We all know that our dogs love to explore when they’re out on their walks so it's no surprise just how mucky they can get. Keeping your dog’s coat clean will not only help your dog look and feel their best, but daily brushing and grooming sessions help you to spot problems with your dog’s nails, ears, and eyes which could otherwise go unnoticed.
The frequency and how long a groom will take all depends on the breed of dog and their type of coat. Long-haired breeds such as the Lhasa Apso require daily grooming to prevent knots and tangles from forming in their fur. Double-coated breeds such as the Golden Retriever not only need their coats brushed thoroughly to prevent knots but they also shed a lot. Routine grooming sessions can lessen shedding by removing the excess fur from the undercoat. You may think that short-haired breeds don’t need grooming, however, it is still important to brush through the coat weekly to help remove excess dead fur and to distribute the natural oils in the coat which will keep the skin healthy.
To make bath time a little easier, make sure you have all you need to hand namely; dog shampoo and conditioner, brushes, towels and wipes. It is important that you use shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for dogs as the pH of their skin is very different to that of a human’s.
Bathing your dog, again, depends on what breed you have and their type of coat. It is usually recommended not to bathe your dog too often as this will strip their skin of naturally occurring oils which will cause dryness and irritation. This is especially important for puppies as their skin is even more delicate due to their immature immune system, much like that of a newborn baby. Of course, if your dog enjoys jumping in muddy puddles or rolling in the many stinky smells of the countryside, you may want to bathe them more frequently.
It's a good idea to give your dog a thorough brushing before bathing as any knots will hold water and tighten, making removal more difficult. Use lukewarm water to soak the coat and then apply your dog shampoo, making sure to work up a good lather and massage deeply to the roots of the fur. Rinse, and then repeat with a dog conditioner to get that coat shiny. Make sure to dry your dog with a towel. Do not use a human hair dryer to dry your dog’s coat as these are too hot for the skin.
To keep your dog’s face, nose and the area around the eyes clean, it is best to use wipes. Dog wipes will help to remove any dirt or debris without using shampoo which would otherwise irritate these delicate areas. Make sure to check your dog’s ears for any build-up of wax. This is very common in breeds that have floppy ears such as Spaniels or dogs that have curly fur like the Poodle. Excess wax and fur in the ears can lead to infections as this warm environment is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. If your dog’s ears look red or if your dog is constantly shaking their head, take them to a vet to get them checked.
Checking your dog’s paws after a long walk is a good way to keep their feet free from foreign objects such as gravel, grass seeds and glass which will all cause discomfort and even infections if they begin to cut into the skin. Nail care is also vital, overgrown nails are very painful to walk on as are snapped or torn nails.