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Love Grooming Dogs

Updated on November 8, 2014
Grooming and brushing are two ways that pet owners can show love toward their pets. Our dogs are special and in return, it is our job to make sure their coats and skin are always healthy.
Grooming and brushing are two ways that pet owners can show love toward their pets. Our dogs are special and in return, it is our job to make sure their coats and skin are always healthy. | Source

Preparing your Dog for Bathing

My dog is a Maltese cross Pomeranian her name is Celine. If you have a small and fluffy dog like Celine make sure she is secure on a bench or somewhere stable for you to work on comfortably, for larger dogs please make sure they are secured and unable to get away without hurting themselves.

I will start Celine’s grooming process with a good brush out of her coat before bathing because the water can make the matting harder to get out and binds the knots together tightly. Matting can cause pulling of the skin which can cause discomfort for your dog; they also stop the skin from breathing and could develop into hotspots.

It’s important to check her body for any lumps, cysts or skin tags that may have developed since her last grooming session. There may be twigs that can get caught in her long fur, and underneath the inside of her paws, stones or prickles can also get caught inside and her hair can matt up into hard balls mixed with dirt, that can cause her pain and discomfort and she may find it difficult and uncomfortable to walk.

Brushing made easy with the slicker brush.

I choose to use a slicker brush which has fine wire bristles and a strong handle especially useful for removing mats and tangles. You can use the brush gently through her coat starting from the skin and brushing out, you can brush the hair backwards against the lay of the fur and then brush back into place, and this will help loosen and remove dead hair and stimulate her skin. It also helps to break up any mats and collect hair that is waiting inside the coat to fall out; you need to brush all the hair and not just the top coat.

Be careful and keep in mind not to over brush as we can cause a rash on her skin. The belly and chest are very sensitive areas, also brushing carefully near the anus and base of the tail needs to be very gentle. The key to grooming is to take care in all areas around her face, eyes and ears. It is best to keep moving the brush all over as her fur can mat on her ears, tail even under armpits and down her chest, legs and paws.

Your dog will benefit from regular brushing a couple of times a week as they get used to it quickly and helps to keep knots away. Brushing with the right brush can be an enjoyable experience for you and your furry friend if done regularly. It is a great way to build trust and friendship. You can also use a slicker brush on a larger dog to help remove loose hair quickly.

The comb

After brushing I like to use a comb to help get any loose hair and break up the mat, the comb helps also to preserve as much of the hair as possible. If your dog has long facial hair or a beard use your comb to gently comb out any tangles starting from the skin and combing downwards. You can use the comb all over, including ears, the tail and down the legs. One comb can sometimes have two sizes on it, wider and longer pins for easing out the mats and thinner smaller pins for dragging out foreign objects, sometimes fleas and parasites.

Celine does move around through the brushing and combing so I need to hold the top of her ear firmly but gently as not to hurt her and start by combing downward, same for her tail as it can hurt if there is a large knot in it. Sometimes if your dog is not used to the brushing and pulling of the comb you may need to cut the mat out or use your fingers to pull it apart but don't try to pull it out as you may hurt your dog. Be very careful when using scissors as dogs can move very quickly. If you are unsure how to use scissors it would be best to gently keep brushing and combing till the matt breaks apart. This is why regular brushing and combing helps to keep a nice flowing coat. When her coat is free from debris and matting it is time to clip her nails and clean her ears.

The Mat Rake

Rake gently through tangled fur with a mat rake.

You use the mat rake the same way you do a comb, simply raking along the lay of the hair.

Mat rakes are equipped with sharp teeth that work at cutting through the mat.

Nail Clippers

Nail trimming is an important part of a regular grooming routine. If your dog’s nails get too long, they can break which is painful and sometimes results in infection. Long nails can also cause your dog to have trouble walking or running and can lead to permanent skeletal damage. Some people are a little nervous when it comes to clipping their dog’s nails. How to know where to cut and what if I trim too close to the quick are some of the concerns we have. The best way to go about it is to first of all get your dog used to touching her paws, by touching in between each of the toes and underneath the pads whilst you and your dog are in a calm and restful state. I find using the scissor type clipper for a small to medium dog best on Celine but you may need a bigger clipper for the larger breeds. Using the scissor type helps me to see where I am cutting.

