Grooming your dog is not just about his looks and accentuating his big brown eyes. Grooming is also about ensuring your pup is healthy and well and yet many don’t actually know what grooming consists of and what they need to do for Rover.
If you look at your dog – and I mean it actually look at your dog – what do you see? Your dog may have a soft silky coat, eyes hidden behind dreadlocks, tight tuck up, short tail/long tail etc. Point is, every dog breed and every dog is different. Feeding requirements are different, exercise requirements can differ and health and grooming requirements are different.
But you know how much to feed your dog, right? And you certainly know when he needs a break from running beside your bike, yeh? And that’s awesome! Because despite the differences between dogs, you can still look at your dog and just know when he needs something. Unfortunately, grooming seems to be that 1 area that people struggle with so here’s a few things you can do to keep an eye out for possible issues and to maintain your dogs coat.
Why is it so important?
This question could result in a super long list of things that could go wrong when your not grooming or not properly grooming your dog, but you don’t need to know the veterinary answer for why it’s important. Here’s the short answer.
Grooming your dog enables you to check your dog over for any abnormalities as well as the fact that brushing distributes the natural oils through the coat just like our scalp and hair. Abnormalities could include: fleas, skin conditions, rotting teeth, ear infections and inflammation.
How do i check my little shnooky wooky over! (Alright got a little excited on the title there!)
- Every day you should be patting your dog and feeling all over to check for lumps and bumps.
Tip: To check your dogs paw pads, sit next to your dog facing the same way, hold your dogs paw that’s closest to you and tilt it up so you can look. Try not to lift it too high off the ground and then using your thumb you can push or squeeze (gently) in the center of the paw pad (metacarpal). This will expose the inner most part of the paw for your inspection.
- Your dog’s nails should be just off the ground when standing squarely. If they are curling, they need a trim. If your not comfortable or sure how to do this – don’t because you can cause your dog some pain and bleeding if you cut them too short.
- Keep an eye on your dogs nose for debris and whether or not it’s wet or dry. Dry is not always bad, give your dog a drink and check back a little later. On a hot day they may just be dehydrated.
- If your dog has big bright eyes with no discharge that is a good thing. If your dog’s eyes are leaking, discolored or seem sore – that is not good!
- Take a look at your dogs teeth and mouth. Nice salmon pink gums and clean teeth are what your looking for here. If you don’t brush your dogs teeth expect to see some left overs and plaque. Teeth cleaning is becoming more and more common these day’s but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving your dog a large bone every now and again or some Greenies to remove the plaque.
- Have a look in your dogs ears, smelly ears is not a good sign, a little bit of brown dirt is ok. You can wipe this out with a tissue wrapped around your finger and some ear cleaner.
Tip: some people will recommend ear buds as they’re more precise but I find that their shape is uncomfortable for many dogs. If you aren’t comfortable using your finger because dog ear gunk is gross!… Wrap the end of the ear bud with a tissue to make it thicker and more comfortable.
- Spread a part some of your dogs hair on different parts of his body to take a good look at his skin, this is a lot easier on dogs with long hair but as long as you can see the skin it’s fine. Again your looking for abnormalities, redness, swelling, scratches etc.
If I’ve missed anything please feel free to comment. And please don’t read this thinking “OH My G**! As if I’m going to do all of that!” – I tend to over explain some things in fear I will be misinterpreted and cause someone or somepup pain! Have a read through and try to commit the important bits to memory.
ANYTHING ABNORMAL FOR YOUR DOG IS WORTH CHECKING!
I didn’t write how often you should check because I think it’s best to always have these things in mind. The sooner you spot an abnormality the easier it is to fix.
So there you have it. Groom your dog for health and looks. Check your dog over daily and learn whats normal and what’s not for Sally Winkles sake! (again I got excited with the pet names… please forgive me.)