You know how a scruffy dog makes you wonder about the owners? They could do with some basic dog grooming tips, for if they can’t keep their dog groomed, what does their house look like? It’s a natural thought, for your dog’s general condition is a reflection of you, after all:
A well-groomed dog is a healthier dog. Dogs don’t really care too much about being clean. But when dogs are allowed to get dirty and rarely if ever washed, all sorts of nasty things can crawl over and around their skin. Then they come in and lie on your couch…
This article and its 10 special dog grooming tips will enable you to keep your dog clean, smart, and healthy. You won’t mind if she lies on your couch, for you will know she is clean and tidy. Your friends will be impressed too. And the best part? Your dog will thank you!
Now, let’s be clear… Grooming isn’t just about getting your dog clean. It isn’t just about having your dog smelling sweet. And it isn’t easy either. You learn through practice, so here are my dog grooming tips learned over many years of personal experience:
1 – Before bathing, brush your dog
A well-brushed dog is easier to bath. Wet and tangled hair is difficult to brush out. Do it while the hair of her coat is still dry. And your dog may decide to shake herself halfway through, which only complicates the matter more if she’s wet.
Brushing your dog’s coat when it is dry will be a lot less painful if there are many tangles in the hairs. If you have a short-haired dog, then this will not be much of a problem, of course. But if you have a long-haired dog, brush before bathing!
2 – Untangle the tangles with baby powder
If you have a long-haired dog, you already know how difficult it can be to untangle the tangles in her coat. Trying to comb out the tangled locks is difficult for you, and unpleasant, even painful, for your dog.
The easy tangles aren’t too much of a problem, but the difficult tangles are a nightmare! This is where you need to reach for the baby powder. Just sprinkle some powder over the tangle, rub it in a little, getting it right into the middle of the tangle. Then gently comb it out.
It isn’t a magic trick, so it might still pose some difficulty, but the baby powder acts to make the hairs more slippery, so they can slide apart more easily. It has a side effect too: You dog will smell so much nicer afterward.
3 – Before the dog bath, prepare the bathroom!
A wet, excited, and probably a pissed-off dog, is hard to control. If your dog loves her bath, you’re lucky! An unwilling dog in a bath can be messy. It usually is, though it’s worth the end result. But get prepared before you start:
Clear the bathroom of all unnecessary stuff. Have the towels close to hand and ready to use. Keep the dog shampoo close to hand as well. You want to be in a position where you can reach out and grab whatever item you need without undue effort.
If possible, have just one person – you – in the bathroom. Too many people in a small room will only excite your dog. Stay upbeat and cheerful. If your dog senses you are tense and stressed out, guess what – she will get tense and stressed out too!
One more bit of valuable advice. This one is from personal experience… Close the bathroom door once you get your dog inside the room! Trust me – an excited, very wet dog that makes a run for it will only result in a very wet house.
Close the bathroom door before bathing her. This is perhaps the best of the dog grooming tips you will ever hear!
4 – Clean her ears to help prevent infection
Dog ears, like human ears, get dirty. The simple answer is to clean them regularly. You can do this weekly, but monthly is probably good enough if you’re a busy person. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the dog ear, the more regular it should be cleaned.
If your dog has ears that flop over and cover the ear canal, clean more regularly than with a dog who has ears that stand up, leaving the ear canal clear. It’s the build-up of wax and bacteria in the ear canal that causes the potential problem and needs to be cleaned out.
You can purchase commercial dog ear cleaner solution, or make your own. There are plenty of recipes freely available on the internet. Just Google something like, “DIY dog ear cleaner solution recipe” and thousands of answers will pop up.
With your cleaner solution on hand, soak a cotton ball in the solution, squeezing it gently until it no longer runs, and clean the outside area first. Steadily work your way inside the ear canal, bearing in mind that this is a sensitive area, so be careful and gentle.
Don’t go deep inside the ear canal with a cotton ball. Use common sense here. It should be obvious how deep it is safe to go. Err on the side of caution if you’re not sure. Gently dry the ear when you have finished.
5 – Wash her face to get rid of bacteria
This is especially important if your dog has skin folds or deep wrinkles on her face. The folds and wrinkles are places where moisture will build up, allowing bacteria to thrive. Regular cleaning is the answer.
Use a damp, warm washcloth, or even baby wipes, to clean her face. After cleaning, you need to leave the folds and wrinkles dry. A dry cloth will help, of course, but a little baby powder – not too much – will help as well. Rub it in gently, and don’t get it in her eyes.
6 – Grooming wipes are your friend
When it comes to dog grooming tips, keep dog grooming wipes handy at all times. Your dog’s paws can, and probably will have dirt ingrained in them, which needs to be cleaned out.
Then there are tear stains on her face, eye boogers (yes, gross, but necessary to remove), unmentionable and unidentifiable foreign objects in her fur – it all needs to be removed, and grooming wipes can be invaluable here.
7 – Brush her teeth daily
You brush your teeth several times a day, don’t you? Well, guess what – your dog needs that kind of attention too. She doesn’t handle a toothbrush very well – paws don’t have opposing thumbs – so you will need to do it for her.
Don’t use human toothpaste! It’s full of stuff that your dog doesn’t need, and probably you don’t need either. Use only toothpaste designed especially for dogs. Human-designed toothpaste could make your dog sick, so don’t ever use it on your dog.
Buy a toothbrush that will only be used for your dog. A child’s toothbrush is ideal as the bristles are softer on the gums than one designed for an adult. It isn’t easy brushing your dog’s teeth, so if you are having problems, try using a dental spray, or chew treats designed for keeping teeth clean.
My dog grooming tips ended with the importance of brushing her teeth regularly, so here’s a little story about brushing a dog’s teeth that I once read. It claimed to be a true story, but who knows…
A little boy around three-years-old came up to his mother one day and said, “Mom, look at the dog’s teeth. Aren’t they really clean?”
His mother looked alarmed, and seeing the tell-tale signs of white toothpaste foam around the dog’s mouth, said, “Johnny, did you just clean the dog’s teeth?”
Johnny answered, “Yes Mom. You always tell me to clean my teeth, so I cleaned the dog’s teeth too!”
The mother decided not to get angry with Johnny, but she also needed to teach him a lesson about the difference between cleaning people’s teeth, and dog’s teeth. She said to Johnny, “OK, we’re going to the store to buy you a new toothbrush!”
On the way there she explained to little Johnny that, while it was good to clean the dog’s teeth, it was necessary to use a different toothbrush. Johnny listened but said nothing.
They bought a new toothbrush for Johnny and threw away the old one. His mother told him not to clean the dog’s teeth again. He agreed.
About a week later, Johnny said to his mother, “Mom, why did we have to get a new toothbrush for me when I cleaned the dog’s teeth that time?”
His mother explained, “Well Johnny, it would have been wrong if you had cleaned the dog’s teeth with your toothbrush, and then cleaned your own teeth with the same brush.”
Johnny still looked confused. Then he said, “But Mom, I used your toothbrush!”