Boxer Dog Bathing

Tips on Dog Grooming

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Grooming is a key element in the overall care of your pet. It makes a major impact on your choice of the dog breed to take home with you.

Regardless of the breed you choose to take home, you’ll need to ensure he’s regularly groomed and bathed so he’s as healthy, comfortable and visually appealing as possible

Tips to Help you Avoid Dog Grooming Mistakes

There are many types of coats in the dog kingdom: long hair, short hair, double coats and coats that don’t shed. Each type needs some unique grooming techniques but there are other grooming elements common to all dogs.

Common Mistakes in Home Pet Grooming

1. Failing To Brush Dog’s Coat Before Bathing

Every dog needs a regular brush as it gets rid of the surface dirt on the coat. It spreads the dog’s natural oil over his skin and helps stop the hair from becoming tangled. Brushing lets your feel your dog’s whole body and is an ideal method for checking for sores, bumps and lumps that may need to be treated.

You should begin brushing your puppy when he’s very young so he becomes used to that activity. Reward puppy with yummy treats while he sits quietly and patiently. At first you should only do it for about two minutes and slowly increase the amount of time you spend brushing your pet.

Brushing Dog
Brushing Dog

Boxers, Staffordshire Terriers and other dogs with smooth, short coats have a nickname of ‘wash’n’wear’ dogs as it’s very easy to look after their coats. A rubber brush should go against the lie of the fur generally is all you need. One tip here is that it’s wise to use a chamois cloth and rub it over your dog’s coat. This action polishes it and makes the coat shiny.

If your dog has a long coat and a protective undercoat, he’ll need to be brushed thoroughly every other day. If this doesn’t happen, his hair will become matted and very uncomfortable. To remove all loose hair, use a wire slicker brush. Use a wide-toothed comb to gently eliminate all the tangles and matts in your dog’s coat. It’s also vital that you trim the hair growing between his toes.

Dogs such as Bichon Frise, Schnauzers and Poodles have a type of hair that continuously keeps growing, like wool, but it never sheds. Because of this, they’re ideal pets for those with allergies. However, they still need bathing regularly and their coats should be trimmed every 6-8 weeks using a decent clipper.

2. Failure to Train Your Dog

If you wish to groom your dog without causing him any harm, anxiety, or a complete mess, you must put in a lot of effort into training your dog so he’s comfortable whenever he is being groomed. To do this properly, it’s imperative that training him should begin when he’s as young as possible.

French Bulldog after Bathing
French Bulldog after Bathing

Part of this training involves ensuring he’s comfortable when he’s touched on his body, tail. paws, legs, head and face and that he’s used to hearing buzzing and other types of grooming tools.

He should also be comfortable with other people who touch him because you might hire a groomer down the track and you won’t like your dog to be afraid and, perhaps, nip him.

If you have adopted your dog when he’s older, it’s still essential to make him comfortable with all aspects of dog grooming at home. You have to create an environment that’s free from stress, and ensure you give him lots of rewards and praise while you’re washing him and brushing his fur and teeth.

Be extremely patient and create a positive experience. Your dog could easily be nervous the first few times but persist with it. This will make your dog less anxious, preventing grooming a miserable time for you and your dog.

3. Failure to Brush A Wet Dog

Apart from brushing him prior to a wash, it’s vital that you brush him after the wash. This makes brushing afterwards an easier, less painful process. Bathing him loosens even more hair. These hairs will become tangled in his coat if not brushed out. This is yet another reason for brushing him before and after his bath.

4. Lack of Grooming Consistency

Even though your schedule doesn’t say it’s time to cut his fur, bathe him and give him a complete grooming session, that’s no reason to avoid basic duties such as brushing his coat.

Some owners don’t groom their dog at a specific time of the year, or might go for a couple of weeks without the urge to trim or bathe their dog. However, it’s essential to maintain the grooming routine so he’ll feel less stressed and won’t forget what grooming feels like when you return to regular dog grooming.

5. Not Being Thorough

Brushing your dog’s back is easy. However, a lot of owners forget there’s also an entire dog body connected to his back that will need your attention as well.

