Dog Grooming - What Every Dog Owner Needs to Know

Many dog owners unfortunately are unaware of the importance of proper grooming. Just imagine a wife's reaction if her husband went days without shaving or taking a shower. (Just ask my wife about it!) My point is that your pet dog needs to be groomed, and you as its owner need to know what kind of grooming your dog needs, how often the various kinds of grooming need to be performed, and safe and effective grooming techniques.

If you haven't already, you need to do some research about your dog's breed(s). Grooming requirements vary depending on the physical traits of your dog - fur and skin condition, for example, will dictate how and how often your dog's coat should be groomed. This article will present information around the "four pillars" of dog grooming:

1. Bathing and Brushing
2. Coat Clipping
3. Ear Care
4. Nail Trimming

Bathing and Brushing 

While most breeds should be bathed monthly, bathing your pet weekly would probably not be harmful. Check with your vet if you have questions or concerns about this. Be careful not to use "human" soaps and shampoos. Your friendly neighborhood pet store has dog shampoo, and again your veterinarian may recommend a particular brand for your dog. For more information on bathing your dog, see "Caring for Your Dog in the Bath".

For most owners, brushing their dog's coat is a much more pleasant task than giving their dog a bath - but it's still a chore. Most dogs enjoy having their coat brushed, unless you've let it go too long resulting in matting and other conditions that have become painful to correct. Just imagine spreading bubble gum around in your hair, letting it dry, and then trying to brush it out! That wouldn't be too pleasant for you either.

In general, your dog's coat needs to be brushed according to the following guidelines:

* Long-Haired dogs should probably be brushed every day, or at the least every two or three days (depends on your particular dog).
* Medium-Haired dogs should probably be brushed at least once a week, bare minimum every couple of weeks.
* Short-Haired dogs should be brushed at least monthly, although brushing your short-haired dog is not as critical as for longer-haired breeds.

You will never harm your dog by brushing its coat - so if you enjoy it, and your dog enjoys it, don't hold back! This can be especially helpful, for you and your pet, if you have a dog that sheds. During shedding season, daily brushing can help prevent daily vacuuming!

Coat Clipping 

There are really only two questions when it comes to trimming your dog's coat: 1) How often? and 2) Should I have a professional do it, or can I?

How often your clip your dog's coat depends on how fast its coat grows and how long you want it to be. (I'm sorry, is that too obvious?) This is truly a subjective question that depends entirely on the breed(s) of your dog and the preferences of its owner. This is another topic you can discuss with your dog's vet if you have any questions or concerns regarding health implications.

The other question is a little more complicated. Let's face it - having your dog's coat trimmed by a professional can be downright expensive. The sheer expense drives many owners to learn how to trim their dog's fur. Others simply want to do it themselves; it's a matter of preference, not money. If you've decided to trim your dog's coat, you may want to at least check with a professional regarding safety issues, especially when it comes to trimming around your dog's head (eyes and ears!), butt and genital area. Put yourself in your dog's paws for a moment. I don't think you'd want some untrained idiot weilding scissors around your eyes and private parts, now would you?

Ear Care 

It's critical to your dog's health to keep its ears clean. Fido's ears become a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast if not kept clean. Here again it's important to know your dog. Ask your dog's vet about its ears, and especially if your dog's breed can tend to manifest ear problems. Certain lucky dogs rarely have problems with their ears, while some who are not so lucky can have chronic ear disease.

Most of the time, ear conditions are genetic. In general, floppy-eared dogs and long-hair dogs tend to have more ear problems because it's harder for air and light to access the ear canal. Your vet can help you by prescribing ear cleaners and meds when your dog exhibits ear problems such as excess icky gunk (that's a scientific term) or bad ear odor. Proper care and periodic checkups can go a long way to keep your dog's ears healthy.

Nail Trimming 

Nail trimming strikes fear in dogs and owners alike, and with good reason. Pain. I once cut off a tiny piece of one of my fingers when I got distracted while dicing onions. If my dear wife had done that I would have been angry. I was in fact angry, but my anger was directed at my own stupid self!

Now imagine your dog's situation if you cut into the "quick" of its nail. He/she could go ballistic. Most dogs don't even like their paws held (now this IS a big difference between my dog and my wife!), let alone cut into. And fortunately it's a rare and sadistic dog owner that enjoys causing its pet pain.

Your dog needs its nails trimmed. In fact, most dogs need their nails trimmed at least every four to six weeks. You really have only two choices: either learn to do it right or have it done by someone else who knows how to do it right. You can learn how to do it right from a technician at your vet's office, or from a professional dog groomer.

In Conclusion

You, as your dog's owner, need to be responsible for your pet's health and well-being. A big part of this responsibility has to do with regular and consistent grooming care around the four "pillars" of grooming presented herein. So be a pal to your best friend. Learn what you need to learn about its grooming needs, and act according to what you learn. Your pet will love you (even more!) for it.

Jonathan Richardson has spent his career in middle management and training management in corporate America. His experience in corporate training has helped him hone his writing and editing skills. Read more of his articles at
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1 komentar:

Cat Grooming mengatakan...

One of the basic requirements of your dog is grooming. Similar to human beings, dogs also want to look their best, but there is difference in time period. Humans need to bath daily even twice a day, while a dog needs to bath twice or thrice a week. However, the breed and kind of coat the dog has matters while grooming.

Toronto Dog Groomer

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