Look Good Feel Great - Grooming your Dog
Start off your grooming routine using a comb to help identify any stubborn knots, tangles or mats. There are many different types of combs available and it will depend on the length of your pets coat as to which comb you choose - the shorter your pets coat the finer pitch of the comb.
Starting at the neck, comb your pets coat in the direction of the hair growth, combing small sections at a time. Should you come across troublesome areas try a dematting comb, slicker or rake or alternatively trim it off with scissors. Slickers and rakes help to ease tangles and mats as well as removing loose and dead hairs from the undercoat that could contribute to this problem if not removed.
Shedding blades and stripping knifes are good for trimming down very thick dog coats.
Very fine combs are usually referred to as flea combs and this is an essential tool for finding and combing out fleas and their eggs.
Once the coat has been combed, continue your grooming routine by brushing through, again starting at the neck. Regular brushing stimulates the skin and helps distribute the natural oils that produce a healthy shiny coat. Again, there are lots of products available but generally, the harder the brush the more suitable for longer haired breeds.
These are ideal for dogs that don't respond well to be groomed. They help stimulate the skin and encourage the removal of loose hairs whilst relaxing your pet. A comb and brush are still required though for keeping the undercoat in good condition.
All dogs will need there nails trimming from time to time to stop them from becoming too long and painful. Never use ordinary scissors to trim your dog's nails, make sure you use clippers that are designed specifically for your dog. Guillotine type nail clippers are best used on medium and large dogs and scissor type clippers are best suited to small breeds.
Holding your dog's paw firmly cut off the tip of the nail at a 45 degree angle with a single stroke so that the tip will lie flush with the floor. Be careful to avoid the 'quick', a blood vessel inside the nail, as this will bleed if caught and be painful for your dog. If this does happen apply 'blood stopper' to the nail to stop it from bleeding.
The 'quick' is the pinkish colour inside the nail and is easy to see on light haired dogs but not so with dark dogs. If you cannot see the quick clearly stop cutting just behind the point at which the nail begins to curve downward. Cut the nails sections at a time until you get close to, but not right up to the quick.
Don't forget to trim the dewclaw, which is located on the inside of the leg (typically the front legs), just above the paw. Not all dogs have dewclaws but if yours does, this needs trimming just like all the rest.
Once you have trimmed all your dog's nails, finish off by filing away any rough edges with a nail file, again, that is designed specifically for your dog.
If you do not feel confident trimming your dog's nails, your local grooming parlour or veterinary surgery can trim your dog's nails for you.
Once you have thoroughly brushed your pet to remove any mats and loose hairs, the next step of your grooming routine is to bathe your dog. How often you should bathe your dog depends on the breed and how messy your dog gets on walks but 2 - 3 times a year is a general guide.
There are a whole host of shampoos available for your dog and the type you choose will depend on their coat type, moisture required and desired smell! Always use a shampoo that is specially design for your dog, as the PH balance is human shampoo is harsher and not suitable for pets.
When bathing your dog place a rubber non slip mat on the bottom of the bath to stop your dog from slipping and place cotton wool into each ear to prevent water from entering and causing distress.
Rinse your dog with lukewarm water holding the shower head about an inch from your pet's coat. Never spray your dog in the face with water, slightly lift your dogs face so that water runs down their back instead of into the eyes or nose. Once their coat is completely soaked through apply a small amount of pet shampoo and work it through the hair to the skin, avoiding the sensitive areas of the eyes and ears. A rubber brush or glove will help the shampoo to penetrate the coat, leaving it looking and smelling clean. Be sure to pay attention to those places that often get neglected at bath time such as, between the pads, under the tail, under the chin and behind the ears. Thoroughly rinse the shampoo off your dog's coat, using your free hand to knead the soap out of the coat. Any soap left in the coat will dull the coat and may cause skin irritation. Should your dog suffer from dry skin or dandruff, use a conditioner to create a protective barrier and help maintain moisture for a soft and shiny coat. Dry your pet with a towel or pet hairdryer. Finally remove the cotton wool from your dog's ears.
Bathing your dog too frequently can cause the coat to soften and reduce its insulating abilities and waterproofing qualities. Try using a scented spray to eliminate undesirable odours or bathing wipes which are a quicker and simpler way to clean dogs in between bathing and a lot less stressful for both you and your dog.