How to Groom a Dog

Regular grooming should be a healthy part of your dog’s routine. In fact, it can be fun for the whole family if you start early and associate grooming with positive experiences.

Regular grooming includes brushing the coat, brushing teeth, bathing, checking the eyes, ears and paws, and examining the skin. And you can make it enjoyable for your dog by giving him plenty of praise when he sits still for you. You might also want to reward your dog for good behavior. If you start when your dog is a puppy, those positive reinforcements will make grooming easier when he gets older.

It’s also important to use your grooming tools appropriately. If you don’t know how to use them, they can be ineffective and even painful for your dog. Have someone experienced with the use of grooming tools assist you.

Here are grooming suggestions for you and your family, as well as some signs you should look out for while grooming. If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian.

Brushing: For many dogs, brushing is an enjoyable experience. It feels good to your dog and could help increase your bond . Additionally, it gives you a chance to take a close look at your dog’s skin and coat. Look for unusual lumps under the skin, rashes, bald spots, sores, and dull or flaky skin. While a few flakes may not require medical attention, you will want to ask your veterinarian about anything you find that's unusual.

Brushing Teeth: Use specially formulated toothpaste for dogs when brushing your dog’s teeth. Human toothpaste contains fluoride and other ingredients that can harm your dog if swallowed in excessive amounts. Make sure to give your dog plenty of praise for letting you clean his teeth. When examining your dog’s mouth, always check for strong breath odor, red or bright pink and swollen gums and excessive tartar on the teeth (yellow or brown stains on the teeth). If you suspect any problems with your dog’s mouth, consult your veterinarian. 

Bathing: Many dogs enjoy the water, but even for the dogs that don’t, you can associate bath time with a fun experience. Make it exciting for your dog and praise him for good behavior during the bath. Use shampoo specially formulated for dogs, and remember not to bathe him too often. Read more about Bathing.  

Checking Eyes, Ears, Paws and Skin: Make all of these part of a routine. Reward your dog for sitting still while you make sure his eyes are clear and free of discharge, his ears don’t have a strong odor or sign of infection, his paws don’t have cuts or material packed in them and his skin is free of rashes or lumps. See the article on  Nail Clipping for additional information.

With a lot of praise, a good attitude and rewards, the whole family can get into the groom and have a great time. And it’s another fantastic way to grow the bond with your dog.

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