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Grooming and bonding

Grooming and bonding

Grooming your dog accomplishes much more than just making his coat look nice and shiny. Get your dog used to being brushed and bathed at an early age, and it will provide you with the opportunity to spend some quality time with him and check closely for any problems. Move the hair aside and examine the skin closely for signs of fleas, ticks or skin irritations. Look for any unusual problems with the coat such as mats, tangles, or dandruff. Mats and tangles can be carefully removed while grooming.

All dogs have sensitive areas that need to be groomed a little more gently and carefully than others. You’ll also learn where your dog likes to be combed and brushed – this is helpful if you need to calm him during stressful times such as veterinary visits. Let your dog sniff the brush and comb before you begin grooming, and then talk to your pet in a reassuring tone while grooming. If the grooming procedure is made comfortable for your dog, he will begin to look forward to regular grooming sessions.

Regular grooming is essential to your dog’s health and well-being. Regular combing and brushing will keep the coat clean and healthy. It will stimulate the skin, and allow the natural oils to circulate to the coat. It will also allow you to carefully check for potentially serious problems. Check areas for hair loss, inflammation, unusual tenderness, or lumps under the skin. Constant scratching in a particular area may also be an indication of a problem. Check with your veterinarian about any unusual problems found.

Comb in the direction of hair growth, combing small sections at a time, until the coat is tangle free. If the coat has a particularly stubborn knot or tangle, you may have to trim it off with scissors. If you are using combination comb, begin with the widely spaced teeth, and follow up with the finer teeth.

Begin brushing at the head, working toward the tail and down the legs. Regular brushing will help distribute the natural oils from the skin, producing a healthy, shiny coat. Brushing several times a week is recommended for most dogs.

Because puppies have short attention spans, select a time when he is less energetic. Begin with short grooming sessions – about five minutes. Constantly talk to your puppy in a gentle, reassuring tone while grooming to make him feel comfortable. Be sure to check his ears, paws, teeth, and underside during the grooming procedure. Soon he will become more comfortable to being handled and look forward to these sessions with you.

It is important to establish and adhere to a regular schedule of grooming sessions. Schedule these at a convenient time for both you and your dog. A good time to do this is after the dog has been walked, while he is relieved and calm. Select a time when you will not be interrupted and have ample time. You will soon see what frequency your dog requires.

Regular nail trimming is important to your dog’s health. Use trimmers that are specially designed for dogs. Begin by holding your dog’s paw firmly, and cut off the tip of the nail with a single stroke. Be careful to stop short of the blood vessel inside the nail. Follow up by filing your dog’s nails with a nail file. Some dogs prefer having their nails ground down with a grinding tool instead of clipped.

Bath Time! Many dog owners prefer to bathe their dog at home rather than have a groomer do it. How big your dog is will make a big difference in where you choose to give him his bath. Small dogs can be easily be bathed in the sink or bathtub, but bigger dogs present a different situation.

– Have towels (and everything else you need) handy before you begin.
– Have the dog stand on a rubber mat in the tub or sink so he’ll feel secure.
– Be careful and try not to get water in the ears.
– Remember to brush out all mats from the coat before bathing.
– Most dogs don’t need a bath more than once a month. Bathing too frequently can dry out the skin and coat.
– The water temperature should be warm – not hot.
– Talk to him and praise him for being so good, reassuring him that a bath is a good thing!

A short-haired dog is fairly easy to bathe, especially if he’s small. A hose attachment or a hose type shower massage can be a big help when using the sink or bathtub.

It’s best to bathe a large dog in the bathtub (be prepared for a bath yourself) or in the yard when the weather permits.

Buy a good dog shampoo – you might ask your veterinarian what he recommends.

Before the dog even gets near the bath water, brush him well. All of the dead, shedding fur has to be removed from the coat and undercoat. If the dog has knots, tangles, or mats, they must all be removed before you bathe him. Brushing is necessary before and after the bath.

Wet the dog well from the neck to the tail, saving the head, face, and ears for later. Begin by shampooing the hind legs. Then do the tail and the rear end. Next, shampoo the body, chest, and front legs. Now, carefully wet the head, face, and ears. Lather those areas, being careful not to get suds in the dog’s eyes. Now it’s time to rinse, and rinse, and rinse, and rinse. First rinse the shampoo from the head, face, and ears, and then the body and legs. Don’t forget the underside of the dog. To reach that area, have him stand on his hind legs by lifting his front paws. Keep rinsing until you no longer feel shampoo anywhere on the dog and the water runs clear. Any residue of shampoo remaining on the dog can cause itching, flaking, and skin problems.

When finished, wrap the dog in a towel to absorb excess water and to prevent him from shaking it everywhere. Then towel dry each part of the dog starting with his face, head, ears, body, legs, and then tail. A good towel drying can save lots of time. Finish up by drying him with a hair blower – make sure the dryer is set at a comfortable temperature, and don’t hold it too close to the dog’s skin.

Now pet your dog and give him a treat!

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