When you get a new dog, grooming the animal is part of the responsible care, and the information in this beginners guide to grooming your dog at home can help you with the process. Short hair dogs seldom need grooming, other than some trimming around their ears and paws. Dogs with a long coat, curly or straight, need frequent brushings. Some dogs have hair that needs to be trimmed regularly, as it grows continuously. Trips to the groomer can severely cut into your budget, especially with a dog that needs a trim every month. It really isn’t that difficult to take care of your dog’s grooming needs at home if you have the time and inclination. With some help from other family members and a little practice, you can groom your dog at home.
Equipment Necessary to Groom Your Dog at Home
- Nail Trimmers
- Brushes and Combs
- Trimmer or Clipper
- Hair Scissors
- Dog Shampoo
- Ear Cleaner
Keeping treats on hand to encourage cooperative behavior and remember to verbally praise your dog for good behavior which will help the process go smoothly.
Grooming Your Dog At Home Starts With The Bath
Depending on the size of your dog, you can either wash him in your bathtub or kitchen sink. Remember to use warm (not hot) water and keep the shampoo away from his face, eyes, and mouth. Dry him as best you can with soft towels and don’t let him get chilled while he is still damp. It may be best to contain him in an easily washable area until he is dry. After a bath, dogs love nothing better than to rub themselves dry on your couch, bedspread, or carpet.
Paws and Ears as Part of the At-Home Grooming
You may require the help of another family member to hold the dog down and keep him calm while you trim his nails. Clip only a small length during each session. If his nails have grown unusually long, you will only be able to cut them every two or three weeks to prevent bleeding. Dogs with “floppy” ears need to have their ears cleaned regularly with an ear cleaner to help prevent infection. If an infection is present within the ears, you will detect a foul odor and possibly note redness and irritation.
Brushing and Trimming the Coat
Use the brush or comb that is recommended for your breed of dog. It may take some trial and error to find the best product. Using trimmers and scissors to cut and shape your dog’s coat will take some practice. Try not to get discouraged if it does not look professional the first time. It will grow out for you to try again next month. And if it looks that bad, you can always take your pup to a professional groomer who will fix the cut and may tell you how you can do better next time.
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