The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Grooming Your Dog

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Dog care is a practice that is as old as time. It is noteworthy that as technology keeps advancing, so is dog care. These days dog grooming practices incorporate newfound ways to not only keep man’s best friend clean, happy, and agile. Here’s a question for every dog owner out there. What are you doing to keep your dog clean?

To groom your dog in a good and healthy way you have to follow these steps:

  • Bath your dog
  • Dry your dog
  • Brush your dog’s coat
  • Clean the ears
  • Clean the teeth
  • Trim the nails
  • Take care of the dog’s eyes
The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Grooming Your Dog 1

First off, you need to note that summertime is here and dog leashes have never been more important. Every dog owner looking to take their dog out for a walk in the sun needs a good leash and most importantly, should give their dog that ‘look good feeling’ once they hit the lawn.

Make sure your dog’s coat is properly brushed, nails properly trimmed, spotlessly brush your dog’s teeth too. You do not want your furry friend to look rough and uncared for. You could try buying your dog clothes. Yes, clothes. Clothes form an integral part of dog grooming as you will find out later on in this post. You should not forget to clean the ears and any other areas that could be a hideout for dirt and germs.

Here’s another question every dog owner should ask. How do I  go about the entire dog grooming practices we mentioned above to ensure your dog looks tidy?

If you’re a novice dog owner who has a new dog. You might have a few challenges here and there when it comes to dog grooming. This post The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Grooming Your Dog wouldn’t have come any timelier. And for the avid dog owner that’s looking for new tips, this post can help you understand all you need to groom your dog in a completely different way to get better, finer grooming results. We’ll not forget to mention the dog owners who prefer to take their furry friends to dog care centers for a complete makeover. This post is not for the faint of heart. We’ll be diving into the nattiest and the grittiest of dog grooming.

Bathing Your Dog, Why? And How to do it.

While you cannot bathe your dog every day or even weekly, giving your dog a bath is a crucial dog care routine. Some people might have dogs that are very sensitive to water and even become irritated by a bath. Well, a dog grooming expert will say, you should always have a reason for bathing your dog.

For instance, let’s say you spill some coffee on your dog’s coat, or it starts to emit an unpleasant odor or Bingo just came back from rolling in the mud. Even if your dog doesn’t roll in the mud, it’s coat is bound to accumulate dirt anyway, just like your clothes do. Dogs are naturally bound to accumulate dirt other debris on their coat. That’s why you should bathe your dog often for purposes of cleanliness and a hygiene environment. Dirt on your dog can come from broken fur, scales on the skin, or debris attached to the coat.

If you are a novice in dog grooming, getting some proper training will help you do better. Over time, you will have learned to help your dog get accustomed to bathing and enjoy every minute of it.

Now that you have seen the benefits, I bet the next question you have is how do I do it? Or how do I designate a special place for bathing my dog? Or what bathing materials should I use to clean my dog?

Well, to bathe your dog, you should first of all, ensure it is a rewarding experience for your dog. We recommend you buy some snacks, treats, or bites, whatever your dog enjoys. It will make your dog more willing to stay and less eager to leave. No one likes a dog that’s stubborn during baths. Next, you’ll need some proper equipment for bathing your dog. They include;

  • Water: You need plenty of water to thoroughly bathe your dog’s coat and skin, including body parts such as tail, skin, and paws
  • Cotton Balls: To protect your dog from an ear infection, you need a soft cotton ball to plug the ears so that water does not get into the ears.
  • A brush: With a good brush, you can remove a lot of debris on your dog’s coat before bathing.
  • A washcloth is equally necessary. However, given that dogs are sensitive to water, especially the head area, you should steer clear of wetting their heads, eyes, ears, and neck area. If you must clean that part, use a damp cloth to wipe off the dirt from the dog’s head.
  • Dog shampoo: This is another material you need to groom your dog at the bathing stage. There are many dog shampoos in the market today. However, you should ensure that your dog does not react to it at all. To do this first apply a small patch on his skin. The correct way of applying the shampoo is to start with the chest and then move to the underbelly and finally on the back. Most importantly, wet the coat with water before applying a dog shampoo.
  • Dog treats are very necessary before, during, and after bathing your dog. It is a reward for calmness your dog exhibits during this time.

