5 Essential Grooming Tips for a Happy, Healthy Dog

May 23, 2018

dog laying down

It's hard to cuddle with a pet that’s dirty or stinky. Here are five easy tips you can use to set up an easy, low-stress grooming routine and have a great smelling best friend.

1. Start Early  
If you are adding a younger pup to your family or one who might be a bit skittish about getting cleaned up, start getting her used to regular grooming a little at a time.

Touch her gently all over every day, especially on the paws and toes, to help her get used to being handled. This will make it less scary when she gets baths, has her fur brushed or her nails clipped later. Petting and praise will go a long way in making grooming time easier for you and any professional groomers your pet may visit later.

2. Brush Regularly
Brush and comb your pet’s coat often. Brushing helps to remove dead hair and dirt, spread out natural oils in the fur and prevent uncomfortable matting. It’s also a great way to check that the skin is healthy and make sure that there are no signs that pests like fleas or ticks have decided to take up residence.

How often to brush depends on the type of coat your pet has. Generally, short, flatter coated breeds only need to be brushed about once a week, but dogs with long or curly coats that tend to mat will do better with daily attention. A bristle brush is a great choice for every dog, but if your best friend has a long or double coat, be sure to also get a slicker brush to pull out dead hair and remove tangles more easily.

3. Trim Nails Often.
A lot of owners are intimidated by cutting their dog's nails, but it is a super important part of keeping them happy and healthy. Did you know having long nails can change the way your dog walks and affect their joints? You should try to trim them once a week or anytime you can hear them clicking on the ground.

Buy a good quality pair of nail clippers and trim only the tips, avoiding the blood vessel that runs through the nail, which is called the quick. You may be able to see the quick if your dog has light-colored nails or you can avoid clipping too far by only clipping the hooked part of the nail at the end that looks like a triangular shape with outer “walls”, rather than the more solid part further back. Knowing how far to trim gets easier with practice, but it is always a good idea to have a small jar of styptic powder like Kwik Stop on hand just in case you clip them too short.

4. Bathe Your Dog At Least Once Every Three Months.
If your pet spends a lot of time outside or has skin problems, he might need to be bathed more often, but most pets can get by with more infrequent trips to the tub. Bathing too frequently can strip the coat of natural oils that help protect the skin and increase the risk of infections.

Shampoos made for people can be irritating to your pet’s skin. Choose a shampoo that’s made especially for pets and be sure to rinse well. 

5. Use A Dry Shampoo In Between Baths.
Using a waterless, dry dog shampoo is an easy way to keep your pet smelling fresh and clean without all the hassle of a full bath.

These foams are massaged into your pet’s fur like a mousse and left to dry.

Choose a product that is natural, preferably one that is formulated to remove odor-causing bacteria rather than just cover up smells with chemical fragrances.

Dry shampoo is also great to have around to use with pets who have had surgery and cannot get wet or for use during cold weather. 

Making sure your dog’s skin, coat and nails are healthy and well cared for is an important part of maintaining their overall health.

With lots of love, good quality tools, a little patience, and practice, your pup will be happy, clean and ready for lots of cuddles!

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