Dog grooming is an essential part of pet ownership, as regular grooming will ensure that your pet’s skin, coat and health remain in peak condition. You can take your pooch to a professional dog grooming salon or hire the services of a specialist dog groomer for these regular grooming sessions, or you can do the job yourself. Grooming a dog is not difficult once you learn the basics, and by grooming your own dog you will not only save lots of money, you will also develop a stronger bond with your pet. Learn how to groom a dog at home by following the step-by-step guidelines presented in this series of articles.
Dog Grooming: The Basics
Dog grooming typically consists of the following steps: brushing, bathing, trimming or clipping the coat (this step is optional and depends on the breed and type of coat), and nail trimming.
Regular brushing sessions will not only remove loose hair and prevent knots and matts from forming in the coat, but will also stimulate the follicles of the skin to release natural oils that are essential for keeping your dog’s coat in tip-top condition. Bathing your dog regularly will ensure that your dog is kept free from external parasites, such as ticks and fleas that can cause skin irritations, and as heavy flea infestations can also lead to intestinal worms, regular bathing and dipping will reduce the likelihood of internal parasitic infections too. Besides, dogs don’t enjoy being dirty and crawling with fleas, and a dirty, smelly, flea-ridden dog is not a pleasure to have around. So if you want to enjoy your pet’s company and be fair to your pooch, regular bathing is recommended. Depending on the type of coat your dog has and your personal preference, it may be necessary to trim or clip the coat at regular intervals to keep it looking respectable. Lastly, it is essential that you check your dogs nails regularly to see if they need trimming – long overgrown nails can snag on a branch while exercising outdoors or even on a rug indoors, and especially in the case of dew claws, this can cause a painful injury.
How often should you groom your dog?
Your grooming schedule will depend largely on the breed of dog you own and the type of coat it has. Some dogs, such as the short-coated breeds, require a lot less maintenance that others, and can get away with a less rigorous grooming routine. The time you have available may also dictate how often you are able to groom your dog. If you really don’t have time to groom your pet regularly, then you may need to consider paying a professional groomer to keep your pet looking and feeling good.
The following grooming schedule is a guideline, but can be adjusted to suit you and your pet’s needs:
- Brushing – If your dog has a long coat it should ideally be brushed every day or every other day; dogs with shorter coats can get away with being brushed weekly.
- Bathing – While regular bathing is recommended, frequent bathing is not. If you bath your dog too often, natural oils can be stripped from the skin, leaving the skin dry and the coat lusterless. The bathing schedule will depend entirely on whether your dog is in need of a bath or not. Your pet can be bathed weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or even bi-monthly depending on whether it is dirty or not, and whether parasites are a problem.
- Coat Trimming – how regularly to clip or trim your dog’s coat will depend largely on your personal preferences, the type of breed, and the condition of the coat. Some breeds just need to be tidied up from time to time, while others (e.g. poodles) should ideally be clipped every 4-8 weeks to keep them looking neat.
- Nail Trimming – make a point of checking your pet’s nails during the grooming sessions and trim off the tips when they appear to be getting long.
Follow the rest of the articles in this series for expert dog grooming tips and step-by-step instructions on how to groom a dog at home like a pro: