Many dog owners don’t realise that regular dog grooming is not just something that is needed now and then with a professional pet groomer, or is just giving a dog a bath every couple of months.
Regular dog grooming is something that needs to be given more attention, particularly when you think about the fact that we humans wouldn’t go months without brushing our teeth or hair (unless you’re going for dreadlocks!)
We also wouldn’t go without bathing, cleaning our ears or cutting our nails for months on end, so it’s surprising that so many owners don’t provide regular dog grooming to their best furry friend.
Here are the 5 top grooming activities you should be doing regularly
1.Brushing Your Dog’s Coat — Brushing and/or combing your dog’s coat regularly helps to reduce shedding, prevent matting, and keep fur and skin clean. The rule of thumb is brushing once a week for every centimetre of length, otherwise your dog is at risk of painful mats and tangles, plus it makes the job much harder when it comes time for a groom. Spending time brushing your dog also helps to increase your bond. For more tips on brushing your dog click here.
2.Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth — With up to 80% of dogs and cats suffering from gum disease by the age of 4, clearly this is not being done by many pet owners. Brushing your dog’s teeth takes only a few minutes and when you consider the health implications that gum disease can have on their overall health, then it is really important you get into a regular dog grooming routine with this, ideally daily. For more information about dental disease and the importance of brushing your dog’s teeth, click here.
3.Trimming Your Dog’s Nails — The thought of trimming your dog’s nails can be scary but unless you are prepared to pay to have a groomer or veterinarian do it regularly, your dog could be suffering in silence.
If too much time passes between appointments, and your dog’s nails get uncomfortably long, it can cause injury from a nail that catches on something or curls under and digs into the paw. It can also cause chronic paw pain. Click here for my tips on how to trim your dog’s nails.
4.Bathing Your Dog — Whilst it is true that too many baths and harsh shampoos can cause dry skin, bathing your dog is certainly not be something that is left for months. Bathing does need to be included in the regular dog grooming list and especially if your dog has a skin condition as some skin conditions need baths several times a week to reduce the bacteria on their skin to reduce irritation and inflammation.
For dog’s without skin conditions do bath them regularly with a gentle, all-natural shampoo specifically for dogs. Human shampoo is pH balanced for humans, not dogs and cats. Many popular shampoos contain potentially toxic ingredients, which can be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream and tissues, so give those a miss.
5.Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears — It’s also important to regularly keep your dog’s ears clean. It’s a good idea after a bath give them a gentle wipe out.
If your dog gets particularly gunky ears then do talk to your vet about a safe ear cleaner and learn how to use it properly. You’ll need to clean your dog’s ears as often as needed to keep them wax and debris-free; for many dogs this means daily or several times a week.
About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog training, minding and walking business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.