Proper Pet Care Series #3: Grooming
Now that we’ve talked about nutrition and exercise, Barkworthies wants to top off our three-part series on Proper Pet Care with some great information about the benefits of Dog Grooming. If you missed the previous articles from our Proper Pet Care blog series, we’d encourage you to take a peek at our posts on Proper Pet Nutrition and Proper Pet Exercise.
Maintaining proper canine hygiene is hugely important to your pet’s physical and psychological well-being. And relatively speaking, dogs are surprisingly good at keeping themselves clean — but sometimes they need a hand. No matter what, grooming should be fun. So before we jump in, let’s talk about how to make sure your dog is comfortable being groomed. After all, grooming is supposed to be an enjoyable bonding experience.
Make Grooming Fun!
The trick is to start regular grooming at a young age. For older and adopted dogs, sometimes this can be a challenge as some dogs simply aren’t comfortable being groomed. Maybe they’re shy or they previously had a bad experience. If you have an older dog who’s skittish about grooming, try and relax them first and keep the sessions short. Beginning with 5–10 minute sessions of light brushing interrupted by petting, you can eventually lengthen the sessions as your dog becomes more comfortable. Try Barkworthies’ Baked Lamb Livers — a delicious treat great to break apart and use for training.
The easiest and possibly most important type of basic grooming, regular brushing helpskeep your dog’s coat and skin in great condition. Not only does brushing help remove dirt and untangle hair, it also provides a great opportunity to check for fleas and ticks. This routine maintenance is essential for dogs of all types. You might need to buy a few different tools depending on your dog’s coat and grooming needs
Short Haired Dogs: Dogs with short hair require less maintenance than long haired breeds. Weekly grooming should suffice for dogs with smooth coats. Begin with a rubber brush to remove dead larger particles of dirt and dead skin. Follow up with a bristle brush to remove dead hair. Breeds with denser short coats will require a slicker brush in place of a rubber brush to gently remove tangles.
Long Haired Dogs: Breeds with longer hair require more frequent grooming. If possible, these breeds should receive daily brushing with a slicker brush to gently untangle hair. Follow things up with a bristle brush to remove dead hair and smooth out the coat. Make sure to trim hair around the feet and hocks — hair from these areas tend to drag on the ground.
On average, dogs only need a bath once every three months. Bathing more frequently is fine too — especially if your dog is spending a lot of time outdoors. Just make sure you’ve got the right cleaning products for your dog — shampoos for people aren’t meant for dogs. Barkworthies recommends finding a pH-balanced shampoo and conditioner for dogs. There are even a variety of all-natural shampoos and conditioners that are free of chemicals and work great! Here’s a basic rundown of what you’ll need — and what you’ll need to do — during bathtime.
1. Brush your Pet — Brushing before bathing is essential. It removes the dead hair and mats allowing you to better clean your dog.
2. Wet your dog — Use a gentle spray hose or plastic pitcher to wet your dog. Be careful and avoid getting water into the eyes or ears. To play it extra safe, you can use cotton balls to prevent water from getting in the ears.
3. Shampoo/Condition — Gently massage your dog with shampoo, working it in from head to tail. Rinse and repeat with conditioner.
4. Rinse/Dry — Rinse off your dog with clean water making sure to remove all excess shampoo and conditioner. If you use a blow dryer to dry your dog, make sure it’s not set too high! Alternatively, you can also towel dry your dog.
Trimming toenails can be one of the hardest jobs in dog grooming. Many dogs are skittish about having their paws handled. There are a few steps you can try before trimming your dog’s nails to help calm them down. First, get them used to having their paws handled. This will help to reduce their anxiety and reduce your chance of cutting them too short. Only use sharp guillotine-type clippers and be sure to avoid the small vein running through the nail. This vein, also called the quick, can be seen through the nail. Finish any rough edges with an emery board.
Like other aspects of grooming, clipping nails becomes easier over time. Make sure at the end of each trim, you give your pup a treat like our Beef Jerky. This will help them understand that by allowing you to trim their nails, there’s something in it for them.
Since covering everything from nutrition and exercise to grooming, we’ve put together a basic yet comprehensive guide on what’s what when it comes to the fundamentals of pet care. Barkworthies believes these three areas in particular to be the most important aspects of canine health. Trust your judgement when it comes to caring for your dog — nobody knows their dog better than their owner! But, if you’re ever in question about something, always contact a veterinarian.