When it comes to helping your dog look and feel their best, regular grooming can go a long way. Our Southern Wisconsin vets talk about the importance of grooming your dog, how to do it at home and what to expect when bringing them to a professional groomer.
Why Grooming Your Dog is Important
Below our Southern Wisconsin veterinary team shares some of the ways that dog grooming is so important for your furry companion:
- Brushing sweeps away old damaged fur, helping to ventilate their coat which helps to promote healthy growth.
- Grooming helps to reduce oily residue, allowing your pup's skin to breathe and reducing the instances of blocked pores and other skin problems.
- Gently brushing your dog's fur is like giving your pet a relaxing massage, and helps to promote healthy circulation of the blood.
- Grooming time is quality time spent together and will help to strengthen the bond between you and your canine companion.
- Regular brushing helps to remove loose fur and debris that could otherwise lead to matting which causes painful patches on your dog's skin.
- Weekly grooming provides you with an opportunity to inspect and monitor the health of your dog's skin, ears and feet and look for unusual lumps, bumps or injuries.
- When you groom your dog you have a chance to check between your dog's toes for any uncomfortable clumps of mud, stones or ticks.
- Brushing and bathing your pooch regularly will allow you to spot parasites such as ticks and fleas early, and treat them before they become a more serious issue.
How to Groom Your Dog at Home
The first step in the grooming process will be to have your tools and everything you may need ready and in place before you begin the process. This will go a long way in keeping things going smoothly and keeping your pet calm.
Speak to your dog in warm, calm tones and allow him or her to safely sniff and explore clippers, brushes and other tools. Wait until your dog is calm to begin grooming, and have treats handy to reward good behavior. The key to a successful grooming session is staying positive, calm and patient.
Give Your Dog a Thorough Bath
Remove dirt and debris from your dog’s coat and keep their skin healthy by giving him a nice, soapy bath. This aspect of grooming comes with the caveat that bathing your dog too frequently can damage hair follicles, increase the risk of fungal or bacterial infections and cause skin irritation.
Your dog’s specific bathing schedule will be determined by how dirty he gets, and which type of fur he has. That said, bathing him one to three times a month with warm water and a shampoo specially formulated for dogs should be sufficient (your own shampoo may cause skin irritation). If needed you may also use conditioners formulated specifically for pet use.
If you find your dog is nervous around water, start slowly. Try standing him in a dry bathtub and offering a treat for good behavior. From here, gradually progress to having him stand in a dry bath as you clean him with a wet sponge. Incrementally move towards giving your dog a full bath as he stands in water.
Dog and cat bathing can be an adventurous experience but it is a necessary part of the routine. Just remember that you should take your time and try to keep your pet relaxed during the cat and dog bathing process to help it go as smoothly as possible.
Brush Your Dog Fur Often
You may find that your dog loves being brushed. If so, one of the hardest parts of your work is done. For most breeds, regular weekly brushing will help remove dead hair from your dog’s coat, preventing skin irritation and matting. Bonus: This will also help to reduce the amount of fur your dog sheds around the house.
Any dog that is very active or spends a large amount of time outdoors should be brushed more frequently. You may only need to brush your short-haired pup once a month.
Trim Your Dog's Nails
Did you know that there are nail clippers specially designed for dogs? Along with shampoo and conditioner, pick up one of these and start to trim your dog’s nails when he’s young - this will help you learn to be more confident and your dog will probably tolerate having his nails clipped as he ages.
If your dog doesn’t like having his paws touched, work up to nail trimming by gently stroking his feet while he gets used to the feeling. Once you find your dog tolerates having his feet touched, start by trimming a single nail. As he becomes less anxious and learns good grooming manners, reward good behavior by offering treats and praise.
Take nail trimming slow to start, even if this means only clipping one nail during each attempt. If you’re not comfortable trimming your dog’s nails yourself (or if your dog isn’t able to tolerate it), consider hiring a qualified professional to do it.
Keep Your Dog's Hair Trimmed As Needed
The hair trim that your dog needs will ultimately depend on their breed. After all, different breeds have different lengths of fur. Talk to your vet or a professional groomer to learn exactly how often your dog should get a haircut - or if at all - and how best to do it.
Begin at-home haircuts by using good quality dog shampoo to bathe your dog, then towel dry and brush her. With sharp scissors, trim the fur around her face and feet. Use electric clippers on the rest of her body.
If your dog is fidgety or anxious, or if you’d prefer to avoid the mess of cutting your dog’s hair yourself, you may want to take your dog to a professional groomer.
At Badger Veterinary Hospital - Janesville, we love helping to keep your pets looking and feeling clean, healthy and neat - whether you need a mid-winter pampering session or a trim to help him or her stay cool and comfortable in the summer heat.
Plus, we have all the tools necessary and are trained to keep even anxious dogs relaxed throughout the grooming process.
How to Groom a Dog That Is Anxious
Grooming may not seem like much but it is a very important part of keeping your dog healthy. Excessively long nails, matted fur and goopy ears can lead to serious health issues if left unattended.
From bathing, brushing and ear cleaning to nail trimming, you may quickly start to dread grooming if your dog is nervous or anxious about the grooming process.
Here are just a few tips that may help your dog relax and enjoy the grooming process:
- Ensure your dog gets lots of exercise before you start to groom him or her.
- Positive reinforcement works wonders. Offer treats for good behavior.
- Dog parents know their dogs love to be pet, so keep this in mind when you bathe your pup. Dole out the pats and hugs throughout the grooming session to let your pup know that everything is okay and that they don’t need to be afraid.
- Is your dog very nervous? You may want to think about using a calming dog pheromone diffuser to bathe your room in a non-sedative, odorless and synthetic hormone to help your dog relax. Speak to your vet to learn more.
- Dab a calming aromatherapy oil (such as lavender oil) on your fingers as you pet your dog and run your hands through their fur while you bathe them.
When combined with regular exercise and annual examinations including vaccines and parasite prevention, basic grooming will help you keep your dog looking and feeling their very best.
What to Expect When Bringing Your Dog to a Professional Groomer
While many pets and their owners find grooming time to be a great way to spend time together, for some pet parents it is difficult to find the time and they just don't have the right tools for the job. That's where professional pet grooming comes in!
Professional groomers have the tools, products and skills to deal with all sorts of different breeds, coat styles, and temperaments. These trained professionals can spot skin problems early and suggest cost-effective treatments.
Not only that, but professional groomers are also trained to handle the 'yucky' tasks that pet parents dread such as ear cleaning, nail clipping and anal gland expression.
If your dog is a breed that is known for a specific haircut, a professional groomer will be able to make your pet the envy of all their friends with breed-specific cuts that are bound to impress the judges.
Professional Dog Grooming in Southern Wisconsin
At our Janesville location, experienced groomers Cassie Howard, Bailey McKearn and Mattie Escobedo are here to keep our patients fresh and sleek. From haircuts to help your fluffy friend manage the summer heat, to flea control treatments, shampoos, and nail trims, our grooming services include everything your pet needs to stay clean, healthy, and as adorable as ever!
Our professional pet grooming services help to keep pets looking and feeling neat, clean, and healthy – while saving you both time and energy.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.