Especially when you get your first dog, grooming can seem a little confusing and even daunting. Some dogs have short coats that require little care, whilst others may need a little more care. Once you get into a routine however it is quite easy to look after your dogs coat without too much though, just like you look after your own hair.
There are things you should do, and there are also things that you should be sure to avoid doing.
There are few routines that should form your dogs grooming regime:
1. Bathing. You should bath your dog, but it is hard to say how often, as it does depend to some degree on your dogs lifestyle, but let’s say that once a month would be good for a dog that has not become in need of a bath in between. When bathing your dog, ensure that you give the skin a good brisk rubbing through, like washing your own scalp. You can use a soft brush if that will help make things easier for you. Always use a dog shampoo, not a human one and avoid bathing too often as you will remove the natural skin oils that keeps your dogs coat healthy. Use this as an opportunity to give your dog a general check over for cuts, swellings, grass seeds, fleas or ticks.
2. Brushing. Even a short coated dog will benefit from brushing, however it is essential in a longer coated dog. Always move the brush ALONG the direction of the fibres, never against them. Work with your dog to find his comfort level, but remember if you have never brushed your dogs coat, then he may resist at first and you will have to brush gently and for short periods, making it fun until he gets used to it. Regular brushing can be done daily, but for most dogs (except long haired breeds during the moulting season) weekly will be adequate. You will notice quickly that your dogs coat will develop a lovely shine.
3. Nails. Check your dogs nails as part of your weekly brushing routine. Nails can become split and damaged and quite painful if they are not tended to on a regular basis. You should keep your dogs nails trimmed, but avoid cutting them too short or you will cut the quick which is very painful to your dog and can cause a surprising amount of bleeding. If your dogs nails have become very long, try just cutting them back a bit the first time, and the next week you can cut them back a little more. This is especially important if your dog has dark nails and you cannot see the vein inside them. As you keep cutting your dogs nails in a routine, this vein will recede and with time you will be able to get the nails shorter and shorter. Trim them in small amounts at a time to check the dogs comfort level and ensure you are not going to hit the vein or quick.
Remember that getting into a grooming routine will allow you to complete all your grooming tasks faster, and with more fun and comfort for you dog. Each grooming time will be easier too if you are not battling a tangled coat or overgrown curled up nails.