Drying Your Dog After a Bath

After bathing your dog, you may want to dry their coat, especially if he does not shake off all the water. Well, we wouldn’t recommend using a blow dry because it may feel uncomfortable, especially if it gets too hot. But if you must, take care not to blow-dry the head area. Most preferably, use an absorbent towel to dry your dog after bathing.

To summarize everything regarding bathing your dog the right way, the emphasis is that you should always do it in a designated area. And even if you choose to bathe your dog indoors, say, in a bathroom, help your dog get accustomed to bathing using treats to avoid running into trouble. There is a real chance that you will run into some kind of trouble when bathing your dog for the first time but it should not be a cause for alarm. Over time, the dog will become used to bathing.

Brushing Your Dog’s Coat

The next step is arguably the most intense part of this post. Dog grooming has to do with brushing your dog’s coat. Before we dive into the details, it is noteworthy that the dog grooming industry is continually expanding. For example, IBIS Word estimates that the dog grooming industry in the United States is worth at least $9 billion, employing about 230, 000 thousand people in at least 130,000 dog grooming businesses. Also factor in dog training, dog sitting, dog walking, and boarding as major contributors to the market capitalization of the dog grooming industry.

This post is for you especially if you are interested as a beginner, you should note that apart from bathing your dog, grooming includes other things. Brushing your dog’s coat is what we’ll discuss now.  

Some more questions come to mind especially if you are a beginner. For example, how often should you brush the coat of your dog? Maybe you have a puppy, well what is the right kind of brush to use? Is there a special approach you should apply? Especially when dealing with a healthy dog or a sick one. The truth is that different dog owners have different approaches when it comes to brushing the coat of their dog. However, there are standard practices that apply and are accepted everywhere.

Brushing is a must-do, it helps to remove dead skin, dead fur. It also helps in even distribution of natural oils on your dog’s coat.  You should note that the length of a dog’s coat can significantly change a brushing routine. Dog breeds such as Chihuahua that have short coats do not require regular brushing. You can always do it only once a week. You will worry less about their look. But for dogs that have long coats, a standard practice that works for most dog owners is that you should brush the coat at least thrice every week. Doing so four times a week is still okay, provided it does not break the coat or harms your dog.

Because this post targets first-time dog owners, the following tips will help you brush your dog’s coat effectively:

  • Not every dog will be at ease when brushing the coat. Thus, practice is necessary. Touch the coat using a brush to make your dog feel at ease before the actual brushing begins. If need be, reward good behavior with treats.
  • You should brush the coat away from your seats, preferably a hard floor because it is easy to clean dog hair on such surfaces using a vacuum cleaner.
  • When it comes to removing mats, we recommend using a shedding blade because it is more effective than a brush.
  • To a dog owner who is allergic to dog hair, you should have someone do the brushing. After grooming, use a vacuum fitted with a PEFA filter to clean the area.

Finally, brushing a dog’s coat is an important grooming routine. We’d like to add that you consider the size of your dog and type of coat.  You must make a plan for everything. Make sure your dog is comfortable. Set everything you might need in place before you start grooming your dog’s coat. You must also make sure that your dog is comfortable and calm throughout the process.   Your dog remaining calm throughout the process makes it a successful dog care routine. If you are looking for the right brush to use or a shedding blade, you can always check leading online retail stores for the best dog grooming utilities. Most importantly, do not shy away from consulting a dog care professional or care center, especially if you feel there is a need to do so.

Cleaning the Ears: A Must-Do Grooming Routine

Now that you are well-acquainted with tips on how to brush a dog’s coat, the next step is cleaning your dog’s ears. Take note that this post does not follow a specific process. You can always move to any other body part provided you end up with a clean dog.

