QUICK GUIDE TO GROOMING YOUR PUPPY
Every dog needs a little help with their personal grooming. In the same way we can’t cut our own hair, dogs can’t do it either. But this doesn’t necessarily mean forking out for a professional dog groomer. Dog grooming at its core is just washing, combing and trimming their nails. It is a good excuse to spend some quality time with you four-legged friend and also lets you check them for any irregularities that could indicate a health issue.
START GROOMING EARLY
Start grooming them when they are young. The quicker puppies get used to being groomed, the easier the whole experience is later on. Start with quick 5-10-minute brushing and combing sessions when they are young, and slowly build it up. Eventually, they will be able to sit through a bath and have their nails trimmed in one go without becoming distracted and sending water all over the bathroom. Using treats to reward your puppy for sitting still is a good idea to reinforce good behaviour.
In terms of frequency, the longer the hair, the more frequent the grooming needs to be done. With longer-haired breeds, brushing daily is a given. Shorter-haired breeds can manage with being brushed down once a week.
Curly haired breeds, like poodles, don’t shed. These require more work because they will also need their hair trimming from time to time. If you keep their hair short, it makes grooming much easier and prevents knots from forming. And they just love the attention.
Start by detangling the hair. Start at the end of the knot and work your way up. You may want to use a pair of scissors to manipulate the knot out. Using talcum powder also helps. It absorbs any moisture and makes it easier to brush any stubborn knots out.
Start with a soft brush and give them a once over. This should take off any dead skin. Once you have gone all over with a soft brush, get a harder brush to remove any dead hairs that may fall out.
Washing your dog for the first time is always pandemonium. You discover that they can wriggle and move in ways you never even thought possible. But it gets easier. To get a better grip of your dog, you might want to put a non-slip bath mat down in the bath and put a collar on. These should allow you to keep hold of him or her, despite the wriggling and squirming.
To keep most of the water in the bath, avoid washing your dog’s head until last. When a dog’s head gets wet they feel the need to shake off. If you leave this until last then the dog does most of the drying for you. I use diluted baby shampoo with my Labrador. It won’t hurt if it gets near their eyes and leaves the coat looking sleek. Use a hair-dryer on longer-haired canines, but for most breeds, towel drying is absolutely fine.
If you have never trimmed your dog’s nails before, you can get them used to the idea by massaging their paws every day for the fortnight building up to it. This will be particularly helpful for puppies, who might be a little jittery about having their paws touched.
First I check for any dirt or grime left in the nooks and crannies of the paws. If you need to get any bits of dirt out, a cotton ear bud is small enough to get those hard-to-reach places. Then, using a pair of doggie nail clippers, trim the nail at a slight incline approximately where the nail begins to curve.
You must be very careful not to cut the vein which runs through the dog’s nail. Cutting this will cause a lot of pain and can lead to more serious problems. Always cut at least 2-3mm away from the vein. It looks pinkish to dark and can usually be seen within the nail. Finally, if there are any jagged edges left, you can use a nail file and file them off.
And your dog should be ready to go and take on the world. Maybe avoid muddy walks for the next couple of days, it would be such a shame to see all your work undone.
How does your dog take to grooming? Most dogs love it.