Why Should Dogs Be Groomed?
Dog grooming involves brushing, bathing, and nail clipping. Most dogs do not require a lot of bathing and those that regularly get exercise rarely need nail clipping. However, regular brushing is a very important part of dog care.
Brushing a dog’s coat is very important for various reasons. These include spreading the vital oils on the skin throughout the fur, checking for parasites such as fleas or ticks, and keeping the coat clean.
The natural oils from the skin of dogs keep their coat healthy and shiny. This comes from the sebaceous glands dogs have that cover their coats with this oil. Brushing through the coat spreads these essential oils and ensures that the coat looks at its healthiest. It is also thought that brushing can stimulate the production of the oils, once again leading to the care of the dog’s coat. Dogs that do not produce enough of produce enough of these oils can have dry and flaky skin. Additionally, their fur will appear matt and dull.
Fleas and ticks are parasites which can be very uncomfortable for dogs. By regularly grooming the dog, owners can check the coat in order to see whether or not these are present. If there are fleas infesting the dog, then their small dirt like faeces will be seen at the roots or on the comb. Preferably a flea comb should be used to do this and there are many treatments available at the vets. Ticks can be removed using special tweezers, which can also be acquired at any veterinary practice, in order to prevent the possibility of leaving in the heads.
Dogs are usually bathed to remove dirt and in some cases to remove the doggy smell they emit. Since the oils are very important in keeping a dog’s coat healthy, it should not be bathed too frequently. The reason for this is that washing can remove these oils and actually allow it to lose its health and shine. Ideally, dog shampoos should be used which are of the correct pH every three months. Of course, this may not be realistic since in the winter the wet weather can leave a dog particularly dirty and muddy. In these cases, simply ensure the correct shampoo is used or if at all possible just give the dog a quick rinse and towel dry.
Clipping a Dog’s Nails or Claws
As it should be, most dogs are adequately exercised enough so that their claws may never have to be clipped. When a dog runs or walks on hard ground, the nails and claws are filed down to a healthy size. In many cases, this is how veterinarians know whether a dog is exercised the right amount. However, if the dog is only ever exercised on soft ground or hardly at all then owners should know how to safely clip their dog’s claws.
The reasons for claw clipping are to prevent the nail from growing and curling into the pads, snapping off or injuring the dog or owner. When a nail grows it curls and if it penetrates the paw pad then this can be very painful and is very likely to become infected. Infected pads, in the worst cases, can lead to blood poisoning and so should be taken to the vets and treated immediately. In other circumstances the dog may catch its nail, if it is too long, and it can snap off. This, once again, causes severe discomfort and may even break off at the quick, thus leading to a bleed. If this repeatedly happens, the vet may advise a surgical removal of the toe.
Brushing a Dog
There are many types of brushing kits for dogs although, if these cannot be acquired, a simple brush or comb can also be used. The way dogs should be brushed depends on their type of coat. If the coat is short then a weekly brush is required and ideally a rubber brush can be used. This removes any dead skin along with any dirt. Next, a brush with bristles can remove any loose hair. If the fur is relatively dense, a slicker brush should untangle the coat. This is also true for long haired dogs. Always ensure that the dog is brushed all over the body, and not simply its back.
Bathing a Dog
Before bathing, a quick brush to help remove any loose fur so that the plug hole does not become blocked is advised. Following this, the dog should be able to stand up securely and without slipping thus rubber mats may be a necessity. The eyes, inside of the ears, and nose should be free of direct hosing and shampoo. After applying the shampoo to wet fur, it can be gently massaged in and then rinsed. The best way to dry the dog following this is towel drying although a blow dryer can be used so long as it is not too hot. Excessive use of blow dryers can dry the skin so owners should be aware of this.
Clipping a Dog’s Nails or Claws
Special dog nail clippers can be acquired at pet stores or in some veterinary practices. Normal nail clippers may not work and may fracture the nail and cause a lot of pain and discomfort for the dog. When cutting, owners must ensure that they do so at an angle. Additionally, within the nail a pinkish tinge called the quick can be seen in the first part of the claw. This is a vein and must not be cut into or too close to as it will bleed out. If this does happen, talcum powder should be able to stop the bleeding.
My Dog Doesn’t Like Being Groomed. What Should I do?
To strengthen the bond between dog and owner, grooming should be a pleasant experience. However, some dogs appear to dislike being groomed and this can be stressful for both parties.
In terms of brushing the dog, this should be done regularly in order for it to get used to this type of grooming. If it is the brush the dog doesn’t like, begin by stroking the dog all over its body using your hands. Following this, make sure the dog is in a relaxed state and brush for very short periods of time. Owners may need to distract the pet with a toy or treats in the early stages of the dog getting used to grooming. After a few weeks, the owner should be able to gradually increase the time spent brushing and distractions may not even be necessary.
Concerning nail clipping, the dog should have its paws handled and stroked on a regular basis so it gets used to contact in these sensitive areas. After a couple of weeks the owner may like to try clipping the nails. During this time, the dog should be kept relaxed and praised. As with brushing, distractions may also be necessary so long as it doesn’t involve the dog moving and the owner accidently nicking the quick.
Many dogs detest bath time whereas others relish it. It is important that the dog is not completely submerged in water and that it is kept calm at all times. If a hose is used, it should release warm water gently and not enter the eyes, ears, or nose. A toy may be necessary for distraction and praise should always be given for good behaviour. It is important not to shout if the dog gets a little stressed as this will only further the problem.