Pet owners are usually aware that their dog needs to be groomed, but what this means can vary a lot by breed, lifestyle, and other factors. How often should you groom your dog? Do they need trimmed or just a bath? How do you trim the nails? Should you be cleaning the ears? And what about anal glands?
Dog grooming can be overwhelming, but Brodie Animal Hospital has all your answers about what to do when and why it’s a great way to promote pet health.
Benefits of Regular Dog Grooming
Having a well-groomed dog has many benefits that you likely never even thought about. Besides having a good smelling and attractive pooch, regular grooming can help to promote pet health. Some pups are higher maintenance than others, but all dogs need to be groomed.
Regular dog grooming practices can help:
- Stay on top of problems–When you are grooming your pet often, you are inadvertently taking time to observe them. This often allows you to discover concerns before they become too advanced. Things like an early ear infection, a flea or tick problem, or weight fluctuations are much more noticeable when you are paying such close attention to your pet.
- Ear issues–Dogs who are prone to ear infections and other ear problems often benefit from routine grooming. Cleaning the ear canals and sometimes maintaining the surrounding hair can support good health. Doing these things might also alert you or your groomer to early signs of an issue.
- Skin problems–Allergy problems, skin infections, and cuts or scrapes are problems for many pets. Bathing can help identify issues and may also remove allergens and other irritants from the skin. Medicated and hypoallergenic shampoos may be helpful to some pets. Brushing and dematting also helps promote a healthy skin and coat.
- Paw problems–Paws that have not been cared for can lead to trouble. Long hair can trap burrs and other debris, while overgrown nails may snag on things and break. Long nails can also become ingrown or lead to changes in your pet’s gait that may be painful.
The Care and Keeping of Your Pup
So how do you go about grooming your pet properly?
There are lots of things to consider. While we will outline some general rules of thumb, please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns. Proper pet grooming is important and we are happy to help!
- Nail trims–Most pets need their nails trimmed every 4-6 weeks (although some may wear them down on their own and others may need more frequent trims). Regular trims prevent cracks and snags and help to keep the quick-containing blood vessel and nerve shorter.
- Ear cleanings–Cleaning your dog’s ears once a week or so can help to maintain a healthy environment. If your dog is prone to ear infections or other issues, you may be asked to clean them more often.
- Brushing–Brushing stimulates the oil glands and hair follicles in the skin and can result in a shinier, healthier coat. For longer-coated breeds it can also help to prevent painful and irritating mats. Pay close attention behind the ears, in the armpits and under the tail. Shorter coated breeds may only need to be brushed once a week or so, while longer coats might benefit from daily brushing.
- Bathing–For most pets, bathing once a month or so with a shampoo formulated for dogs is plenty. More frequent baths can dry out the skin and lead to problems. Dry shampoos and baby wipes can be helpful for spot cleans between baths. Some dogs, especially those who suffer from allergic skin disease may benefit from more frequent baths under the guidance of our veterinarians.
- Trimming fur–Shorter-coated dogs may not need to be trimmed, but those with longer hair may need routine cuts. The areas around the eyes, between the paw pads, and around the potty area may need special attention. Mats often need to be trimmed out as well if you have not kept up well with brushing.
- Anal glands–Many pets do not need their anal glands expressed routinely. If you suspect an issue (foul odor, scooting or licking, swelling, or redness), please have our team check things out.
- Brushing teeth–Brushing your dog’s teeth can be an important and helpful component of home pet dental care. For maximum benefit, brushing should be done daily with an enzymatic toothpaste for pets.
For some dogs, grooming can be more of a process. Some may even require the help of a professional groomer to trim the hair properly.
Dogs can also be fearful of things like nail trims and senior dogs with arthritis or obese dogs may have additional considerations. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you are having trouble grooming your dog properly or don’t know where to start. We are here to help, whether you have a short-coated pug or a fully-groomed show poodle!