Grooming your dog regularly is key to keeping them healthy, comfortable & stink free!
Frequent at-home grooming allows you to check for parasites, skin issues, overall body health & can be a great 1-on-1 bonding time for you and your furry best pal.
Different breeds have different needs & require varying maintenance in-between professional visits, if you’re unsure how often you should be visiting a salon give your local groomers a call for advice, we don't bite !
The following tips will help you establish an at-home grooming routine with professional tips & tricks along with some fabulous products.
Create a grooming space
Its a well known fact that dogs can play up at home for their pawrents when it comes to grooming !
First things first make sure you have everything to hand that you may need, you don't want to be stopping and starting continuously. Then decide on your ‘grooming space’, for small to medium dogs we always suggest popping them up on to a non slip surface so they are not on the floor or the sofa ! This will help them to understand that it’s now grooming time and they will learn to relax in that spot.
For larger breeds of dog you may want to pop down a towel in your chosen space and make that a marker for grooming time.
Keep a collar on your dog so you have something to hold on to if they are attempting to wiggly away, but remember to remove and brush underneath once everything else is competed.
All dogs should have their eyes regularly looked at and cleaned to prevent a build up of gunk that can cause sores, irritation & infection.
This should be done daily and will only take you a few seconds to complete.
Simply use a damp cotton pad or cloth and wipe from the corner of the eye outwards to remove and unwanted debris.
If done daily you will prevent the gunk to build up and go hard, which can cause sores to the eyes once removed.
Wrinkled breeds will also need the folds beneath the eyes cleaned daily in the same way to prevent bacteria from building.
Dirt and wax will collect in your dogs ears naturally and it is important to maintain the ears to prevent an infection.
Get yourself some dog friendly ear wipes, which you can purchase in most pet stores & online.
Using one finger, clean the inside of each ear including any folds of skin, only go into the ear up to your fingertip, you don't want to go too far in as this can disrupt the ear canal and cause damage or infection.
Every dog will produce wax so its normal to have dirty ears however if the wax is excessive, the ear looks red and inflamed or its very smelly it could be a sign of an infection brewing below and may require a vet visit.
Get your towels at the ready !
The frequency of how often you bathe your dog depends on a few factors; breed, skin health, coat length & how much does your dog love a muddy puddle !
All things considered at home bath time should be happening every 2-4 weeks to maintain clean healthy skin & check overall coat health.
A good quality natural shampoo is key, the more natural the shampoo & conditioner you use the more frequent you can bath your dog.
We highly recommend For All Dog Kind shampoo, they are all 97% natural, smell great and leave the coat squeaky clean with ease.
If you have a long or thick coated dog ensure your dogs coat is knot & matt free before going into the bath, as bathing matts can make them much worse.
If you have a very matted / knotty dog you may need a trip to your local grooming salon before attempting bath time at home.
Firstly check if the shampoo you’re using needs to be diluted and follow the dilution instructions on the bottle, then we begin !
If your dog will tolerate a hair dryer you can now use this on a low - medium heat setting to dry the dog off, If not let them air dry!
Brushing & combing
All dogs including short coated breeds require frequent brushing.
For your longer, thick- coated breeds proper brushing & combing is vital to maintaining a healthy coat, failure to do so will cause matting and end up with a professional visit usually consisting of a shave down to remove these matts.
For longer coated dogs daily brushing is required & your best friends will be a good quality ‘Slicker brush’ and a trusty comb.
The slicker brush can be used all over nose - tail just avoid brushing any private areas !
The comb is then used to go over the coat, this will allow you to pick up any knotted areas and go back in with your slicker brush to work them out.
When brushing, go section by section starting at the head and working your way down the dogs body to ensure you don't miss anywhere.
When combing ensure the comb is getting right to the base of the coat and being pulled through, knots often start at the base of the coat and if these are being missed matts will form resulting in a short trim !
For short coated breeds weekly brushing is required.
A rubber curry comb is great for very short coated breeds such as French Bulldogs and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
A Furminator is great for short, thicker coated breeds such as labradors & pugs.
Short haired breeds benefit massively from weekly brushing to help remove excess dead coat and will eventually result in less hair around the house if a schedule is kept to !
Finally grooming at home should be a fun experience and not stressful !
It’s a chance for you to have dedicated 1-on-1 time with your pooch and keep an eye on the condition & health of your dog.
Keep a bag of treats nearby and reward them for good behaviour throughout, Pooch & Mutt treats are usually the preferred !!
Happy grooming, Emma at Short Bark and Sides.
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