Despite the difference in fur types, level of activity and genetic predisposition to certain ailments, there are dog grooming essentials important to every dog breed regardless of size or gender. Nail clipping is vital to spine and paw health. Ear cleaning is essential in the prevention of infection, as is cleanliness under the tail. Dog grooming is an acquired skill that every dog owner can learn to master. And even dog owners who prefer to leave major dog grooming to professionals would benefit from learning to perform important dog grooming essentials at home as the need arises.
Dog grooming essentials for canine ears
Because dogs rely on their sense of smell to explore the world, they often stick their heads into vegetation , garbage and anything smelly they come across. Canine ears are especially vulnerable as a result and require special dog grooming. In long-haired breeds the fur surrounding the ear should be cut short, as this will prevent thorns or ticks from snagging in the fur and traveling into the ear cavity. Dull-tipped scissors are best if you are grooming your dog for the first time. This will prevent accidents should your dog fidget in your arms.
Another dog grooming essential vital to ear health involves occasionally cleaning your dog’s ears with a Q-tip. Mud, mulch and debris your dog may have picked up while playing in the park will settle in the ear cavity, becoming breeding grounds for bacteria. Professional dog groomers do not clean dog ears and, though you can ask your Veterinarian for help, this dog grooming job is best done by someone the dog trusts. Begin by cradling your dog’s head in your lap. Dip a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and gently wipe the upper portion of the ear by rolling the Q-tip between your thumb and forefinger. Change the Q-tip with a fresh one when it gets dirty and gradually move deeper into the ear cavity as your confidence grows.
Dog grooming essentials for canine paws
Because dogs do not wear shoes to protect them from the elements, dog grooming essential for paws are vital to keep a dog happy and active. Though many dog owners prefer to leave nail clipping to professional dog groomers, the task is in fact a simple one. Dog nails curve just below the Quick-the blood vessel ending in the nail. By using dog clippers to snap the nail off just below the curve, you can trim your dog’s nails yourself without fear of injury. Failure to follow this simple dog grooming essential can lead to limping, spinal warping and in severe cases of overgrown nails to complete inability to walk on the paw.
Furthermore, it’s a good idea for dog owners to press their thumb between the finger pads of the paw when grooming their dog. Foreign objects will at times stick to the fur in the paw due to tree sap, bubble gum or caked mud. Pebbles may also become lodged inside the paw as well as sharp twigs. This simple dog grooming essential can help clear the paw before the delicate webbed finger skin is pierced.
Dog grooming essentials for canine tails
Of all dog grooming essentials attention to the tail is most vital. Fur must be trimmed around the anus and beneath the tail to prevent feces from sticking and clogging the anus opening, which will lead to infection and inflammation of the anal glands, not to mention a smelly, unhygienic dog.
Even dogs groomed by professional groomers will at times need an additional groom beneath their tail. Using dog clippers or human hair groomers you can shave the area surrounding your dog’s anus to keep him healthy and clean. Sit on the floor or a bed with your dog lying on his back with his tail toward you. Hold the tail down with one hand, then turn on the dog grooming clippers and allow your dog to get used to the sound for a moment.
Hold the blunt clipper edge almost flat against your dog’s anus, then brush the fur out of the way with the clippers, never placing the metal teeth directly on the soft anal skin. Once finished, turn the dog grooming clippers toward the tail and again brush the fur out of the way with the clippers lying almost flat against the tail. Repeat this dog grooming essential as soon as fresh fur begins to grow again as even a quarter inch growth can cause feces to cling beneath the tail.
By staying on top of these dog grooming essentials, dog owners can prevent the infections most common in canines and keep their dogs happy and healthy.
ASPCA.org: “Groom Your Dog“
ASPCA.org: Virtual Pet Behaviorist: “Trimming Your Dog’s Nails“
ASPCA.org: “Ear Care“