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6 Ways to Groom Your Dog


Your pup needs your help when it comes to keeping their coat shiny, clean and smelling fresh! Loving and caring for your pup involves making sure their skin and coat stay healthy, mat-free and clean so they can look good, smell good and feel good. But grooming your dog is so much more than just giving them a bath or brushing their fur. Grooming is the total care of their body from their head to their toes. Why is dog grooming so important and what are ways you can groom your dog?


Why is Dog Grooming Important? 


Grooming your dog involves making sure that not only are their skin and coat are healthy, but also their ears, eyes and nails. Different breeds sometimes have areas of their body that need special attention. For example, poodles have beautiful curly hair, but that hair can form into mats very easily. These mats can become painful if not attended to. For this reason, poodles need consistent and regular grooming that involves brushing, combing and a hair trim.


Dog grooming is important because it helps care for a huge portion of your pet’s health and happiness. With a good grooming routine, your pup can avoid issues, like matting, and live their best and most happy life! 


The cherry on top is that dog grooming is a great way to build a bond between you and your pet. When done consistently, your pup can recognize it as dedicated time with their parents, who they love so much. 


What if My Dog Doesn’t Like Grooming?


Some dogs have difficulty with grooming. If they have a painful memory of grooming, like someone accidentally clipping the quick of their nail or their fur becoming matted, then they might not be excited to let you care for them in this way. It’s important to always be gentle, praise your pup and let them know that they are safe. 


A professional grooming service is always a helpful resource. A quality groomer will know to work with your dog and accommodate their nervousness, often giving them a better experience. 


For DIY groomers, here are some options for grooming your dog at home. 


How You Can Groom Your Dog at Home:


1. Bathing 


Bathing can be tons of fun for dogs that like to be in the water. Pet parents can ensure clean skin and a shiny coat by washing dogs with dog bathing supplies no more than once a week (too many baths can dry out dogs’ skin). Use shampoo and conditioner made especially for dogs. Human products can throw off the pH balance of your dog’s skin. If your dog’s skin is often dry, itchy or flaky, talk to your vet about possible causes — your dog may have sensitive skin or even a food sensitivity. In between baths, you can use dog cologne or deodorant to keep them smelling fresh. We also have dry shampoos and wet wipes for dogs that can keep them smelling and looking their best.


2. Brushing and Combing


Brushing and combing should be a part of a regular routine for at home maintenance. This helps remove excess fur build up, dirt and debris while helping to prevent matting.


Different types of dog brushes include: 


Slicker Brush - It has a flat or curved head with rows of thin wire pins, which remove loose fur and help detangle their hair.


Pin Brush - A lot like the slicker brush, but this model’s wire pins are tipped with plastic or rubber. It’s made for longer, silkier coat types.


Bristle Brush - This brush is best for doggies with short or wiry coats. The bristles remove debris and leave a nice shine.


Shedding Blade - This brush is a horseshoe-shaped comb with small, harmless teeth. Drag it across flat, short or combination coats to remove loose fur.


Undercoat Rake - This tool looks like a pin brush, but with fewer and longer pins. It’s designed to get deep into double and heavy coats.


Rubber Curry Brush - This is a small rubber brush that can be used wet or dry. It is great for smooth or short haired dogs, helping to remove excess fur. 


3. Ear Care 


If your dog’s ears get dirty from playing outside or get water in them when they swim, then you may want to clean their ears occasionally. For dogs with a lot of hair in their ear, they may need to be gently plucked by a groomer to prevent dirt, debris and even moisture build up in the ears.


Pet parents should ask their vet what dog ear products and cleaning regimens would work best for their pup. You may need to take your dog to the vet for care if they are showing signs of ear trouble or infections. 


You should schedule an appointment with a vet immediately if your dog is showing any of the following symptoms:


  • Ear Pain
  • Won’t Let You Touch Their Ears
  • Buildup of Gunk in the Ear
  • Dark Colored Gunk
  • Unusual Odor
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Lumps Around Ears
  • Unusual Scratching Activity 


Your vet can diagnose or rule out any ear troubles your pup might have and let you know how to improve their ear care. 


4. Eye Care


A lot of dogs get goop in their eyes and may benefit from daily “de-gunking.” Take a soft, damp cloth, cotton ball or tissue and gently wipe the corners of your puppy's eyes. If the eye gunk is crusty, soak it for a moment with a wet cloth or tissue so it’s easier to remove.


You should talk to their vet if you notice: 


  • Your dog is blinking more than normal or rubbing their eyes
  • Changes in your dog’s eyes such as redness, swelling, pain or discharge
  • Your dog seems to be struggling to see or navigate their surroundings.


5. Dental Care


Dogs need their teeth brushed just like you do. When their teeth aren’t regularly groomed or cared for, then plaque can build up on their teeth and can cause issues for them down the road. 


Pet parents should try and brush their dog’s teeth at least once a week, if not every day. You should always use toothpaste made for dogs. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that may harm your dog. Apply the toothpaste with a pet toothbrush, a kids’ toothbrush, a gauze pad or a cotton swab. Be sure to pay attention to the problem areas: the back upper molars and the canine teeth. For dogs with stinky breath, even after brushing, a dog approved breath spray can give them a quick freshen up.


6. Nail Care 


Every dog needs help when it comes to their nails. Overgrowth can be painful for them. Making sure their nails are trimmed can help prevent painful walking, broken nails and more. Pet parents can use dog nail clippers and dog nail files to give their pup the perfect pedicure.


At the end of the day, grooming your pup is extremely important. The job is much easier when you have the right dog grooming supplies. Also if you don’t personally feel comfortable trimming your dog's nails, our groomers at PetSmart will do it during your dog's appointment. If you need help, there are always options. Consult with your vet if you are concerned about your dog's ears, eyes, skin or coat health. You can always hire a professional grooming service to get the job done.


Information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your pet and is not a substitute for veterinary care provided by a licensed veterinarian. For any medical or health-related advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet, contact your veterinarian.