skin diseases caused by allergies are common in dogs. They can cause irritation that result in your dog licking, scratching, or chewing at the site of the itch.
Keep an eye out for signs of irritation, along with any sight of rashes, bald spots, or infestations. You can also use your hands to feel for bumps or lumps that should not be there.
Check For Ear Infections
Ear infections are common in dogs, but they can still be quite painful. As part of your grooming routine at home, make it a habit to inspect your dog’s ears. Look for:
- Inflammation and moisture inside the ears
- Unusual smells coming from the ears
- Head shaking and/or scratching at the ears
- Excessive was or discharge from the ears
- Yelping and whining when the ears are touched
Trimming your dog’s nails can be tricky, and you want to make sure you are doing it correctly as not to cause your dog any pain. But if you can hear their nails clicking on hard surfaces, it is time for a trim. Overly long nails can cause a lot of discomfort for your dog. Do some research, and use proper techniques for trimming.
Establishing an at-home grooming routine will not only help improve your dog’s overall health and hygiene, you will surely make some memories as you spend quality time together bonding. For more tips, give us a call at (651) 789-6275.