Grooming is not just about making your beloved pet look good – it’s also essential for their health. Bathing, brushing, and other care basics will keep your pet clean and healthy, as well as you and your home. Best of all – it’s an excuse to bond with your furry friend. Here are some of the top ways to keep your pooch in perfect condition.
Bathing your pet has various benefits. It cleans their skin, removes loose hair, scale, and dirt, and gives their coat a lovely shine. But how often should you wash your pet? This varies very much from pooch to pooch as each dog has its own unique needs. It’s generally accepted that for a dog with a healthy coat and skin, a bath is only necessary if the dog is dirty or smells bad. This could be as often as once a month, or as little as a few times a year. However, it shouldn’t be too regularly as bathing affects the skin’s natural oils, leading to dryness and redness. As such, dogs with certain skin conditions probably require specific bath routines, which should be discussed with a vet.
Dogs also have very sensitive skin with a pH that is different from that of a human. As such, avoid using your own shampoo on your dog and opt instead for a gentle, hypoallergenic version approved for pet use. If you’re unsure of which products are suitable, speak to your local vet for recommendations.
Regular brushing is not only good for the appearance and condition of your pet’s coat, but also for blood circulation. It removes dead skin cells, aerates the hair and unclogs pores. It even distributes natural skin oils and removes dirt, which reduces the necessity for bathing.
But how often should you do it? For pets with short hair, a weekly brush should be more than sufficient to keep the coat clean, or you can opt for a soft grooming glove which removes loose hair gently and easily. Pets with medium to long-haired coats should be brushed daily, with regular trips to the spa to prevent tangles, matting, hairballs, or infection.
3. Grooming Paws and Nails
Next time you give your dog a bath, check there are no thorns or bits of dirt lodged in their paws or between their toes. These little irritations can cause other issues if left too long. Regular exercise helps to keep nails short, but if your dog’s nails are too long, have them trimmed at the vet. Do it yourself only if you are confident that you know what you’re doing as cutting them too short can lead to pain and bleeding.
A dog’s ear canal is deep, dark, and warm, which makes it the perfect place for bacteria to hide. If your dog keeps rubbing it, if fluid seeps out, or if there’s a bad odour coming from it, the ear could be infected. However, it’s not necessary to clean your dog’s ears often – just get them checked regularly and dry them properly after a bath or swim. You can also ask your vet for tips on how best to clean them when necessary.
Your pet’s eyes should always be kept clean and clear, so if you notice a build up of dirt and grime (especially in the corners), gently wipe it away with a damp cotton wool ball or pad. Hair around the eye should be trimmed regularly using a pair of blunt-nosed safety scissors. If you notice any irregularities, get it seen to as soon as possible as eye problems can worsen rapidly.
When it comes to your pet’s teeth, prevention is always better than cure because once a problem starts, it can have serious implications. Establish a routine from as early as possible and get your kitten or puppy used to toothpaste and a toothbrush. There are plenty of products available, including brushes for smaller mouths and long-handled brushes for longer snouts. Ideally, you should brush your pet’s teeth daily (or as often as possible) to prevent a build-up of plaque.
Have your pet’s teeth scaled and polished professionally at least once a year to remove tartar and plaque. Wherever possible, avoid bones as they can lead to fractures, damaged gums, or wearing of enamel. Instead, opt for rawhide chews and other chews approved by your vet. Chewing ensures that your dog’s teeth and gums stay clean and healthy.
7. Ask A Professional
Ultimately, regular grooming (and trips to the doggy spa) will help you to pick up and prevent health problems in your pet before they arise. Visiting a professional groomer will also help to ensure that your pet stays in great condition. If you’re unsure, chat to your vet for tips on your pet’s unique grooming needs. Why – because your pooch deserves the best!
Compiled by Food and Decor Editor, Claire Badenhorst