Although our canine friends are adept at keeping themselves clean, and are relatively hygienic, grooming your dog regularly is a great way to keep them smelling extra fresh, even after muddy walks.
Grooming is a great way of speeding up the shedding process in summer, checking for parasites and thorns, and bonding with your pooch.
So, dedicating only a few minutes a week to grooming your dog will not only make them love you more, it’ll also help them avoid injury and illness and keep your sofa smelling sensational.
Not sure where to start? Never fear! Let us champs here at Gudog give you some handy tips for easy grooming at home.
Let’s get grooming!
How to brush your dog
Each dog has a different coat: short, long, curly, dark, light… and each one needs more or less grooming in order to keep it silky and healthy.
The benefits of brushing are many; it removes dead hairs, untangles knots, improves blood flow and spreads the natural oils produced by its skin.
A routine brushing session for several minutes a week can also give your pooch a hand shedding their fur, and reduce the amount of hair scattered around your house.
If you can, start brushing your dog as a pup so it becomes a habit, and perhaps even a treat.
Depending on you dog’s hair length and type you will have to use a different brush.
Our friends at Dog Time have provided a very helpful guide:
- Long-haired breeds, such as Collies and Tibetan Terriers, need to be brushed weekly, sometimes more often if the coat seems particularly tangled. A pin brush is a good choice for these breeds because its bent-wire bristles grip the undercoat and remove loose hairs without causing pain. It can also get down to the skin. Start close to the skin and brush away from it. Use a comb to tease out any mats.
- Short-coated dogs, such as Labrador Retrievers and Greyhounds, don’t need frequent brushing because their hair doesn’t mat and tangle easily. Still, you may want to brush them every couple of weeks to remove loose hair. Use a rubber brush or hound glove, which will help bring dirt and loose hair to the surface. The gloves fit over your hand–your dog will think you’re petting them and won’t suspect you’re actually brushing. If you prefer a conventional brush, short coats can take a stiff natural-bristle brush or a soft slicker brush, which has little bent-metal pins in it. Follow up with a soft-bristle brush, which helps distribute the hair’s natural oils.
- Short, wiry breeds, such as Dachshunds and most Terriers, need a slicker brush, followed by a once-over with a metal comb. Once every few days should do. A stripping knife will remove the dead hair in the undercoat. Have someone knowledgeable show you how to use one before you try. If the coat has mats, work those out first.
Always brush your dog from front to back, from head to tail in the same direction that the hair grows, and in gentle strokes. Don’t pull too hard, else this shared moment could become a real ordeal for your dog.
Lastly, if you want to brush and wash your dog the same day, brush them first, and then wash them.
How to wash your dog
After brushing, comes the most dreaded moment for the majority of dogs: bath time. Just like we advise you get your pooch used to brushing from an early age, the same goes for bathing. The younger dogs get into these habits, the better.
Before their first shower or bath, you can practice holding them in poses which will be helpful for washing. Start with five minute sessions where you hold their paws together while touching their tummies or scratching behind their ears, rewarding them with treats for good behaviour. Progressively make these sessions longer, introducing a wet towel over time, and when you think they’re ready, introduce water.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got shower or a bathtub; what matters is that your dog feels comfortable and has enough space.
First, line the bath or shower with a non-skid shower or bath mat or an old towel. No skidding means no panicking.
Make sure the water is the right temperature, just a little more than luke warm is best, and with the use of a small container, start moistening your dog’s fur, avoiding their head and ears.
Once your dog is completely wet, work the shampoo into a good lather in your hands and then start massaging it in. First goes their little bum, then chest, belly, tail and lastly paws.
To clean your dog’s head and ears, use a damp cloth rather than lathering.
Remember to keep calm throughout and don’t scold them for trying to escape; this will only lead to greater panic and make them more fearful next time. Don’t be afraid to get in the tub with them if you think it’ll help!
Now you’ve done the hardest bit, rinse them with the container or the shower head on a gentle pressure. As you rinse, gently massage your dog to make sure you get all the residue out of their fur. Remember – never pour water directly onto its face and ears and they’ll become panicked.
Once rinsed, give them a quick treat. That way, your dog will create positive associations for bath time in their head.
When drying your pooch, to soggy doggy shake is inevitable. Take cover, and keep the bathroom door closed they don’t do it all over the house! We also advise you to place a towel on the floor so they can roll around in it and dry quicker, and try if you can to give your dog a thorough rub-down with another towel, not forgetting their little pads! Drying is a crucial step to protect them from catching a chill.
If your dog gets particularly distressed during bath time, it might be best to look for alternative methods, such as disposable wipes specially made for dogs or even dry shampoo.