By Amy Jones of Waggy Tails Groomers
Grooming is an important part of your relationship with your dog. Whether your dog is smooth, long or curly coated all need to have regular grooming. Having a regular grooming routine with your dog will help reinforce the bond between you and also help to avoid conditions many consider as just being part of old age. When you are brushing your dog, it’s an ideal time to check him over for all those little problems that can get worse if not dealt with promptly.
Why should a dog be groomed regularly?
- Brushing a dog’s coat regularly will enable any knots in the coat to be worked out before they develop into matts and potentially cause the dog a lot of pain by pulling on the skin.
- Regular brushing and bathing allows a dog’s skin and hair to be cleaned. This gets rid of the every day grime and debris that builds up in the coat resulting in it being cleaner and glossier looking.
- The length of the dog’s coat should be kept regular so that it is manageable for the owner’s lifestyle. If it is a busy one the dog may best suit a short hairstyle rather than a long coat.
- Regular grooming allows you to keep regular checks on your dog’s skin and if there are any signs of external parasites i.e. flea dirt. Regular grooming can reduce shedding which means less hair blowing around your home and sticking to your clothes or furniture.
- Regular grooming allows your dog to become used to being touched all over the body. This may be vital in the future if they were involved in a medical emergency. If the dog is used to being touched all over they will feel more comfortable and less stressed about the situation.
Just as in humans, dirt and wax build up can occur in your dog’s ear canal and therefore they need regular cleaning. A dirty, moist environment can become a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. Its also an ideal location for parasites such as ear-mites and ticks. Drop eared dogs such as Spaniels are especially prone to ear infections due to the lack of air circulation.
When cleaning the ear it is important not to push into the ear canal as this can cause pain for the dog and potential damage. There are a number of ear solutions and powders on the market that you can purchase to help keep your dog’s ears clean. Starting early means that your dog will get used to the routine. Also inspecting and cleaning your dog’s ears regularly will help to prevent future ear problems and therefore hopefully avoid expensive visits and prescriptions. If however when cleaning your dog’s ears you do come across an infection it is important to take your dog to the vet asap for treatment.
Dog’s nails grow at a slow but constant rate just like humans. A dog’s nails usually wear down naturally as they walk on hard surfaces although sometimes this isn’t the case. If a dog’s toes are slightly crooked this can cause the nails to grow at an angle so that they do not wear down on walks. Sometimes dogs only have access to soft surfaces such as grass which doesn’t provide the friction needed to wear the nail down. As dogs become older they tend to become less active and therefore may need their nails trimmed more than they used to.
It is important that a dog’s nails are kept at the correct length in line with their pad. Long nails can put pressure on the toes and joints causing pain for your dog. Long nails are also prone to splitting and are more at risk of getting caught and being ripped. Remember not to forget to trim the dew claws as these do not wear down naturally and if not attended to can curl and puncture the skin leading to pain and infection.
There are a variety of nail trimmers on the market that can be purchased from small scissor style for toy dogs to guillotine and plier types. Care is needed when trimming your dogs nails. A dog with white nails is much easier to trim than black nails are you will be able to see the blood supply known as the quick. It is best to only take small slices off at a time especially if you cannot see the quick to avoid cutting it. Accidents will happen though and there are styptic powders which you can use to stem the blood.
For a step by step guide to cutting your dog’s nails see here. Most dogs do not like having their nails done and will wriggle. If you are struggling why not contact a local groomer who can do it for you.
Sadly not all the dogs that come to Oldies Club have been so lucky, one example is Nike. Failing to keep up medication for skin problems caused considerable suffering to him. The problems were put right but at great expense as his skin and feet had been horribly neglected.