Shorthaired, longhaired, or anywhere in between, grooming is important for dogs of all breeds.
Not only does it help maintain a shiny, Crufts-worthy coat, but it allows you to check for parasite infestations, skin issues, and other problems your pup may be having underneath all their fur – as well as being all-important bonding time.
From regular brushing and bathing to nail clipping and hair trimming, it’s important to incorporate these things into your dog’s routine, even if they go for regular professional grooming appointments so they are familiar with them and become comfortable.
Here, our experts offer their top tips for establishing an at-home grooming routine with your four-legged friend.
1. Brush their fur regularly
The amount you brush your dog depends on the length of their fur.
As a general rule, shorthaired dogs should have their fur brushed at least once a week, whilst medium and longhaired dogs require daily brushing to keep matting at bay and reduce shedding.
Also, keep in mind that if your dog has a thick undercoat (a second layer of fur that keeps them warm in winter and cool in summer), they’ll need brushing daily – regardless of whether they’re short or longhaired.
2. Trim overgrown fur
Many dog owners prefer to take their fur babies to a professional groomer to get their fur trimmed, but in between their appointments, you may need to trim down any overgrown fur, around their eyes and in between their paw pads.
Wait until your dog is calm, and – this is a given – but be extra careful with scissor blades when they’re near the skin.
Once you’re done, reward them with one of their favourite treats for staying calm and composed.
There’s no harm in waiting until their next grooming appointment if you’re nervous about trimming their fur yourself, but it would help prevent some unnecessary annoyances for your pet.
3. Don’t forget to clip their claws
If you can hear your dog's claws clicking loudly on the hard floors in your home, chances are that they’re in need of a bit of a trim.
Clipping them regularly will prevent your pooch from experiencing any discomfort from overly long claws.
Make sure you’re using a high-quality pair of nail clippers, that are specially designed for dogs, and make sure they’re relaxed before you begin.
Look for the quick (the part inside the claw that contains the blood vessels and nerves, that’s usually pink or red) and cut a few millimetres away from it.
If your dog’s nails are black with no visible quick, shine a torch on the side of the nail to expose it. This way you’ll know exactly where you’re cutting.
4. Try not to bathe them too often
Most dogs only need bathing once every couple of months to keep on top of their hygiene and bad odours at bay.
Bathing them more often than this can strip the natural oils from their coat and dry out their skin.
When bathing them, remember to use a specially formulated dog shampoo that’s suitable for their coat and skin, and try to avoid their eyes, mouth and the insides of their ears.
Of course, if your pup got themselves messy on a walk, rolling in something they shouldn’t, then giving them a quick bath to clean them off is fine. But if they smell bad and don’t appear to be mucky, you should discuss it with your vet, as it could indicate a skin infection or dental disease.
5. Make sure to check their ears
When grooming your dog, don’t neglect their ears.
Cleaning inside your dog's ears with an antibacterial ear cleanser when you bathe them will help prevent unwanted ear infections,
Ear infections are common in dogs, and they can be quite painful if left untreated for a long time.
If you pick up on any of the following changes or behaviours, you should take your dog to the vet as soon as possible for a check-up:
- The insides of their ears are inflamed or moist
- The ears have an odd odour (often sweet-smelling)
- Head shaking and ear scratching
- Whining or yelping when you feel around the area
- Excessive ear discharge (a little wax is completely normal)
Need more at-home dog grooming tips?
Regular grooming is essential in making sure your pup is happy and healthy.
If you require more expert at-home grooming tips or are looking for product recommendations, our team here at Pet Shop Online would be more than happy to help.