Make the most of grooming your dog
Although grooming your dog can often turn into a chase around the house with brush in hand, and both parties ending up frustrated and none the smoother, it can actually be a great bonding opportunity.
Grooming your dog is so important regardless of their hair length. It removes all of the dead hair and debris that can linger on the skin and could potentially become a home for all sorts of bacteria and parasites.
It is also a great way to get to know your dog’s body and be able to detect when something is not right later on. Starting grooming from an early age is a good idea, as it allows the dog to get used to the process and will grow to be calmer throughout the process.
It also helps to reward the dog often when they sit patiently, to allow the dog to associate the grooming with a desirable outcome and something to enjoy. Be sure to always carry out the grooming in calm, comfortable spaces where the dog can relax, and always finish the grooming with a fun game or treats so the last memory the dog has of the grooming is something fun.
Always be gentle with the brush and start by brushing the dog’s coat. Begin on his neck and move down his body, under his belly, and on his tail.
Follow with any necessary clipping or other grooming that needs to be done before the bath. For example, trim out any mats or large amounts of hair that will only waste your time shampooing and drying. Dogs look best when groomed after they are bathed and blow-dried.
If your dog scratches a lot, decide if the scratching is from parasites, allergies, or simple skin irritation. If your dog is suffering from parasites, pick out a good flea or problem specific shampoo at a pet store or retail store. You may need a Permethrin shampoo for lice or fleas. Otherwise, select a mild shampoo, or make the shampoo yourself, as many dogs are allergic to shampoos that contain chemicals. Some general dog shampoos are formulated with oatmeal to help reduce general irritation. If you have a puppy, check to make sure that he is old enough for the shampoo that you have chosen.
Rinse your dog until the water from his fur runs clear. Then rinse one more time. If your dog shies from rinsing his face, use your hand to bring water from the faucet to his face repeatedly to rinse. You can also use a wet washcloth and wash off the water with small circles.
Get a small or big towel, lay it over your dog’s back, and rub your dog dry. Make sure you dry the inside of his ears also. A dog’s instinct is to shake itself when wet, though, so be careful. In the winter, or for small dogs almost all the time, lay a dry towel on the floor and use a hair dryer and dog brush to dry and brush your dog.
If you notice any abnormalities with your dog while you are grooming or your dog is unusually scared or in pain during the process, get them checked at the vet to make sure they have no parasites or allergies.
Make the most of this dog caring obligation, and enjoy the time to bond with your pet.