Hello Fur Parents! Let’s talk about a topic many of you know a little about, but may not know the most important reasoning behind it: grooming your animals. Today let’s focus on our four-legged Fidos. I doubt I have to tell you that dogs need to be groomed. Brushing, bathing, ear cleaning, nail trims, and dental care are all very important to maintain appearances but also vital to your pups health.
One thing I have found very helpful, especially if you’re bringing home a new puppy, is get your animal accustomed to the motions of grooming. Getting them used to this at a young age will help ease their nerves and keep them calm as you groom and inspect their ears and teeth throughout their lifetime. Most dogs are not fans of nail trimming. By starting early, and handling their paws regularly, chances are it will be less of a task trimming their nails later on.
For most of us grooming the fur of our animals is a normal routine, especially if your baby is a fluff ball. However, regular grooming is not only important for long hair breeds, but also our short hair friends. Our short haired dogs may not need as much upkeep, but regular brushing is necessary for all dogs. Brushing is one way to bond with your pups. Who doesn’t love a good back scratch from time to time? Brushing also eliminates matting, dandruff, outdoor roughage, and gives you the chance to inspect the fur a little closer. This is a good time to look for any abnormalities, sores, or parasites. Brushing also is a way to keep the fur looking healthy, by distributing the natural oils in their skin throughout the coat.
Be sure to regularly inspect your pup’s ears and teeth. Ears can be cleaned while bathing your pup. You can take a soft cloth and gently wipe out the inside of their ears, making sure to look for any signs of mites or parasites. Remember to NEVER stick any object into the ear canal—this includes cotton swabs or Q-Tips. Long hair breeds are especially prone to ear infections, so keeping the ears and the hair around the ears clean can prevent ailments. Keep an eye on Fido’s teeth, looking for any signs of tartar, decay, or missing or broken teeth. A regular teeth cleaning by your vet is very important to maintain your dog’s dental health. A healthy set of chompers is not only important for your dog to easily eat, but many diseases and health complications can come from a dirty mouth.
Lastly, we tackle the dreaded nail clipping. Nail trimming is another very important task for keeping Fido happy and healthy. When nails become too long, they hinder the paw from properly contacting the ground’s surface. The nails then begin to twist and turn causing their digits (or fingers) to twist and become very sore and painful. Think of how it would feel to be walking around on the tips of your fingernails, and then your fingers start to splay sideways as your nails grow longer. Now, for some it may be easier to regularly take your pooch to the vet or a groomer to have this procedure done. It is usually inexpensive, and the staff will have ample experience, especially with dogs that do not like their paws being handled. If you do decide to conquer this feat on your own, there are many brands of nail clippers you can purchase at your local pet supply store. It is imperative that you take extra care to not trim the nail too short. This is called cutting into the quick, and can cause severe bleeding. (If this does happen, you can use styptic powder, cornstarch, or flour to dip the nail into and aid in coagulation of the blood.) Dogs with light colored nails are generally easier to judge as far as length of the nail, as you can usually see where the quick of the nail begins. This is a different story altogether in dogs with dark nails. Inside dogs may need nail trims more frequently, because the flooring of your home does not wear the nails down as being outside in a rougher terrain would.
Hopefully, you have learned that grooming is not just keeping up appearances. It is vital to your best friend’s HEALTH and COMFORT. Grooming is a sure fire way to keep Fido’s tail happily wagging.