The easiest way to groom your dog is to set up a schedule. If you do it once or twice a week, each session will take less time and you won't have to worry about him making a mess in the house. This might be a chore that family members can share: Mom takes care of it on Mondays, Dad on Tuesdays, and so on. Some dogs love to be groomed; others would rather visit the "v-e-t." To make it easier on yourself and your pet, set up a specific time and place for grooming.
Some pet owners use regular hair brushes on their dogs, and this can work for certain breeds. However, it helps to use tools that are specifically recommended for animals. The , for example, is highly recommended for dogs that tend to shed, and is designed to remove as much loose hair as possible. Ideally, you want a brush that won't hurt your dog's skin but will separate the hairs and leave them smooth and shiny. Try a variety of brushes, and switch to a soft brush for smoothing the coat at the end of grooming.
Start at the top
Grooming your dog should be a top-to-bottom exercise. Begin with your dog's head and work slowly down to his tail with a brush, making sure to hit the hard-to-reach areas like his chest and abdomen. Spend extra time on areas where the undercoat tends to flourish, such as the back and the sides of the legs. Long-haired dogs will need a brush with metal bristles that separate those long hairs and remove clumps of undercoat. You can use a softer brush on short-haired dogs or animals with sensitive skin. Make sure to pay attention to your dog's reaction; if the brushing seems to be painful, let up on the pressure.
Clipping the nails
Your dog's nails are another essential part of pet care, as long nails can snag on carpet and grass and scratch human legs. They are also unkind to furniture if your dog prefers the couch to his doggy bed. If you are worried about accidentally cutting a vein, you can grind your dog's nails instead of clipping them. You can find cordless grinders that allow you to work outside, and the machine will grind down the nail without danger to your dog's paws.
Eliminating doggy breath
If your dog breathes a wisp of green smoke every time he exhales, it might be time to start focusing on dental pet care. Brushing your dog's teeth every three months or so will help prevent decay and keep his teeth healthy. There are specially formulated brushes and toothpastes that work wonders with dog mouths.
- Never brush your dog's teeth without first putting your fingers in his mouth to get him used to the sensation. Otherwise, he might instinctively bite down.
- Have someone else hold your dog's head the first time you clip or grind his nails. This way, you'll be protected if he decides he doesn't like the feeling.
- Bathe your dog only once every month or so. Frequent bathing can lead to dry skin and irritation, so stick with grooming most of the time.