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Grooming your dog accomplishes much more than just making your pet's coat look nice and shiny. It will provide you with the opportunity to spend some "quality time" with your dog.
You’ll be able to check your dog closely for any problems while grooming. 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, dandruff, etc. Mats and tangles can be carefully removed while grooming.
Learn where your pet likes to be combed and brushed and where he doesn't. All dogs have sensitive areas that need to be groomed a little more gently and carefully than others. By paying special attention to these areas, you’ll help make your dog more comfortable while being groomed, and he will not resist future grooming sessions.
You’ll also become familiar with areas that your pet enjoys having groomed. 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 him in a reassuring tone while grooming. If the grooming procedure is made more comfortable for your dog, he’ll 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. For troublesome knots and tangles, use an anti-tangle comb. If the coat has a particularly stubborn knot or tangle, you may have to trim it off with scissors. A dematting comb, slicker or rake can be used to remove mats. When using a combination comb, begin with the widely spaced teeth and follow with the finer teeth.
Begin brushing at the head, working toward the tail and down the legs. Always brush in the direction of hair growth. Pay particular attention to the legs and flanks and areas that easily mat. A pin brush can be used to fluff the coat by brushing against the directions of hair growth. 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.
Like children, puppies have short attention spans. They will require some special attention. Select a time when the puppy is less energetic. Begin with short grooming sessions, five minutes or so. 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. This will, in time, make your pet accustomed to being handled and examined. Eventually, your pet will be quite comfortable being groomed and will look forward to these sessions with you.
It’s 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 your dog has been walked, while he is relieved and calm. Select a time when you will not be interrupted and have ample time to do a proper grooming—long-haired dogs should be groomed daily, while short-haired dogs may require grooming only twice a week. You’ll soon see what frequency your dog requires.
Regular nail trimming is important to your dog's health and well-being. Never use ordinary scissors to trim your dog's nails. Use trimmers that are specially designed for dogs. Hold the dog's paw firmly, and cut off the tip of the nail with a single stroke. Be very careful to stop short of the quick, the blood vessel inside the nail. Cutting the nails right after bathing will make the quick more visible; applying baby oil will serve the same purpose. Follow up by filing your dog's nails with a nail file.
Get all your grooming questions answered with our Dog Grooming Q&A.