Tips for Pet Grooming at Home

Tips for Pet Grooming at Home


There are no firm guidelines as to how often you should bathe your dog, though you can expect that the more active it is, the more bathing it will require. Hair texture also plays a part in how often bathing is needed. The wiry and curly hair of breeds like schnauzers and west highland terriers often need more bathing than long or silky haired dogs.

Bathing is needed to

  • remove dirt and debris
  • facilitate the removal of dead hair
  • improve the coat's appearance

For most dogs, regular brushing will remove the need for frequent baths.

It's important to use a shampoo labeled "for dogs." While shampoos for humans lean to the acidic side, canine skin is ph neutral and require shampoos just for them.

When bathing a dog, use lukewarm water. Remember to wipe the under surfaces of ears to remove any dead skin or wax. Be thorough and ensure that the water gets through to its skin.

Brushing a Dog

Again, the amount of brushing a dog requires depends on its life style. The more active the dog, the more brushing it requires. Most dogs require brushing at least every other day.

Brushing is an important step to take to reduce matting. When brushing, don't forget to brush behind the dogs ears and hair on its belly, as these are often neglected areas.

Dog Behavior

Your pet might be experiencing a grooming session for the first time, or have a fierce dislike for grooming. It's always good to schedule sessions for when your dog is relaxed and not given to abrupt, restless movements that might cause him and you injury.

Keep sessions short and gradually lengthen them until your dog becomes accustomed to the sessions.

Removing Mats

These are nasty entanglements on a dog's topcoat or undercoat. They usually start if a dog loves playing in the water. Silky or long haired coats tend to be susceptible to mats. Choose good brushes as the wrong ones can weaken a dog's coat and cause more matting.

Start by using your fingers, working with the matted hair from outside in. Brush it apart gradually. When brushing the armpits, use the triangular shaped slicker brush. You may wish to clip them out with a blunt-nosed scissors if you find that the brushing is causing the dog too much discomfort.

For bigger mats, use a mat splitter carefully, working from outside in. Smaller sections of hair are harder to untangle. Use a wide toothed comb to pick and loosen the hair.

Dematting spray is a useful tool to have. Apply it to make the mat removal process easier.

Safety Concerns

If your grooming your dog yourself and know that your pet is prone to aggression when a grooming session is on, have a pair of bite proof gloves ready? Muzzles of the right size for your dog should also be available.

Have gentle, secure restraints. If you're using a pet grooming table, make sure that it has a noose with a quick release in case you need to release the dog quickly.

Ensure that your pet is dry after grooming as moisture can lead to moist eczema. If you're using a dryer, watch for signs of discomfort and don't leave your dog under the dryer for too long a time.

When brushing, snipping or clipping near the eyes, take precautions. Proper facial restraints should always be used.

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