Grooming your pet dog yourself can be a rewarding experience. Not only are you able to save tens of dollars on professional dog grooming fees, you are also able to strengthen your bond with your mutt. However, performing a thorough grooming of our pets can be daunting especially to the absolute first-timer. Not to worry, though, as we’ve come up with a list of the most common questions that many beginning DIY dog groomers have. Here are the 7 most common dog grooming questions explained to you in simple terms to make your pet grooming activities more successful.
- How can I make my pooch less anxious and more comfortable during grooming?
If you think you’re the only one who is anxious every time you have to bring your pooch to the bathtub for a much-needed rub down, think again. The entire experience can be especially traumatic to dogs particularly if you have not made any significant efforts to train or prepare Fido for the activity. For this, it is important to look at the reason for its anxiety.
Many dogs don’t like being touched or handled in certain parts of their body. Most of them are quite apprehensive whenever their eyes, muzzle, ears, tail, groin, and / or paws are held. The trick is for you to acclimatize your pet to the sensation of touch in these areas. You may have to identify first which body parts they are particularly sensitive to being touched, however. Once you’ve identified which body part is sensitive to them, you can then use this knowledge to customize a training program for them to associate being touched in these areas to something that is positive.
You may begin by touching an area just outside the sensitive region until such time that they have grown accustomed to being touched. You can then slowly proceed to touching the anxiety-provoking body part but do it gently and associate it with a key word. After the key word has been uttered, you can give your mutt a treat. Over time, your pet will associate the key word and the touch with the treat.
Some animal experts actually recommend playing with your dog about 30 minutes to an hour before grooming. The energy spent on playing would have already dissipated the negative vibes of anxiety, making your pet more relaxed.
- How can I manage my dog’s fur or at least keep it under control?
During grooming, you will be brushing, using dog hair clippers and combing your pet’s hair and it is inadvertent that some of these will find their way into your carpet, sofa, clothing, and other household items including your furniture. Instead of sweeping, dusting, and / or vacuuming these surfaces, it usually is a lot better to simply do the brushing or combing outside your house. Or, if you can dedicate a small room in your house that will serve as your grooming den, then you can at least isolate these hair balls from ever getting into the rest of your house. If you have to do it in a communal area of the house, then check out this guide on the best vacuums for dog’s hair.
You may also want to use washable slip-on covers for your pieces of furniture. At least, if these items do get covered with pet hair, you can easily slip them off and throw them right in your washing machine. You can then replace these with new ones. As for your carpets and floor, you may want to place throw rugs instead. The trick is to place these in strategic locations so they get as much of the stray pet hair in your home. Machine-washable throw rugs especially those with non-skid backing can be very handy.
Some pet owners actually dress their furry pals in cute and adorable pet clothes. These help keep the hairs from falling off on surfaces. These pet clothing are worn in between grooming sessions.
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- Do I really have to brush the coat of my long-haired pet?
Unfortunately, the short answer is “yes”. It may seem like a chore but there are many benefits to brushing your mutt’s long coat. First of all, frequent brushing helps prevent hair from getting tangled and mats from developing. Mats can be nasty as this clump of hairs can pull on the skin of your pet which inadvertently constricts the various tissues underneath. This can lead to a reduction in the overall blood flow to these tissues, possibly depriving them of invaluable oxygen and nutrients. You don’t have to brush the coat of your long-haired mutt on a daily basis, though. Doing it every other day should suffice.
One of the key aspects of brushing is knowing which tools to use for a particular issue. If the main issue in your pet is tangles, a pin brush works best. If you need to remove loose hair or even dirt as well as polish your pet’s coat, you may need a double-sided brush that has bristles on one side and pins on the other. If the main issue is matting, then your best tool will be slicker brushes that have wire pins that are slightly curved. This type of brush is also helpful in removing debris and dead hair. However, if your pooch happens to have fine, straight, silky coat, the slicker brush should never be used as this can damage your pet’s hair. For those breeds with double-coated with loose undercoat, an undercoat rake works best.
- What is the best way to help my Fido enjoy its bath time?
Instead of carrying your pooch straight to the bathtub, you might want to tire it first. Or, if you’re not really a fan of this methodology, you might want to coax your pet into getting inside the bath tub. You can place its favorite toys or even use tasty treats as reward for going to the bathtub. The reason why hauling your pet to the bathtub is not recommended is that this only increases your pet’s anxiety. Your dog needs to be calm and composed. As much as possible, it must be trained to associate the bathtub and bathtime to something very pleasant.
You can also try giving them a warm bath instead of icy cold water. Also, don’t ever douse your pooch’s snout or face as it can be frightening for it. A better approach is to use a washcloth if you have to clean and wash your dog’s face. Whatever you do, never ever yell at your pet during bathtime.
- Is blow-drying safe for my dog?
Blow-drying your pet after a bath is perfectly alright as long as you use only the lowest setting. Using the highest setting can burn and hurt your beloved pooch. Remember, they don’t have a way of telling us that the air is already too hot for them to handle. It’s the same thing with us every time we blow-dry our hair. We tend to reposition the dryer if it becomes unbearably hot on a particular section. Additionally, you may want to keep the blow dryer’s nozzle several inches away from the fur of your pet. Try to move the nozzle in a constant motion so that the warm air flow will not be directed on a particular area. Sometimes, you have to acclimatize your pooch to the sensation of air that is blowing on its fur as well as the sound created by the blower.
- How can I make nail trimming less threatening and less anxiety-provoking for my pet?
Trimming the nails of your dog is one of the most frightening experiences any pooch can ever have. Hitting a sensitive spot can lead to excessive bleeding. However, it’s the trauma that is left with the pooch that will make it especially averse to such a procedure. The key, therefore, is acclimatization. Again, it is imperative to go slow into training your pet to associate the nail trimming activity with something that’s pleasant. Experts recommend starting off with an entirely new and very different type of nail trimmer from the previous one. This is to help eliminate the association that might still be present with that particular type of trimmer.
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- Why are there stains under my pet’s eyes and what do I need to do to get rid of these stains?
Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to developing obstruction in their tear ducts. Some can also have an unusual structure of the eyelid, predisposing them to tear spillage onto the hair at the junction of the eyes and the snout. It is also possible that eye irritation can lead to excessive tearing. Regardless of the mechanism, these tears dampen the hairs in the area, making them especially useful for the proliferation of bacteria that can release a variety of chemicals that cause the rusty stain. Since the cause of the staining is the presence of bacteria secondary to a moist environment related to excessive tearing, only a veterinarian can help you manage such issues. In most cases, your dog may be given an antibiotic or even a disinfectant to help kill the bacteria and other organisms in the hair. You may also be referred to a dog ophthalmologist to isolate the reasons for the excessive tearing and identify the most appropriate treatment.
Now that you have the answers to the 7 most common dog grooming questions, you’re now more than capable of grooming your pet.