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Grooming

Everything You Need To Know From Puppies To Adults

Every dog ​​needs at least some care to maintain its health and happiness. Grooming shouldn’t be a negative experience for your dog, whether you take him to a groomer or do it yourself.

Do you know how to prepare your puppy for a lifetime of dog grooming success? Are you aware of how your dog’s care needs to change as he gets older? Do you know how to find a groomer that is a good fit for your dog’s needs? What about the best ways to groom your dog at home?

Related: The best clippers for grooming your dogs

We’ve got tips on everything you need to know about caring for your dog, from puppy to senior!

Why grooming is crucial for your dog’s health

Of course, brushing your dog can reduce shedding and make your life easier by not having to clean up as much hair around your home, but grooming is also essential to your dog’s overall health and well-being. Whether you take your dog to a groomer or do it yourself, grooming can help you detect health problems.

In fact, some health problems can actually be CAUSED by a lack of proper dog care. Some problems that can be prevented or noticed with regular grooming include:

Eye problems

Regular dog care helps determine whether your dog’s eyes are bright, clear and healthy. If they are red, runny, cloudy, or have a thick discharge, it means it’s time for a visit to the vet.

Lack of regular grooming, especially in dogs with furry faces, can also lead to ulcers due to the eyes remaining directly on your dog’s skin for extended periods of time. These can be extremely painful, and when the goobers are removed, the rough skin underneath is open to infection.

Ear infections

When you turn your dog’s ears back, the skin should look white or pale pink with very little discharge or odor. Redness, dirt or a foul odor can be signs of an infection and should warrant a visit to the vet.

A dab of ear cleaner on a cotton ball or ear cleaning wipe can be used to gently remove general dirt and grime during grooming. If your dog is prone to ear infections, cotton placed in his ears before bathing or swimming can help prevent water from entering the ear canal and causing problems.

Overgrown toenails

Some dogs that often run or walk on the sidewalk may not need their nails trimmed, but most dogs will need help from you or a groomer to keep their nails short. Overgrown toenails can cause arthritis or even burrow into your dog’s paw pads. Ouch!

Related: The 8 Best Dog Nail Grinders for Tidy Toes at Home

Tooth and mouth problems

Brushing your dog’s teeth daily with dog-friendly toothpaste is a crucial part of keeping him healthy. According to veterinarians, 85% of dogs over 4 years old have some form of gum disease, such as gingivitis. Other common oral problems include tooth loss, abscesses and even infections that can lead to death.

If your dog won’t let you brush his teeth, you can try dental rinses, dental sticks, dental wipes, raw bones, and natural chews like bully sticks to keep your dog’s mouth healthy.

Matted hair

Matted hair doesn’t just look bad; it can seriously harm your dog if you don’t brush him regularly. Matted hair can both cause and hide skin sores and infections. It can also hide fleas, ticks and lice. In severe cases it can even amputate limbs!

Depending on your dog’s coat type, he will need to be brushed as often as every day and may need to be clipped every 4-6 weeks to prevent severe matting. Ask a groomer how much brushing and what type of brush your pup’s coat type requires.

Related: The 10 Best Dog Brushes for Brushing Your Puppy

Bumps and bumps

Wet hair is much easier to see and feel than dry, frizzy hair. Even if your dog doesn’t get very dirty, regular baths can help detect lumps and bumps that could be indicators of serious health problems, up to and including cancer. Be sure to use a gentle shampoo formulated specifically for dogs to prevent your dog’s skin from drying out.

Preparing your puppy for a lifetime of positive care experiences

A dog that resists grooming is much more likely to be injured than a dog that has been introduced to all aspects of grooming from an early age. Unfamiliar dog grooming tools can be frightening, making the process more stressful. How can you set your puppy up for a lifetime of success before he even arrives at the groomer?

Hold their feet

It’s much easier to trim a dog’s nails if he doesn’t hate having his feet touched. The younger you start touching and holding your puppy’s paws – preferably while feeding him tasty treats – the more likely your dog will tolerate nail clipping without stress as he grows older.

Introduce them to brushing and combing

Small puppies may not have much hair yet, but it is important that they get used to the brush and comb you will use for them. Start with brushing for a few minutes at a time, followed by a treat. Ideally, your puppy should learn that brushing is relaxing and a bonding time, not something to be avoided.

