Being a responsible pet parent is about more than just providing your pup with a healthy diet and taking him for a walk – you also have to take care of his skin and coat. While some dogs have short coats and do not shed much, grooming is still very important. Regular grooming helps to keep your pup’s coat in good condition and his skin properly moisturized.
Tips for Grooming Your Dog
Many pet parents assume that grooming their dogs is difficult, so they spend a lot of money on professional groomers. While some long-coated breeds do require professional grooming occasionally, there is no reason you can’t do some grooming at home, following these tips:
Get your dog used to grooming early
Some dogs get anxious around new people or don’t tolerate people handling their paws. In order to make sure that grooming doesn’t get harder as your pup ages, get him used to the experience early, if possible.
Take the time to learn how your dog likes to be brushed
Some dogs are sensitive about touch on certain areas of their bodies, while other dogs love it everywhere. Groom your dog slowly the first few times to learn where he likes to be brushed.
Invest in the right grooming supplies
Many different types of brushes and combs for grooming dogs are available, so find the ones that are right for your pup. Choose a brush that matches the length and texture of your dog’s coat – you can always ask a professional groomer for recommendations.
Brush or comb your dog’s fur in the direction of hair growth
Start grooming at the base of your pup’s neck and move the brush slowly down his back, following the direction of hair growth. Brushing your dog’s hair backward can be irritating and even painful.
Do not forget to brush your dog’s legs and under his belly
These are the areas where your dog is most likely to pick up mats or burrs in his fur. Be careful when brushing your dog’s legs because putting too much pressure against the bone could be painful.
Keep your grooming sessions short, especially for puppies
If you keep your grooming sessions short, your pup will be less likely to become antsy and irritated. When you are grooming a puppy, keep the sessions limited to about five minutes – you can work your way up to fifteen minutes for older dogs.
Try to set a schedule for grooming to make sure you don’t forget
Some dogs need to be groomed more often than others, especially those with long fur. Determine how often you need to groom your pup and then make it part of your routine.
Bathe your dog regularly
It can be an intimidating prospect, especially if you have a large breed of dog, but bathing does not have to be left to professional groomers. Use warm water and pet-friendly shampoo, working from the top of your dog's body down. Go slowly and give your pup lots of positive reinforcement. Once you get the hang of it, bathing your dog can become part of your routine.
Don’t forget to trim your dog’s nails
An essential part of grooming your pup is trimming his nails – you do not want them to become overgrown. When you trim your dog’s nails, be very careful to trim only the tip – if you cut it too much you could sever the quick, the blood vessel that supplies blood to the nail, which could cause pain and bleeding.
Grooming your pup does not have to be a chore that takes hours to accomplish. By following the tips above, you can learn how to groom your dog properly so that he receives the most benefit. Make sure you keep up with brushing your dog on a regular basis and only take him in for a professional grooming if he needs it.
If you have any grooming tips to share with LovePets readers, let us know in the comments below!