Do-It-Yourself Grooming Basics For Every Dog Owner

Many dog owners opt for saving money by grooming their own pets rather than taking them to a groomer. And besides the economical reasons, grooming your dog also provides a unique bonding experience for you both.

If you’d like to become your dog’s one and only groomer, here are a few useful tips along with links to further information.

Make It Fun
Grooming sessions should always be fun,
according to the ASPCA. Give her lots of praise, and groom her when she’s relaxed. Also, keep the sessions short at first — around 5 to 10 minutes. You can start spending more time when the grooming becomes routine for your dog.

Know Her Hair Type
It’s important to take your dog’s
hair type into consideration. According to Nylabone, there are five general categories of dog hair types: Smooth Coat, Medium Coat, Long Coat, Wire Hair/Broken Coat, and Wavy Coat. Different types require different care, so you’ll want to use the above links to determine your dog’s type and the best way to care for it.

Brushing Her Hair
Again according to the ASPCA, regular brushing will help remove dirt, spread natural oils throughout her coat, prevent tangles, and keep her skin clean and irritant-free. As the American Kennel Club suggests:
Begin brushing at the neck, working toward the tail and down the legs, then brush the head last. Gently brush all the way down to the skin. Check closely for signs of fleas, ticks or skin irritations.”

Bathing
Remember that bathing your dog too often, according to the American Kennel Club, can remove natural oils and make your dog’s coat and skin dry. The ASPCA recommends bathing her every three months (or more frequently in the summer months when she spends lots of time outdoors.)

To quote the American Kennel Club: “Be sure to brush your dog before giving him a bath, removing all mats and tangles. Wet your dog with warm water. Work a mild dog shampoo into a lather beginning at the neck and working back. Rinse with warm water. Be careful not to get shampoo in his eyes or ears. After your dog is dry, brush and comb him again.”

Nail Trimming
According to Nylabone
, you should familiarize yourself with your dog’s nails, and know exactly how to complete a clipping before getting started for the first time.

Inside the center of the nail is the ‘quick,’ which is easily visible through clear, white nails. You definitely do not want to cut into the quick. Cut the nail below the quick at a 45 degree angle. If you inadvertently cut into the quick, it will bleed profusely, so be sure to have a blood-clotting product on hand, such as silver nitrate. Once you get used to it, cutting your dog’s nails should be as easy as cutting your own, so you should be able to do it
quickly and easily, with no fear of hurting your dog.”

Hair Trimming
Many dog breeds have their own requirements, but Dog Training Central
lists the following general tips about trimming your dog’s hair:

1. Start with a guard blade that takes off less hair. You can always switch to a shorter guard, but you can’t put back hair already taken off!

2. Clipper with the way the hair grows, not against it.

3. To avoid clipper burn, don’t apply pressure on the clipper while clipping. Just lightly move the blade across your dog.

4. The metal parts do get hot and they can burn dogs, so always use a plastic guard when clippering.

5. Be very careful using the clipper on or around sensitive areas. The stomach and groin are two of the places you need to be the most careful. Watch out for nipples on the tummy, in both boys and girls.

6. Depending on how much loose skin your dog has, while clippering with one hand, hold your dog’s skin taught with the other. This way, the clippers run evenly over the skin/coat.

7. Don’t forget the feet! Many dogs have hair on the bottom of their feet that continues to grow. Use a smaller clipper or scissors to cut this hair off.

8. Never clipper through a tangle or mat. Your clippers will become stuck in the mat and pull against the skin. Always remove tangles and mats with brushing prior to clipping your dog.

Do you know of other important grooming tips not mentioned in this post? Let us know in the comments section!

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