Dog grooming is an art form, to say the least. I had a dog for 14 years and I still can’t get him to brush his teeth or cut his nails – I have a professional do it for me. So when I went to the National Dog Show, presented by Purina, last year and found a few handlers who were also groomers, I was quick to ask them for advice. They shared stories about what they’ve learned over their many years as groomers, and I’ve compiled these tips into the top 10 things dog owners should know.
- Don’t wait too long between visits. If you only groom your dog once a year, the dog won’t get used to it, which makes every grooming visit stressful. Once your pup gets into the routine, grooming becomes something he’s used to and maybe even enjoys.
- Use a meat-flavored toothpaste. Brushing a dog’s teeth can be tricky, but using toothpaste in a flavor you know he likes can make it easier for both of you.
- Start when they are small. If you train your dog from a young age to brush his hair or hair daily and to brush his teeth, he will get used to it more quickly.
- Know your limits at home. Although you can give your dog a trim at home, be aware that professionals will give a much cleaner trim and know how to handle dogs in a stressful situation.
- Train your puppy to lie on its side. It’s easier to groom your pup if he’s comfortable on his side, so start grooming from an early age. He’ll be comfortable on his side and ready for all the massages you want to give him before and after any type of grooming.
- Brush all over. It’s not just a dog’s back to brush. You have to move all around and under everything to really make a difference.
- Know what type of grooming your dog needs. Depending on your dog’s breed, you may need to pay more attention to certain aspects of grooming. Long-haired dogs may need different brushes for different parts of their body due to the thickness of the fur. Some breeds may also require more than just shampooing due to all the fur. It is important to research your puppy for home grooming.
- Be careful where you shampoo. Just like with humans, it’s important to be careful not to get shampoo in your dog’s eyes or nose. It burns! And it is dangerous.
- Rinse, rinse, rinse. If you bathe your dog at home, make sure he is thoroughly rinsed before stopping at bath time. Any type of soap scum will cause your skin to itch, and nobody wants that.
- Do not force. If your dog is totally stressed out and just can’t handle the grooming, don’t force it just yet. Be aware of the signs he gives you that he is upset.
Image source: POPSUGAR Photography/Hedy Phillips