Grooming a Pomeranian
Grooming a Pomeranian

Parasites and pests love infesting these other body parts including: the face, belly, neck, ears, armpits and tail. Looking for these areas on your dog’s body, as well as getting rid of mats and tangles won’t merely help them look fantastic, but it also maintains their good health.

6. Dog Grooming in Winter

Many owners are concerned about cutting their dog’s hair in the Wintertime, that their dogs will feel the cold. So, they don’t cut their dogs’ hair. They also ignore the other grooming tasks.

This often means their dogs have severe matting prior to warmer months and the only way to remedy the problem at this point is to do a short shave on their dog’s
coat, the opposite of an owner’s goal in Winter. The extra length of the dog’s fur won’t keep him stay much warmer in Winter.

Keep up with his regular grooming: bathing and brushing, and trim his coat, too. This avoids tangled, matted fur and his natural coat will keep him warm.
There’s no need for a full shave, but maintaining his coat is essential.

7. Close Shaving a Dog with Clippers

You must be very careful because a single slip when shaving a dog with clippers can cause your dog pain and harm. Damaging the dog’s skin with clippers is known as razor burn on dogs.  This isn’t just physical injury. It’s also an emotional injury. It takes ages to build trust with your pet to begin with and if you hurt him, that trust can quickly evaporate, leaving your pet wary of you from then on.

Shaving a Dog with Clippers
Shaving a Dog with Clippers

The first mistake you can make is shaving too close to the skin. Clippers may leave a horrible razor burn that may later cause an infection. If you do accidentally cause such a burn whilst shaving a dog with clippers, immediately stop and apply first aid. Clean the wound and then apply some anti-bacteria salve. Give your pet lots of hugs and apologize for causing such pain and say that it was just an accident.

Although your pet may not understand the actual words, he’ll understand your tone and will react to you in the way you intend. Emotional pain can be as bad as physical pain. Keep your eye on the wound and if it starts oozing pus or turns red, take him to the vet straightaway. If he licks or tries to scratch his wound, use a plastic protective collar because you don’t want him aggravating it while it’s trying to heal.

8. Getting Shampoo In Dog’s Eyes

Another mistake that you, as a novice groomer, can make is getting shampoo or other similar chemicals in your pet’s eyes. Whether it’s your fault or perhaps your pet moved his head at the wrong time, soap can easily splash. This can make your pet’s eyes sting and cause him to relate pet grooming with that unpleasant experience from then on. Again, trust is lost unnecessarily.

Boxer Dog Bathing
Boxer Dog Bathing

Wash his eyes with water or a saline solution and then dab them with a soft sterile cloth. Comfort your pet by hugging and patting him to take his attention off his eyes. Give him a treat or grab his favorite toy. Hold the toy so he can see it and move it back and forth. Watch his eyes for any signs that they’re irritated as the eyes follow the toy up and down, back and forth.

9. Not Restraining Your Pet While Grooming

One mistake that may prove fatal is leaving your pet loose or unrestrained while you’re trying to groom him. Cats hate baths, as do some dogs, and they’ll try to escape at any opportunity. Your pet might try to escape while you’re grooming him. He may run out into the road and get hit by a car or be attacked by another animal. Ensure you use a dog grooming restraint. Preferably a leash and perhaps he needs a dog grooming head restraint such as a muzzle as well. This protects both him and you. If washing him outside, do it in a fenced area so he’s not tempted to run away.

10. Using the Wrong Equipment and Not Cutting Precisely and Slowly

Proper trimming of a dog’s nails is an enormous challenge for the majority of dog owners. This is an important reason for ensuring your dog is comfortable having his paws handled properly while training.

Don’t jump into nail clipping head first. First you need to check that your clippers are sharp. They need to be replaced regularly. Dull clippers will crush your dog’s nails instead of properly cutting them, potentially making them slip and causing injuries.

Learn the right way to spot the nail’s quick. If your dog’s nails are light in color, you’ll likely see the quick like a pink circle around each nail.
If your dog’s nails are dark, the quick might be visible as a black circle when you cut into the nail.

