Dog grooming is a term that I used to associate with poofy hair cuts and painted toe nails. I’m not judging; Frankie tends towards the shaggy chic, so it’s just not his style. But I dress Frankie up occasionally, which many people find offensive (Halloween must be hell for them).
To each her own.
But as I’ve learned over the years, dog grooming — and especially the kind you do at home — is about far more than superficials. The regular attention you pay to your dog during grooming sessions is key to his health as well as to your relationship with each other. It can also be beneficial to your own health, though — full disclosure — it is unlikely to enhance your appearance. Quite the opposite when brushing or bathing your dog is involved.
That’s not to suggest that using a professional groomer shouldn’t be part of your routine; certain breeds require care that’s beyond the scope of most people’s skill and energy, and some aspects of home dog grooming of any breed may elude you (nail clipping is my personal downfall). But whether between professional sessions or instead of them, these five procedures are key to any routine.
This is probably the most important thing you can do for your dog for a variety of reasons, the primary being removing tangles and mats that fungi, insects — or in extreme cases, small children — can nest in. The frequency of required brushing depends primarily on the type of coat your dog has. Long-haired dogs can benefit from daily brushing, medium-haired dogs should be brushed weekly, while short-haired dogs can go a month between sessions without tangles becoming a problem.
But that doesn’t mean they should.
Brushing your dog also allows you to become aware of any unusual lumps or bumps early in their development so that your vet can check them out as soon as possible. It has also been shown to have a calming effect, to the extent of lowering blood pressure, on both the brusher and the brushee. And there’s the quality time you’re spending with your pup.
Going slow and using the right tool is important so your dog doesn’t associate the procedure with pain. Pet-oriented retailers offer full lines of dog grooming products geared towards different types of coats and hair lengths.
2. Nail Trimming
Not all dogs need their nails trimmed. Some file their own nails by walking or running on hard surfaces. Pups that don’t pound the pavement, however, and small breeds that don’t weigh enough to successfully self-file need pedicures. Overlong nails can get caught in carpeting or clothing or become ingrown and infected. And just because dog nails aren’t as sharp as cat nails, don’t think being scratched by a dog isn’t painful. Read More