Start Out Strong With Puppy and Kitten Care Basics
Keeping your precious pooch looking her best is an essential part of pet care; plus, it’s a great way to bond with your dog! Try these at-home grooming hacks from our team at Brodie Animal Hospital for safe, simple ways to pamper your pup between professional grooming appointments.
HOW TO TRIM A DOG’S NAILS
Your dog will likely need her nails trimmed every 4 to 6 weeks, so learning to do it yourself can be a big timesaver. Try this gentle progression and stop if your dog shows signs of stress:
- Choose the right clippers for your size dog.
- Let her sniff the clippers and reward her with a treat.
- Hold her paw firmly but gently between your thumb and forefinger and touch the clippers to her paw. Reward her with a treat!
- Next, try trimming the very tip of one nail. Offer plenty of praise and a treat. If she seems calm, try another nail.
- Repeat these steps each time you begin her “pedicure” until she lets you trim all of her nails.
HOW TO COMB MATTED DOG HAIR
Matted fur is uncomfortable because it pulls on your dog’s sensitive skin.
To remove a few mats, hold the clump of matted dog hair firmly near the skin and do your best to separate the mat with your fingers. Once you’ve got it divided into smaller tangles, comb them out.
If your dog has severely matted fur, shaving her coat may be necessary, in which case, you can schedule an appointment with a professional groomer.
HOW TO CLEAN A DOG’S EARS
Clean your dog’s ears no more than once a week unless your veterinarian advises otherwise. If your dog is scratching at her ears, it’s best to schedule an examination to rule out an ear infection.
- Fill your dog’s ear canal with a veterinarian-approved solution or place a cotton ball that has been soaked with the solution into your dog’s ear.
- Massage your dog’s ear at the base.
- Use clean cotton balls (NEVER cotton swabs) to remove the excess until the cotton ball comes out clean.
- Let your dog have a good shake!
HOW TO GIVE YOUR DOG A BATH
Bathing your dog at home is a great way to make her feel fresh and pampered—especially if she’s been spending a lot of time outdoors enjoying the dog days of summer.
- Get everything ready first. You’ll need a towel, a plastic cup (to help rinse), and dog shampoo.
- Test the water temperature. You want it lukewarm to protect her sensitive skin.
- If your dog has long hair, use a slicker brush to check for tangles before getting her fur wet.
- Gently wet her fur and thoroughly work the shampoo into her coat. Choose the best dog shampoo for your individual dog. Shampoos are available to treat shedding, odor, dry skin, and other concerns.
- Rinse thoroughly and pat her dry.
- Follow up with a final brushing once her fur is completely dry.
With a little patience and practice, at-home pet grooming can be a rewarding experience for you and your dog.