Grooming Your Dog for Good Health

Dog owners know that a freshly groomed dog looks and smells beautiful. But regular grooming can also help keep your dog healthy. Grooming can prevent skin conditions, tooth decay, ear infections and overgrown nails. This preventative care only takes a few minutes a week and can help save much distress and money in the long run. Here are some things to keep in mind while grooming your dog for good health.

Brushing

Depending on your breed of dog, he will need to be brushed at least once a week. Long, silky-coated dogs like Yorkshire Terriers need to be brushed every day, while shorter-haired dogs can get by with only being brushed once a week. Brushing serves several purposes, including removing excess hair, eliminating dirt, and spreading natural oils that add softness and shine to your dog’s coat.

grooming your dog for good health

Periodic baths keep your dogs looking and smelling great. Image credit: Rene Cerney

Bathing

Most dogs only need to be bathed once every two to three months, unless they live in conditions where they become unusually dirty. We bathe my Yorkie at least once a week, however, because we keep his beard long and it quickly becomes soiled from his food. Be sure to use a gentle shampoo made especially for dogs and massage it in completely down to the skin. This will take more effort on a thick-coated dog like a Chow or Retriever.

grooming your dog for good health

Be sure to trim your dog’s nails regularly. Overgrown nails can be painful and cause your dog to have trouble walking. Image credit: Gary Cowles

Nail Clipping

Clipping a dog’s nails isn’t much fun, but it is a very important part of grooming your dog for good health. Overgrown nails can be painful for a dog and can even interfere with his ability to walk correctly. Be sure to only clip the very tip of the nail, for if you take off too much it can cause intense pain and severe bleeding. If your dog’s nails are overgrown, clip them little bits at a time, waiting about a week in between.

Teeth Brushing

Dental hygiene is extremely important to a dog since he doesn’t have the means to clean his own teeth or remove debris that may become lodged in between teeth. You should brush your dog’s teeth daily using a special brush and toothpaste specifically for dogs. Regular dental checkups at your vet are also necessary and occasional dental cleaning procedures may be warranted as well.

grooming your dog for good health

Check your dog’s ears regularly and clean the outer section if needed. Be sure to take him to a vet if there appears to be debris in the inner portions. Image credit: Hundehalter

Ear Cleaning

Be sure to check your dog’s ears periodically, and if needed, wipe the inside with a cotton ball dampened with mineral oil or hydrogen peroxide. Don’t ever use a cotton swab or insert anything into your dog’s ear canal, however. If you believe there is debris further in that can’t be reached with a cotton ball, take your dog to the vet and have his ears checked and cleaned there. Regular cleaning is important to prevent infection, especially in floppy-eared dogs, and is an important element in grooming your dog for good health.

grooming your dog for good health

Dogs that naturally have lots of extra skin need to have their folds cleaned regularly to avoid the build-up of bacteria. Image credit: Renxx Gmdr

Wrinkles and Folds

Certain breeds like bulldogs and pugs have several folds of skin on their faces that collect dirt and bacteria. These should be cleaned and dried on a daily basis to avoid irritation and infection. You can use a cotton pad and water, or specially-treated cleansing pads available from your veterinarian.

19 Comments

    • That’s for sure, Stacie! Baths are also a good time to check your pet for lumps or other abnormalities that may need to be checked out by the vet.

  1. This reminds me that my dog really needs to get groomed! She needs the complete spa treatment since it has been a long time!

  2. Bathing was so important for our dog. She had skin issues and allergies. We had to do it just often enough but not too often to keep her skin in good shape. And her nails grew like mad so keeping up with them was crucial!

    • Cyn – My Yorkie has environmental allergies but luckily they don’t affect his skin. I’ve heard that’s more difficult to deal with.

    • I agree, Lynndee! I love cuddling with my Winston after he’s had a bath. He’s so soft and fluffy and smells so good!

  3. There’s nothing better than grooming your fur baby properly! Riley has a lot of fur so I make sure to bathe him at least 3 times a week. I think it’s really important that we keep them clean!

    • I have a Yorkie but thankfully, he loves being brushed. I recommend getting the smallest dog brush you can find (so it only takes small amounts of hair at a time) and brush him in short sessions. Start with the areas he minds the least and pet/scratch him in between each stroke of the brush. This helps on my Yorkie when he gets a mat. Keep the brush handy at all times so you can do several short sessions a day.

  4. I’m always amazed at people who don’t groom their pets. I uber on the side and get so tired of cleaning pet hair out of my car that has come off of people’s shoes and clothes. It’s disgusting. I have friends who groom their pets and this is never a problem with their pets. – yolonda

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