Clipping Dog's Nails
Clipping Dog’s Nails

Make sure you take your time and avoid cutting into the quick because it will cause pain and bleeding. If you don’t know how to do it, ask your vet or an experienced groomer to help you.

11. Letting Your Dog Go Outside Right After Grooming

Most dogs will go crazy after their bath, even if they have been fully dried. The first thing they want to do is run around and roll in things, such as the grass, mud, dirt, etc.

While there are numerous reasons for them wanting to do this, it’s critical that your dog be kept inside after being groomed. If not, he’ll run around outside and when he comes in again, you’ll need to wash everything off him and groom him once more.

Let your dog run around inside for a while, until he loses the urge to go outside.

How to Give a Dog a Bath

The way you wash your dog will chiefly be decided by his particular breed. But one thing is certain, you will need to wash him. So this is how to do it.There are two aspects to washing your dog; how to wash your dog and how often you wash your dog.

How Frequently Should you Wash your Dog?

The short answer is “not too often.” A dog’s coat has natural oils that protect it, keep it silky and soft and prevent it from getting damaged or becoming brittle. If you wash him every week, these oils will soon be washed away as well.

How often do you have to wash your dog depends on whether your dog lives inside and sleeps on bed or the lounge. You should wash your dog if he’s smelly or very dirty. How often you wash your dog will depend on what he does during an average day and whether he’s an inside or outside dog. If he has long hair, he’ll need a bath more often because his hair can become matted or tangled. The time of year can also affect dog bath frequency requirements.

Tips on Washing your Dog:

  1. Make it enjoyable and start as young as possible. Then your dog will get used to the water and being washed.
  2. Choose where you’re going to wash him. This will vary, according to the time of year and the breed. A small dog or puppy can be washed in a tub or sink. A big dog needs to be washed in a bathtub. If the weather is warm, you can use the hose.
  3. The bottom of the tub needs a rubber mat to stop the dog from sliding all around the place. He’ll feel more secure as well.
  4. Before you start the washing process, get everything you need and lay it all out. Towels, shampoo, a bucket and anything else you want. Never turn your back on your wet dog unless you’re keen to chase him.
  5. Only use lukewarm water and shampoo specially formulated for dogs. Choose a tearless shampoo if available.
  6. Don’t get soap or water in your pet’s ears and eyes and wash his head last so it’s not wet for long. This will reduce his urge to shake himself dry.
  7. Rinse him well. Dogs often feel itchy after they have been washed. This is usually caused by not rinsing all the shampoo off or because you have washed him too often.
  8. When it’s winter, keep your pet inside until he’s 100% dry. You can use a dryer set on ‘cool,’ not hot (or it may burn him) can help to dry him faster.
  9. Dogs love shaking themselves dry. It starts with his head so if you hold your dog’s head still, there won’t be much shaking. Put a towel over him as soon as you’re done will help stop him from coating the walls and furniture with water. If you don’t want him to shake at all, train him to only shake when commanded to do so. That will need some patience.
  10. After the wash, tell him to stay/sit. If he wants to shake, guide him into the sit position and command him to stay/sit and then you get out of his way. Then tell him he can shake. Praise him for doing so and then he’ll eventually only shake when allowed to do it.

NOTE: Bathing is a great time to check for rough areas and lumps on his skin. If you find anything unusual, talk to your vet. A well-groomed dog is a healthy, happy dog.

Final Thoughts Dog Grooming

In an ideal world, it’s best to leave grooming to the dog grooming professionals. However, it’s tempting to do it yourself because it can work out cheaper to do so. Grooming is a way you can bond with your pet. It can be very rewarding for both you and your pet, as long as you follow all the advice your vet or groomer gives you and that you feel comfortable doing it yourself.

It’s ideal if you can get a professional groomer for the job. However, you can do it for yourself if you buy a good quality pair of clippers. Most pet shops sell this type of product. In the long run, you’ll save heaps of money.

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Tips on Dog Grooming
Tips on Dog Grooming