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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.