The Basics of Dog Hygiene, Grooming, and Bathing

 Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Just like human beings, you need to observe proper grooming and hygiene to keep your pooch healthy and happy. And if you have no idea how to start, we have put together a list of important grooming tips to consider:

Bathing the Dog

You want to give your dog a bath at least once every month. Dogs with smoother coats, like Beagles or Weimaraners, require even less bathing. The same thing goes for dogs with a thick or double coat. However, if you have dogs with a very oily coat, then you need to give your dog a bath once every week.

To prep the dog for bathing, brush his coat before a bath. You want to remove tangles or matted fur to reduce skin irritation. Then, using lukewarm water, wash the dog’s coat thoroughly. After wetting the dog, apply shampoo and comfort the dog in a calm, soothing voice. Rinse the coat very well then air dry. Wrap the bathing up with a nice treat.

Caring for the Coat

You need to brush or comb your dog’s coat regularly to reduce matting. Matted fur often pulls and irritates the skin. Even dogs with shorter coat need regular combing to distribute the skin oils and remove dead hair. The combing motion also stimulates blood flow. A fine-toothed comb is perfect for dogs with a short and long coat.

For dogs with short hair, use a brush made with natural fibers. A steel pin brush is best for dogs with long coats. For dogs with wavy or curly hair, use a curved wire brush or a wire slicker brush. Finally, for dogs with silky straight coats, use a pin brush.

Nails and Paw Care

Because dogs do not wear shoes, there is no extra layer of protection against puncture wounds and skin abrasion. Always check the pads of your dog’s paws on a regular basis. If an object is stuck in the dog’s paw, remove it using tweezers. Clean the wound and apply an antibacterial ointment to hasten the healing process.

If your dog is suffering from a form of skin disease, take your pet to the vet. Your vet will likely prescribe antibiotics and other follow-up treatments.

For dogs living in icy or cold climate, wash the paws of your pooch regularly. Get your dog to wear booties to protect the pet from ice balls forming between his toes.

Always trim your dog’s nails regularly. The shorter the dog nails are, the easier it is for the pooch to run and play! You can buy a pet nail trimmer at your local pet store. Make sure to keep an eye for the right length of the nail so you do not trim too closely to the flesh. If say, you over-trimmed the dog’s nail, dab a little cornstarch to reduce bleeding.

Oral Care

Dogs are also prone to gum disease, especially those caused by tartar buildup. Make it a point to brush your pooch’s teeth regularly using a soft toothbrush. You can also use a gauze to remove tartar buildup. Just wrap a piece of gauze on your index finger and scrub the pooch’s teeth using a small amount of pet toothpaste. You want to brush your dog’s teeth every day or every week.

Ear Care

Keep your dog’s ears clean to keep ear mites out. Check your dog’s ears regularly for ear mites or fleas. Next, check for debris or foreign objects stuck in the dog’s ears and clean it. If the pet is suffering from an ear infection, take it to your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

To clean the dog’s ears, get a cotton ball moisten with witch hazel and olive oil. Wipe the ears clean from the inside and out. You can also ask your groomer for tips to keep your dog’s ears clean.