Grooming your dog
Grooming is an important part of having a dog as it is one of your dog's basic needs. The method in which you groom your dog largely depends on the breed and fur type. You will need to do your research to find out how much grooming your dog requires and its frequency. If your dog has a skin, nail or ear condition, you should follow your veterinarian's instructions on how to properly treat it.
Most dogs will do just fine being bathed once a month. If you wish to bathe your dog more regularly, that is fine as well. Ensure that you use a soap-free shampoo that is designed especially for dogs. As much as possible, try not to get water into your dog's ears as this may cause infections. If water does enter the ear, remove it gently with a cotton ball. Always dry off your dog completely after a shower.
Some dogs have continually growing hair, like Poodles or Shih Tzus. These dogs will need to be sent for professional grooming every 2-4 weeks. Do not try to use professional grooming tools on your dog if you are not trained to do so. You may end up seriously injuring your dog.
Brushing your dog's fur is essential if you want him to have a shiny tangle free coat. Make sure you select the right type of brush for your dog's fur type. Wire-pin brushes and slicker brushes work great for medium to long-haired dogs. Rakes and mat breakers are good brushing out severe mats and tangles. If your dog has a double coat, you should get a shedding tool, which has special teeth that removes excess hair. Bristle brushes work well for all hair types and come in varying bristle types to suit your dog. You may also want to purchase a flea comb. This will help you to detect fleas in your dog's hair.
Long-haired dogs will require daily brushing to prevent matting and tangling of the fur. Medium-haired dogs will need weekly brushing and short-haired dogs require brushing once a month. Frequent brushing prevents excess shedding and fur build up. Regardless of their breed, most dogs enjoy having their hair brushed so you can do so as frequently as you like and take this opportunity to bond with your pet.
Check your dog's ears regularly to look out for signs of ear infections. Your dog's ear should be light pink, with no odour. Small specks of yellowish-brown wax are normal but there should not be any heavy wax build up. If there is an odour coming from your dog's ear, it is very likely that your dog has an ear infection. Ear infections can be painful, itchy and uncomfortable for your dog so it is best to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to prescribe medication to cure the infection and tell you how to prevent it from occurring again.
If your dog's ears are clean and show no sign of infection, simply use a cotton ball to wipe away any loose specks gently. If there is heavy wax build up, you should use an ear cleaning solution formulated for dogs. Place your dog in your lap or on a table and calm him down. Lift his ear and fold it back gently. If there are tufts of hair that are growing on the inside of the ear, you should remove this hair using tweezers. Remove as few as possible each time, so you do not hurt your dog. Start dripping the ear solution in your dog's ear. Do not squeeze too hard on the bottle, as this will cause the liquid to squirt out quickly and damage your dog's delicate inner ear. Once you have put the ear cleaning solution in your dog's ear, massage the base of the ear for a minute. Once you stop, your dog will try to shake the solution of its ear and any debris inside the ear will fly out.
Your dog's ears can be a breeding ground for yeast, ear mites and infections if you do not clean them regularly, so clean your dog's ears weekly.
It is essential for every dog owner to learn how to trim their dog's nails correctly. Ask your veterinarian or your dog groomer to show you how it's done. That way, you will feel more confident when you trim your dog's nails and the risk of you unintentionally hurting your dog will be reduced. Most dogs will need to have their nails trimmed monthly, depending on their breed. You can also use a rotary tool to file down your dog's nails instead of trimming them.