With many veterinary practices closed up and down the country for non-urgent appointments and procedures, dog owners are questioning whether it is safe to groom their dog at home? The short answer to this is yes.
Grooming your dog is vital to maintain their coat's condition and to prevent the coat from becoming matted. Brushing your pet's hair also helps stimulate the natural oils found in their skin and fur which will help give your dog's coat that gorgeous sheen and healthy glow. Brushing your dog's fur is also a good time to check for any unusual bumps or lumps or signs of fleas or ticks. You should also use this time to check the health condition of their teeth, ears, eyes and make sure their claws are in good condition.
Owners should start grooming their dog during the puppy stage so they become used to being touched and groomed in such a manner. It is vitally important that dogs are happy and stress-free when being groomed.
How do I groom my dog at home?
There are many ways to groom your dog at home. The type of treatments you can give largely depends on what suitable products and grooming equipment you have at home. As a general rule of thumb you will need the following:
- Dog shampoo & toothpaste
- Dog toothbrush
- Dog hairbrush
- Dog clippers
- Dog nail clippers
If you don’t have all of these products, there is nothing to worry about, you will just have to use what you have or try or order the products online from a suitable pet supplier. You should never use human shampoo or human toothpaste on your dog as this is dangerous to their health.
Dogs love to bathe. Running your dog a warm bath and allowing them to soak will not only clean their coat but also help relax them. You can use this time to shampoo their coat and run a dog brush or comb through their hair to remove any knots.
If your dog's fur has become matted, you can put some dog conditioner on their fur and gently comb through to remove any knots.
Whilst they relax in the bath, use this time to also look at their teeth and if they allow, give them a gentle brush with their designated toothbrush and suitable dog toothpaste. Brushing their teeth as you would your own, circular motions and concentrating on their back teeth and the gentle brush of their gums.
After their bath, you should rub them down with a clean towel and gently blow dry their coat dry with cool setting on your hairdryer. If it’s a nice warm day, allow your dog to have a good shake in the garden and let the natural heat dry their coat. Some dog breeds are not too fond of the hairdryer and can get stressed with the noise and heat blowing directly on their coat.
Clipping your dog's nails at home
Before attempting to cut your dog's nails, you must ensure that both yourself and your dog are relaxed and in a quiet spot. If your dog finds the situation far too stressful you must try and avoid forcing the procedure and take some time out and allow your dog to calm down before trying again.
You can also use their favourite treats to distract and reward them during the procedure.
Listed below is a step-by-step guide on how to cut your dog's nails at home:
Prepare the area and equipment
The following items are needed:
- Dog scissors/clipper
- Torchlight for dogs with darker nails
- Paw balm (optional)
Define the cutting area of the nail
You need to be extra cautious when defining the cutting area as the nails are supplied with blood and cutting the wrong area can result in pain for your dog. It is therefore essential that the area is defined before cutting. Once the area is defined and your dog is relaxed you should start the cutting of their nails, rewarding them as much as possible during.
You should aim to trim their nails every two weeks to maintain the optimal nail length.
What to do if their nail bleeds after cutting
Even after practising caution, sometimes you can accidentally cut the wrong area and the dog's nail will bleed. The most important thing to do is not to panic. Instead, try and stop the blood flow by applying mild pressure with a tissue to the area and keep the area clean to prevent dirt to prevent any infections. If the nail is bleeding heavily, you must contact your vet immediately for expert advice.
How often should I groom my dog?
The frequency depends on the dog breed and the length of their coat. For short-haired, smooth-coated, they should be groomed at least once a week. For a long-coated or rough-coated dog, they will need more regular grooming to keep their coat maintained and manageable.
Terrier breeds will need regular brushing to remove the dead hair as they don’t shed as well as other dog breeds.