Now, when it comes to cleaning the ears, the first thing you should note is that dogs with long ears are more prone to ear infections. However, given how sensitive these animals can be when it comes to cleaning the ears, you should not throw caution to the wind.

Moreover, cleaning a dog’s ears is also is important especially if your breed has long ears and thick fur. They tend to gather debris and wax more easily. Even if they flap their ears and shake their bodies often, they are still likely to have an ear infection than dogs with a shorter coat. We recommend cleaning the ear of your dog at least once every month. If you intend to clean your dog’s ears the right way, the following tips are worth noting:

  • You should always prepare the dog for the grooming routine by removing dirt around the ear.
  • You should exercise caution when removing hair from inside the canal. We recommend calling a dog care service center to do this bit.  If you have no idea what you’re doing you can potentially damage your dog’s hearing.
  • Avoid inserting anything into your dog’s ears when cleaning them.

Instead, use a recommend ear cleaning solution and take necessary precautions while at it. The catch here is that ears are among the most delicate body organs, not only in humans but also in dogs.

  • Once you have a recommended solution for cleaning the ears. Use a dropper to drop bits of solution into your dog’s ears, and while at it, massage the bottom of your dog’s ears slowly. Upon completion, let the dog shake off the solution on his own.
  • Now, use cotton balls to clean the ear while steering clear of the canal.

In a nutshell, while dog grooming should be easy and fun, you should always do it carefully, especially when cleaning sensitive areas like the ears. You should never insert anything into the ear canal lest you permanently damage the hearing of your dog.

If you face any difficulties, call a dog care center for help. Moreover, always use the recommended dog ear cleaning solution, in which case, you can buy from a nearby dog care center or order from leading dog care stores on the web.

Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth

You may have dreadful experiences when trying to brush your dog’s teeth, sorry. The main reason for brushing your dog’s teeth is so that you can keep gum disease and plaque at bay. It is a must-do dog grooming routine. The question is, how do you brush your dog’s teeth without making him feel uncomfortable, especially if you are doing it for the first time?

For some, giving a dog some objects to chew is the best way of keeping their teeth strong and healthy. However, brushing a dog’s teeth once or twice every week is a vital step in the right direction. If you are a starter looking to get it right, you should always do the following:

  • When brushing your dog’s tooth, do not use human toothbrushes or toothpaste. There is a special dog toothbrush you can buy from a dog store nearby. You can check for leading online dog stores and place your order. Toothbrushes for dogs have softer bristles and are angled for proper cleaning.
  • Some dogs will react aggressively when you brush their teeth. We recommend that you get your dog accustomed to brushing their teeth by first of all running your fingers on the teeth gum. Follow it with a reward such as a dog snack. This puts your dog at ease and brushing the teeth becomes easier.
  • While you should not worry if you see blood droplets when brushing the teeth because it is a normal occurrence, too much oozing could signal gum disease. Or, you could be using a lot of force when brushing the teeth of your dog. If the situation appears to be a gum disease, you should consult a vet immediately for help.

If your dog has very sharp canines you would be at more risk when brushing its teeth.  It is especially risky if you are doing it for the first time. In cases where your dog gets irritated when brushing his teeth, you should train the dog to get accustomed to it. Always reward your dog for good behavior, especially when grooming your dog. Most importantly, always try to do it at least once every week.

Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

You should always trim the nails of your dog, at least twice a month. However, take note that walking your dog often on the hard ground keeps their nails at a considerable and less dangerous length. Dogs that go for a walk on soft surfaces are likely to grow longer nail, hence the more reason why learning how to trim them is important.

