We all want our canine friends to look and feel their best, making grooming regularly an essential part of taking care of your dog. You don’t always have to spend a bomb at professional grooming salons, though! These tips make home grooming a hassle-free, affordable alternative.
Many dog owners tend to think that for their dogs to have the perfect coat, it’s best to leave it to the hands of professional groomers. Yet, even long-haired breeds can have their mane tamed in a great way at home. After all, hair grows back, so with practice, you’re well on the way to a well-coiffed pooch.
The very first step to a great coat would be to get a pair of good clippers, which can be electronic or manually operated. Keep them sharp and lubricated, and you can even spray on some clipper spray to keep them clean and cool even as the blades heat up during clipping. Always use the clippers along the direction of hair growth in smooth long strokes, while for more tricky areas such as your dog’s paws, face and ears, a sharp pair of scissors could also prove to be useful. To clip the paws, brush against the direction of hair growth to push the hair between the toes upwards and cut with the scissors. You can use the clippers to do the underside of the feet as well.
When you first start clipping your dog’s coat at home, it might be best to have a friend or family member on standby to hold your pet, particularly if your dog is the energetic sort. Usually at the groomers, your dog will stand on an elevated table and will be held in place with a clip or similar holding apparatus. At home though, you can try to get your dog up on an elevated surface (kitchen table, anyone?) and minimise his or her movement with a non-slip mat placed on the surfaces. Treats on hand are also a good way to incentivise your dog to keep still, especially if he or she is well-trained.
As for frequency, this depends on whether your dog is short-haired or long, with the shaggier breeds benefitting best from clipping every 6-8 weeks due to their rapidly growing coat.
All Brushed Up
Together with clipping, brushing your pet’s fur regularly is another way to make sure his or her coat is in tip-top condition. Prior to brushing, try to bathe your dog first, preferably with a shampoo made for pets. Once their fur has dried, brush the coat gently to rid it of any snags or matted fur. Try to get a brush that has a texture that is not too hard nor too soft, and make sure to brush all your pet’s hair and not just the top coat. This can be done by brushing backwards against the grain of the fur and subsequently brushing it back. Moreover, this also helps to stimulates your pooch’s skin as well as remove dead fur..
Another equally important brushing is for that of your pet’s teeth. Not only is it about fresh breath, it is also key to ensure your dog has healthy teeth and gums, while preventing the onset of periodontal (also known as gum) disease. Also, if your dog is adverse to the toothbrush, you might also want to consider alternatives such as dental toy bones, or even mouth-washes.
In the Pink of Health
Beyond the obvious convenience and cost-savings, home grooming is also a great way to keep an eye on your canine’s health. Look out for significant changes in your dog’s coat, teeth, ears, eyes and nails so that any signs or symptoms of a health issue so medical help can be given quickly if necessary. Moreover, it’s also less taxing on your dog’s mental state as well, as grooming places are usually unfamiliar environments which might provoke added anxiety.
Be it trimming your dog’s coat, bathing or brushing his or her teeth for the perfect smile, grooming your dog can be a great time to bond with your canine friend. If you meet with resistance at first, try bringing positive associations to the activity with gentle words or the occasional treat – soon, your dog will grow to trust you even more, making this once-chore an enjoyable experience for both you and your pet.