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Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get your dog to calmly sit next to you while you trim its hair, brush its fur, or clip its nails? While we all would like to groom our dogs without fuss, reality sets in quickly when your favorite furball yelps or pounces on your styling tools.
To groom your dog successfully, you need to know what tools and products to use, and how to coax your canine to comply. Read the following tips to get started.
Is It Hard to Groom Your Own Dog
Select the Right Grooming Aids
If this is your first time grooming your dog, you need to select the tools first. What you can use on your own hair or nails will not apply here.
Choose the Right Brush
For brushing your dog’s fur, choose a slicker brush that features gentle and flexible stainless-steel pins with an ergonomic grip handle. It would be best if you also chose a dog brush ideal for removing tangles or matting in long hair.
You can also use the comb-like brush to remove dead or shedding hair. While most slicker brushes are designed for long-haired dogs, you can find some brushes geared for short-haired breeds too.
If your dog has short hair, choose a bristle brush made of natural fibers that are tightly packed. You can also get a lot of mileage from a pet grooming glove.
The glove is an ideal choice for any dog parent whose dog needs some calming when they are being groomed. When you use the glove, it tends to soothe more than when you use a brush, as it combines the activities of both brushing and petting. Use the de-shedding glove while your pet is blowing fur to keep your dog’s coat cleaner and skin in better condition.
Use gentle strokes when using a brush or de-shedding glove or comb, as brushing or combing too hard may scratch or irritate your dog’s skin. Always brush or comb in the direction of the hair grain. Plan the activity at least twice a week and maintain a regular schedule.
Select the Scissors
When choosing scissors, you can find inexpensive and quality stainless steel scissors online. Choose two pairs of professional dog grooming scissors – a longer pair with smooth blades and a pair of shorter scissors with small serrated edges. Use the shorter scissors to trim the fur in sensitive areas, such as the face and paws. Make sure the tips are rounded for extra safety.
Select manual scissors, as they will not startle your pet like noisy trimmers that run on batteries. If you need to follow some guidelines for trimming your pet’s hair, select a scissors kit with clip-on combs for various cut lengths. The Scaredy Cut Silent Pet Grooming Kit, sold on Amazon, is a good choice for beginners.
Select the Nail Clippers
The American Kennel Club (AKC) features information on the three basic types of nail clippers.
- Scissors clippers are designed to trim both the thicker nails of larger dogs as well as the thinner and more fragile nails of medium and small-sized dogs. When using the clippers trim at a 45-degree angle.
- Guillotine clippers, designed for small to medium dogs, work, as the name suggests, like a small guillotine. Place the nail in a hole and press the clippers to trim the nail.
- You can also use a nail grinder<span style=”font-weight: 400;”> and grind each nail instead of clipping it. However, the process takes longer. Therefore, this product should only be used on more placid dogs.
Make sure you have some styptic powder on hand in case you trim too close to the quick or the center vein of the nail. Hopefully, you will not need it, but accidents can happen. Most of the clippers come with safety guards to ensure safer trimming.
Along with your clippers, use a nail file to smooth out rough edges and parts of the nail that may snag clothing, drapes, or rugs, or scratch the furniture.
Select the Reward Treats
Use low-cal kibble to get your dog to behave when you groom him. If he sits calmly, be sure to give him some kibble, adding a grateful word of praise. As long as your dog understands basic commands, such as “sit” or “stay,” it will be easier to control him.
Always Ask for Help, If Needed
If you want to groom your pet yourself, that is fine. However, if your pup gets fussy, you need to solicit help. Ask a friend or family member to keep your dog’s attention while you brush him, bathe him, or trim his nails.
Make Sure the Space Where Your Dog Stands Is Safe
Whether you want to trim your dog’s nails or brush him, the place where your dog stands should be cleared of clutter and slip-proof. Invest in a non-slip mat to keep your dog secure and safe.
Use Baby Powder to Gently Get Rid of Tangles
If your dog has long hair, sprinkle some baby powder in his fur to get rid of tangles. Doing so will help you unsnarl the knots before combing and brushing his hair.
Keep Grooming and Have Antibacterial Wipes Handy
If you do not have enough time to brush and bathe your pet, use grooming wipes specially designed for dogs. Don’t use baby wipes, as the ingredients in these products are not canine-friendly. Always use products that are made for dogs.
When choosing wipes, keep the grooming wipes on hand to quickly clean your pet. Antibacterial wipes may be used if you need to take care of more hygienic concerns. Always use wipes that are free of irritants, such as propylene glycol and alcohol.
Give Your Dog’s Paws the Spa Treatment
Because your dog’s paws hit the pavement in all types of weather, use a paw balm to take care of cracks or dryness. This is also a great way to get your dog acclimated to having its nails clipped and trimmed.
Clean Your Pup’s Teeth
Part of grooming also involves cleaning the teeth. To make sure you do things right, choose a toothpaste made for dogs and a double-headed manual brush so that you can brush both larger and smaller teeth.
To support dental health, you can also add a probiotic powder, such as ProBiora, to your dog’s food at mealtime. Doing so will keep your dog’s breath cleaner and give you a break from tooth-brushing activities.
Use a Dog-Friendly Shampoo
When you do shampoo your dog’s hair, choose a dog-friendly brand. Never use human shampoo, as it is not designed to take care of a dog’s special dermatological needs. Preferably, use a shampoo that contains natural ingredients, such as honey, vitamin E, or oatmeal.
How often you shampoo your dog will depend on whether he is an outdoor or indoor dog. You can shampoo your dog’s hair as much as twice a month or wait every three months if you have a dog, such as the Shiba Inu. The Shiba Inu can suffer from skin irritations if it is bathed too much. Should you choose to shampoo your dog more often, always use a gentle shampoo.
One Final Reminder
You can groom your pet by yourself. You just need to organize yourself, use the right grooming tools, and anticipate your dog’s reactions. Remember, practicing positive reinforcement and using rewards will make grooming easier for you and less of a challenge for your companion dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I keep my dog still?
Always give your dog a treat when he sits still during grooming. Also, it helps to have a friend keep him occupied while you brush his fur or trim his nails.
How often should I groom my dog?
How often you groom your dog will depend on your lifestyle and the nature of the dog’s fur.
- A longer haired dog should be bathed four times a year to keep its hair and skin in good shape and condition.
- Brush a short-haired dog at least once weekly.
- If your dog has a longer coat or undercoat, you need to trim the coat every four to six weeks to prevent problems with matting.
- Brush your longer-haired fur ball at least twice a week to keep your dog’s hair shiny and tangle-free.
- Use a de-shedding glove twice weekly while your dog is shedding.
What causes matting?
The most common causes of matting are caused by the following activities:
- Getting the hair wet in the rain or snow;
- Compressing the fur when sitting or lying down; or
- Rolling around in the grass during play.
How do you remove mats?
You can brush out mats that are not too severe, or give your dog a short haircut if they have become a major problem. Brush your dog’s hair regularly, as mats cause discomfort and pain if they are not removed.