For starters, you should pay closer attention to the length of nails on your dog. A sharp noise produced by a dog’s steps means the nails are long and it is time for clipping.  But here comes the big question. How do you clip long dog nails? Here are some tips to help you do the right thing. They include;

  • You should be careful not to trim a large part of your dog’s nail. You risk cutting blood vessels and even causing pain to the dog. Unless you can see the blood vessels, keep the trimming length as short as necessary.
  • In some cases, you may not necessarily need to use a trimmer. A file can always do a great job of toning down the sharpness of a dog’s nails.
  • You should check the dewclaw. If they were never removed, ensure they are equally trimmed appropriately.
  • Like with the above dog grooming practices, some dogs are not used to having their nails trimmed. It means, ensuring your dog gets accustomed to nail trimming is important. Thus, let the dog feel and smell the file/trimmer by putting it on their claws. This way, he gets accustomed to it. As usual, reward good behavior.

Trimming a dog’s nails should not be a daunting task if you do it correctly. As a first-timer looking to do a perfect job, you should establish a good rapport with your dog to avoid harming your dog or getting him agitated.

Taking Care of Your Dog’s Eyes

While the eyes of your dog may not always be a major focus when it comes to dog grooming, you should ensure that the eyes are in great shape and health. Thus, cultivate a habit of monitoring the eyes of your dog, observe the health of his eyesight.  However, it can be difficult taking care of a dog’s eyes if you do not know how to distinguish between those that have a problem and healthy ones. On that premise, taking care of your dog’s eyesight boils down to doing the following:

  • Closely check the eyes to find out if there are hairs or any particle that may be obstructing the eyesight of your dog. There is also a possibility that hair on the eyes may be irritated. If you notice such a problem, use a blunt pair of scissors to trim the eyelashes. Most importantly, ensure the object does not fall in the eyeball.
  • Signs of healthy dog eyes are equally worth noting. If the eyes are clear and symmetrical, they are okay. Any other changes such as squinting, redness, or discharge signal an eye problem.
  • Most importantly, take your dog to a dog care center if you notice any problems with the eye. It is better to take precautions before it is too late.

Why it is Important to Groom Your Dog

Dog grooming is not just about keeping a dog or cat clean. While it is important that your dog looks clean and looks good at all times, there is more. The following reasons help shed light on the significance of dog grooming:

– It’s Good for Your Dog’s Physical Wellness

The physical health of your dog is important and it is something you can effectively realize through dog grooming. Whether you choose to do it at home, which is the theme of this post-or take your dog to a dog care facility, a physically strong dog is a happy dog.

– It Boosts the Health of Your Dog

Dog grooming contributes immensely to the dog’s health. From removing dead skin and hair to scrubbing dirt off the coat. A clean dog is a healthy one. Through rigorous grooming, you get rid of both noticeable and unnoticeable abnormalities.  Abnormalities you may notice include fleas, patches, dry patches, long nails, cloudy eyes, and waxy ears. The earlier you notice these abnormalities, the easier it becomes to get rid of them and put your dog on a path to recovery and consequently, good health.

– Grooming Makes Dogs Happy

Ever notice how much dogs become playful after they’ve been groomed? That’s because they enjoy being groomed. Accumulation of dirt and other debris on your dog’s coat can be major baggage that creates a bad mood and illness. Often, you will notice that dogs become happier and playful after grooming.

Clothing Your Dog: Important things to Consider

Lastly, clothing your dog can be a vital grooming routine. This will not apply to all dogs, but Like humans, some dogs need clothes, and this is for the same reasons we do. But here is the big question. What should I consider when buying clothes for my dog? Well, here is a quick run-through important tips we wanted to share with you on this subject:

  • Always buy the right fitting clothes for your dog. The only way of getting it right is to figure out the size before buying clothes. Avoid tight clothes because they will make your dog feel uncomfortable.
  • Always consider the weather when clothing your dog. During summer, avoid woolen sweaters.
  • Go for a material that is breathable and soft when clothing your dog.
  • Also, consider comfort levels that cloth would give your dog. A comfortable cloth should allow your dog to walk, stretch, have fun, and even run.

Final Thoughts on Beginners Guide to Dog Grooming

When you welcome a dog home, he becomes part of your family. However, a question you should ask yourself from the onset is do you have what it takes to groom your dog? With so many dog care centers and supplies available at the click of a button, taking care of a dog so that he is always happy, clean, and playful becomes easy.