Regular grooming keeps your dog clean, healthy, and comfortable. Many people prefer professional groomers; they can make dogs look great while using their professional expertise to keep them safe. However, if you don't have one available in your area or just want to save some money, you can give your dog a basic grooming at home.
Follow this checklist to properly groom your dog.
You don't want to be looking for your tools once you begin grooming your dog. Make sure to have everything you need in one place before you begin the task at hand. You can also take a few minutes to play with your dog before you get started. This will help tire out your dog and make it calmer when you're grooming and bathing it.
A thorough combing should always be the first step of the grooming process because any mats will become tighter and less manageable once they dry. Begin on the head and move down the body. Be careful under the belly, as it is a sensitive area, and don't forget to comb the tail. While you are combing, if you find a tangle, use a brush and try to work out the tangle.
Reward calm, quiet behavior to encourage more of it. You may want to include a treat to reward the dog for good behavior.
You don't want the dog to get overwhelmed; any negative associations can make grooming harder in the future. Make the experience fun by giving your pet breaks from time to time, giving praise, treats, pets, and even a little bit of play. This will also keep your dog distracted.
If you can't brush a mat out, you need to either cut or shave it off, depending on how close it is to the skin. Be extremely careful if you use scissors to avoid injuring yourself or your pet. Try to cut parallel to the growth of the hair to avoid a choppy look.
Depending on your particular dog, this step may be a simple matter of wiping or pulling eye debris away from the corners of the eyes. Long-haired or white-haired dogs may need special attention to make sure that all gunk is out of the coat, as they may get tear stains. You can buy products made for removing "tear stains" from a white coat at a pet supply store.
To clean your dog's ears, apply some ear cleaning solution (bought at a pet supply store) to a cotton round. Not too much or it will drip into the ear while wiping. Wipe dirt and wax away from the inner ear, but don't rub vigorously, as this might cause sores. Don't push too far into the ear, either. If your dog has drop ears like a basset hound, wipe the inside of the ear flag as dirt collects there as well.
Start by placing a small amount of dog toothpaste on your finger and spreading it across the teeth for a few seconds. Reward the dog for cooperating. Once the dog lets you work your finger in his mouth for 20-30 seconds, you can graduate to gauze or finger toothbrushes from the pet store. Work your way up to a dog toothbrush. No matter what, ease your dog into the process so that it can be a pleasant experience rather than a stressful one.
To keep your dog's nails short, clip them regularly, depending on how fast his nails grow. If you can hear his nails on the ground when he walks, that means his nails are touching the ground, and are too long.
Gather your supplies, including dog shampoo, treats and several towels. Place a non-slip surface on the bottom of the tub to prevent your dog from slipping. Avoid running water right away on the dog, as it may cause unnecessary stress and burns if starts out hot without checking first. Make sure your dog's coat is completely wet before you start applying shampoo to it. Begin at the neck and move downward toward the rear and legs, using your fingers to spread the shampoo and work it in down to the skin. Save the head for last, and don't use soap around the ears and eyes. Rinse your dog thoroughly. Use a squeegee or use your hand as a squeegee to force water off of the coat and body.