(by Andres Rojas)
Many dog parents are interested in dog grooming tips at home – and it’s not just because of COVID. DIY dog care is a great alternative if you don’t have time to drive, and wait at a salon, while your pooch pulls on the leash incessantly.
Of course, as with all things pet-related, there’s a lot of technique to it. Here are some basic tips that can help you get started on home grooming.
Make Brushing a Habit
Brushing your dog every couple of days releases dead hair, distributes natural oils in the skin, and keeps your dog’s coat shiny and healthy.
Depending on the type of coat, you may need some dog grooming tools for the job like:
- Bristle, curry, and pin brushes
- Shedding blade
- Mat remover
As for the job itself, make sure you find a quiet, comfortable spot – maybe in front of your TV – where you can sit, untangle any mat, and loosen up your pup’s dead hair.
Whatever coat your dog may have, make sure you ask your trusted vet or pet groomer for advice to get the best results.
Keep Your Dog’s Ears Cleaned
Cleaning your dog’s ears yourself is a simple procedure, as Dr. Jeff explains:
“Put the solution in the ear, massage the ears, and don't massage the skin. You got to get around and feel that cartilaginous ear, the vertical ear canal, and that's what you want to massage. Then let the dogs shake. If you're going to use like a cotton swab, make sure first that you learn how to use it properly by your veterinarian. Basically, I recommend holding it just about an inch from the tip so you can't go any deeper than that.”
But as Dr. Jeff says, it’s important to have your dog’s ears checked by a vet first. That way, you can know if there’s any issue with your dog’s ear canal before you begin (and make it worse!).
“You want to start with the clean ear because if you put a cotton swab in a dirty ear it's just going to pack the debris down deeper into the canal right by the tympanum (the eardrum) and that's going to present more problems”
Besides being able to detect and treat ear infections, like Malassezia, your vet can also help you find a good solution that gets rid of microbes and fungus without irritating your pet’s ears.
Take Your Time When You’re Nail Trimming
Nail trimming your dog’s nails is a delicate procedure. Dogs’ nails have nerves and blood vessels in them. So your dog will bleed and feel pain if you or your groomer cut them too short or hit the wrong spot.
However, doing it yourself has the benefit of being less stressful for your pet than visiting a stranger. So once you have talked with your groomer or vet, make sure you have the dog grooming tools you need, such as:
- Nail trimmers
- Nail grinder for dogs
- Styptic powder
Then, instead of doing it all in one go, take your time to introduce and reward your pooch for meeting your trimmers and grinder. At first, you may clip just one nail per day but eventually you and your pet will get used to it.
Make Baths Fun
Dogs, like cats, don’t like water. So, as Dr. Jeff says, the best way to do it is to start really, really small:
“Sometimes just maybe take a hose, take them outside with his favorite treat, and just wet his feet down. And that’s it. Maybe spend 15-20 seconds. And then, next session it could be a day later, two, three days later you maybe go up the legs.”
Likewise, with small breeds, Dr. Jeff recommends using a bathtub and food treats to get them used to water:
“Make it positive, lots of food treats, reward whatever they seem to like, and don't push it all down at once. the whole idea is to gradually increase the exposure to water, make it fun, and (hopefully) you get to the point where they may not love it but they'll at least tolerate it.”
You Can Always Get Professional Help
The best thing about DIY dog grooming is that you can always take a break. Whether you want special treatment for your dog or have other things to do, you can count on Value Vet’s staff’s expert hands:
“On Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Eduardo – who was my groomer at Century – is now with me at Value Vet, and he's great. So he's there doing grooming three days a week. So you can make an appointment at Value Vet, or if you want to get a hold of me, you can send me a direct email.”