Any dog with medium to long hair is likely to need a trim in between professional grooms which can be a bit daunting, particularly when grooming a dog’s face and paws.
PETstock Groomer, Dekota Doonan shares her tips on grooming a dog’s face and paws safely.
Grooming around the eyes
It’s important to clean and trim any hair that overhangs the eyes so that a dog has clear vision, but also to prevent it falling against the eye and causing irritation. This can include their eyelashes if they grow extra long as they can sometimes turn into the eye, causing scratches and irritation on the cornea.
You should also use a wet cloth to gently remove any gunk that can block the tear ducts and cause infection. This should be done daily in most dogs to prevent build-up.
Grooming a dog’s ears
You should also regularly clean your dogs ears and remove wax build-up. Make sure to always use a pet ear cleaner for this and not water, you can use this on a cotton ball. Makes sure to not go into the ear canal but only clean the ridges and skin present just inside the ear. If they are rubbing at the ear or shaking their head more than usual, get a vet to check for ear infections or grass seeds.
Get your dog used to being touched
To help make life easier when grooming a dog’s face and paws, you do need to spend time getting them used to you gently touching around their face and eyes and be confident they will sit or lie still as you cut.
If you have a dog that does not sit still well and jerks their head around, do not try to trim their face at home as this can cause major injuries.
Get your dog used to the look and the sound of your scissors before you put them directly near your dog’s eyes. Start by rubbing a metal teaspoon around their face and eyes, as it;s is a great way to get them used to the process. Use positive reinforcement training by offering your dog treats throughout trimming process and at the end to make the experience a positive one.
Use small, good quality trimming scissors with stainless steel blades that allow for precise cutting like the DDG grooming scissors.
Always be cautious and don’t get too close to your dogs eyes. The golden rule is to remember you are using sharp objects on a moving animal, so always be prepared for them to move and always be aware of where the tips of your scissors are before grooming a dog’s face and paws.
Cutting around their mouth
You should be regularly washing around their mouth with a warm damp cloth and brushing it out gently can help keep this area clean. It is an area prone to matting because this is where food and water gets stuck and wet fur mats easily, so ensure to wipe your dog’s mouth regularly.
If it does get overgrown you can very gently and slowly trim around their mouth but be very careful of where their lips are and hold their mouth shut tightly, it is very easy to cut a dog’s tongue if you are not being careful.
Grooming around their paws
Hair bunching between the pads can not only be uncomfortable, but if it grows over the pads it can cause them to slip causing pain or injury, especially in older dogs.
Trimming them also reduces grass seeds and other things getting caught up in the fur that could cause discomfort or potential irritations and infections. Matting is also super common between your dogs toes so keep this area combed and trimmed.
Get your dog used to having their paws touched
When grooming a dog’s face and paws, get your dog used to having their paws touched and held. Sit on the couch while watching the TV and gently build up the time you hold each paw for, again using positive reinforcement to encourage calm responses. You can also gently bend the dog’s leg and paw so you can comfortably use the scissors to trim the fur back to the paw.
You can get someone to hold your dog of help you keep them standing and still to do the bottoms of the paw.
Use the scissors like the DGG ones that have the ball tips for a bit of extra protection, and take very small snips of the hair, including in between the pads, but avoid touching the pad with the scissors. Always have a firm grip on your dog’s paw and be cautious of them moving.
Applying some DGG Paw Balm afterwards can help keep their paw pads soft and moisturised as well.
Trimming around a dog’s bottom
Trimming around a dog’s bottom is important because not only can it be uncomfortable when long, but also quite dangerous for dogs if the back end gets blocked by hair.
It can cause their poop to build up so much that they can no longer actually go to the toilet and cause them great pain and suffering, so trimming any overgrown hair here regularly is a must. Regular grooming will cut this issue down significantly.
You can wash the area first with some shampoo and ensure it is dry before cutting with the flat part of the scissors, keeping the pointy ends well away from the tail. You may need assistance to keep your dog standing and keep their tail out of the way.
And, make sure you’re in a quiet place with no distractions or noise that could startle your dog when doing any of this.
For more information on the importance of grooming your dog regularly, including grooming a dog’s face and paws, click here.
You can find the DGG range at your local pet specialty store and PETstock both online or in-store.