Don’t stop if they try to bite

Pulling your hand away when your puppy nibbles on you teaches him that he can get you to stop doing what he doesn’t like. It’s okay to say no to your dog, but don’t hit him with the brush. He will learn to associate the brush with pain, and you don’t want that!

Related: The 6 Best Online Dog & Puppy Training Courses (+1 to Avoid)

Treat their face

Any dog ​​with hair on his face will need to learn to stay still while that hair is being trimmed. The younger they can learn that holding their face isn’t scary, the less likely they are to get hurt while grooming. You don’t want sharp scissors and clippers near a thrashing, terrified dog! Reward your puppy for allowing you to hold and handle parts of his face in different positions.

Get them used to noise and vibrations

The sound and feel of clippers can be scary to a dog that has never encountered them before. Long before your puppy needs his first haircut, use the body of an electric toothbrush or a razor to get him used to the vibrations. Reward calm and accept behavior with treats while you’re at it.

Take them to a groomer as soon as possible

Most groomers require that your puppy have at least his first round of shots. Once your vet has cleared everything up, arrange a meet-and-greet with your groomer as soon as possible. He or she can cuddle and kiss your puppy, give him treats and perhaps give him a bath or light grooming. The point is to show your dog that a visit to the groomer can be a fun, positive experience.

Most groomers offer cheaper puppy packs for dogs 6 months and younger to help them get used to the process. The longer you wait, the harder it will be for them to adjust.

How dog care should change as your puppy gets older

Just like humans, dogs lose cartilage as they age, leading to arthritis. Asking your older dog to stand for extended periods of time to get the perfect haircut can be cruel if he is in pain due to arthritis, hip dysplasia, or another condition related to aging.

Some suggestions for groomers include:

  • Scheduling shorter appointments that require less time in an uncomfortable kennel
  • Create simpler hairstyles that require less standing
  • Wait longer between appointments
  • Don’t strive for a perfect haircut

You also need to listen to your dog. If his behavior changes during the grooming process, he may indicate pain, hearing or vision loss, or other health problems that should be discussed with your vet.

How to find the best dog groomer for your furry friend

Finding the best dog groomer involves more than just checking online reviews. Even the best groomer in your area may not be right for your dog. Asking friends and family for recommendations and checking reviews is a good start, but that should only be the beginning of your search.

Once you have a few candidates in mind, ask for dog grooming price estimates. Most grooming salons provide a price range based on the breed of your dog, but some may charge based on the size of your dog or the amount of time it takes to groom him.

You probably want to avoid the cheapest place in town: that’s a groomer who is brand new or doesn’t value their time. They will be forced to rush as many dogs as possible to make a living – not the best environment for your dog to be cared for in!

Choose the scheduling method that works best for your dog

Once you’ve narrowed down the list a bit, it’s time to figure out how each groomer schedules their dogs. Some salons will use planning for “cattle call”., where all the dogs for the day are dropped off at a certain time in the morning and can stay there all day depending on when the groomer finishes. If your dog does well in a kennel, this can be a good option if you need to have your dog groomed while you work all day. But if your dog hates being in a kennel, this may not be a good fit.

Most dog groomers use “block” planning, where they schedule multiple dogs to come in at the same time. These places usually quote a turnaround time of 3-4 hours. Dogs are usually not dried completely – they are dried partially and then placed in a kennel with a dryer on top. This can affect the quality of the haircut and can also be dangerous for flat-faced dogs.

Other dog groomers schedule dogs individually. This is the best option if you have a dog with health problems or who hates being in a kennel. The groomer usually starts as soon as you drop your dog off, and you pick him up as soon as he is done. This can be a good option for getting older dogs in and out as quickly as possible.

Tips for caring for dogs at home

If you prefer to care for your dog at home, that’s fine too! Here are some hacks to get you started.

Use your finger to brush your dog’s teeth.

If your dog hates the toothbrush, apply dog ​​toothpaste directly to your finger or use a toothbrush with a finger cap.

Groom your dog after a long walk.

They will be too tired to fight the process.

Brush your dog while you watch TV.

Keep a brush handy and brush it for 15 minutes at a time while you both relax on the couch.

Use a flea comb to remove eye debris.

While your dog is wet, use a flea comb to gently comb out the eye debris.

Raise your dog for grooming.

If you place your dog on a table, counter or washing machine while grooming, he will understand that it is time to be serious, not play.

By following the tips in this guide, you can enjoy a lifetime of safe, fun, and even relaxing grooming for yourself and your dog!

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