Keep a clotting powder, such as Kwik Stop Styptic Powder close at hand when you trim your dogs nails so you can stop any bleeding that may occur if you accidentally cut the quick. Also keep some treats handy; to reward your dog after each nail is clipped. I start by choosing a nail and holding the toe firmly but gently between your fingers, and hold the clippers at a right angle to the nail with the tip of the nail between the blades. Quickly squeeze the handles to close the clippers and cut the nail. Knowing where to trim the nail does take some skill. If your dog has clear nails you can see the live quick, which looks pink. Cut the nail no closer than about two millimeters from the quick. If your dog has dark nails just take a sliver of the nail at a time till you see a grey or pink oval starting to appear that is when you need to stop cutting, if you don't you will cut into the quick causing pain and bleeding. Don't forget to trim your dogs dew claws if they have them, on their front legs and sometimes on their back legs.

Sometimes dogs can flinch or pull away which can cause you to trim your dog’s nails too short and cut the quick, which contain live blood vessels and will bleed, the bleeding can last for quite some time and there can be lots of it.

Your dog may yelp and start trembling, but it is important to stay calm and talk soothingly to your dog and then apply the clotting powder directly to the exposed bleeding toe nail to stop the blood flow. It is best to wait a while before continuing trimming the rest of the nails.

If your dog becomes aggressive, or if you notice any snarling snapping or biting, you may need to get help from a vet or a professional groomer for nail clipping.

Ear Care

Ear cleaning is an essential part of your dog’s basic grooming routine.

All dogs should have their ears cleaned from time to time, but some dogs need it done more than others. Here is what you need to know about cleaning your dog’s ears.

Build up can occur in the external canal from wax, allergies and debris, the canal can become infected. Also dogs with long floppy ears are prone to ear infections due to lack of air flow. Some dogs also have an excessive amount of glands in their canals and produce too many secretions.

Dogs with ear infections will have an excessive amount of bacteria and yeast in their ears. These infections can be quite painful and itchy; they can also lead to middle/inner ear infections that can affect hearing and balance. Dogs with sore ears tend to shake their heads violently; they can rupture blood vessels in the ear flap and develop hematoma, a pocket of blood in the flap.

Signs of ear infections can include odor from the ears, redness of the skin inside, scratching at ears and discharge.

Regular cleaning can help prevent infections. Using an appropriate ear cleaner such as Epi-Optic by Virbac will help release wax and debris from the canal and help dry out the ear. Some dogs just need their ears wiped out occasionally; other dogs need thorough cleaning every week. Inspect your dog’s ears and talk to your vet, every dog has different needs and may need medication instead of a cleaner.

Your dog is ready for bathing

Bathing your dog can be a pleasant experience, even though most dogs don't enjoy having water around their ears and face. It is a good idea to use a cotton ball in their ears to stop water from entering the ear canal, water in ears can cause infection or a constant discharge and shaking of his head. Make sure your dog is secured in the bath, start by wetting the dog with nice warm water, not too hot as to not to burn her, once her coat is all wet use a shampoo that is for dogs or if your dog has a skin condition and needs a medicated shampoo lather her coat with the shampoo and give a gentle massage all over. Take care around the face and eyes. Rinse with fresh clean warm water and then use a little conditioner to help keep the coat smooth and silky, massage that in, and rinse again with clean water. Dry your dog thoroughly with a towel and or hairdryer away from the tub or water. Your dog may not like the dryer but if you use a low setting she will get used to it. Once dry give your dog a quick brush and her coat should look and smell fantastic. Celine loves it after a bath she feels great!

How often you bath your dog depends on the breed and if she stays inside, or is an outside dog. Long to medium haired dogs benefit from a wash around 4 to 6 weeks. If these dogs are bathed too often they can lose the protective characters within the skin and hair. However, if your dog has been ill or has had digestive upsets leading to diarrhea, you may need to bath more often to avoid the bad smell.

Take more care in choosing a shampoo for dogs. Some dog and human shampoos use irritants or materials that may be harmful to your dog’s skin. Always try to use shampoo products that mention mainly used for dogs, and take care when using a new product. Dog shampoos that are soap free are gentler to use.

Try to have a little patience and a good time whilst bathing your dog. Dogs can learn to love water; they can love the sprinkling of water, river and oceans. If you are using a bathtub, have everything in one place, a leash, shampoo, towel and conditioner which are helpful to make combing easier once coat is dry. Bathing can become a great activity to both dog and owner. It doesn't need to be a burden.

Grooming is a fundamental part of having a dog. If the dog owner is unaware of their grooming responsibility, then the dog can develop issues, such as disease as well as pain. Hair matting and tangles can cause skin conditions. Dirt and stones can get caught between their pads and toes and cause pain. Eyes and ears can become infected. For that reason knowing the essentials of dog grooming will certainly assist your dog considerably.


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