We need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep up our appearance – the same applies to dogs! Dog grooming is an essential part of keeping them happy and healthy, that is why we have put together this ultimate guide on the basics of dog grooming. But, if you’re in doubt, don’t worry, here at A&T Trained Dogs we have dog grooming services available in Lancaster.
Bathing Your Dog
Bathing your dog is required to ensure that your dog’s skin and coat are clean and healthy and there are no traces of unpleasant odour. For dogs with specific skin conditions, bathing may be part of a medical treatment plan that has been recommended by their vet.
We recommend not bathing your dog too frequently as this could dry out their skin and strip away too many natural oils in their coat.
Type of Dog Shampoo to Use
You can get advice from your vet on what is the most suitable shampoo for your dog. Please do not use human shampoo, this is because dogs have sensitive skin and their skin pH is different to humans.
Once you have the correct dog shampoo, test patch a small amount of the product before applying to make sure that your dog doesn’t have a reaction or irritation to it.
Where to Bathe Your Dog
Where to bathe your dog can vary depending on individual circumstances:
For medium to large-sized dogs, it is easier to bathe them outside in the garden. This is so you can avoid lifting them or if they have a tendency to jump out of the tub. You can choose to use the garden hose but ensure that the water is at a good temperature, or you can opt for filled buckets.
For smaller dogs, it may be easier to use the bathtub, however, if they seem distressed take them outside. If using the tab tub, always supervise your dog and let the water run down the drain, so the water doesn’t fill up the tub.
How to Train Your Dog to Enjoy Bath Time
- Help them to be comfortable with handling in general before bathing them. Pat and stroke different parts of their body and reward them for being calm whilst doing so. Work through their chest area, shoulders, sides, back and legs and once they are comfortable with them move towards other areas such as the footpads and nails. Doing this before heading to the tub right away will allow them to feel more calm at the situation.
- Slowly introduce your dog to bathing and give them plenty of praise and dog treats for being calm. This will help them to understand that bathing is a positive thing. You can show them each item that you will use during the bathing process, such as towels, buckets, and shampoo. We recommend turning on the hose or tap when your dog is nearby, so they can get used to the running water.
- It’s a good idea to go for a walk before bath time as this will mean your dog is more tired having expended some energy and will therefore be less energetic during bath time.
Brushing and Grooming Your Dog
Brushing your dog helps to keep your dog’s coat in good condition, remove loose hair, and prevent knotting. It also helps to strengthen a positive relationship between dogs and their owners.
How often you will brush and groom your dog will depend on each dog’s coat type and length. Short coat dogs generally require less brushing and grooming compared to medium and long-haired dogs.
Type of Brushes for Different Hair Types
- Very short hair = Rubber or bristle brush
- Short hair = Rubber brush or shedding tool
- Short thick hair = Undercoat rake or shedding tool
- Medium hair = Slicker brush or an undercoat rake
- Straight hair = Pin brush or a de-matting tool
Basic Steps to Grooming Your Dog’s Nails, Teeth, and Ears
After brushing your dog, it is recommended to groom your dog’s nails, teeth, and ears.
Talk to your vet about how to trim your dog’s nails. They can show you how to trim them safely, what length is suitable and what type of clipper to use. It’s very important not to trim them too short as this can cause bleeding and pain.
Teething & Gum Cleaning
To keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy, provide your dog with safe chew items, such as dog chew toys and dental chews. Chewing promotes healthy teeth and gums, therefore having the appropriate items handy is better than opting for something they shouldn’t!
To keep your dog’s ears clean, use damp cotton pads and dog-specific ear cleaner and massage gently. If your dog appears to be scratching, or rubbing their ears along the floor or furniture, or there is any redness or swelling, this is a sign that their ears need cleaning.
How to Train Your Dog To Enjoy Grooming
- Similarly to training your dog to be comfortable with bathing, the same first step applies to getting them to be comfortable with handling in general.
- Next, introduce them to a brush, by placing it next to them and reward them if they remain calm. This way, your dog will associate the brush with something positive.
- Once your dog is used to the brush, begin by brushing them very lightly and gently. Over time, you will be able to increase the number of brush strokes and the length of time you brush your dog.
- Make sure your dog is always comfortable and if there are any mats, knots, or tangles, you may need to trim these off rather than brush them.
- We recommend keeping your grooming sessions short, so your dog doesn’t get overwhelmed unless they are enjoying the process.
Use A&T Trained Dogs’ Grooming Services
If you would like to leave the grooming to the experts, at A&T Trained Dogs offers luxury dog grooming services, that’ll leave your pooch feeling happy and healthy! For expert advice or further information on dog grooming, get in touch with us online or call 01524 587315.