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What You Should Know About Dog Grooming

What You Should Know About Dog Grooming

Keeping your pet clean is just another part of their basic care, but what does this entail exactly and how can a professional help? Our Arlington vets share some advice about dog grooming, what makes up basic grooming and how to ensure that their 'bathtime' goes off without a hitch.

What To Know About Grooming Your Dog

Dog Grooming Basics

As with other types of pet care, your dog's grooming needs will vary depending on their size, age and breed as well as any conditions they may live with. Dogs who spend large amounts of time outdoors, or with very long or thick coats will require more grooming than short hair dogs, or dogs that spend most of their time indoors. Either way, all dogs need grooming in order to keep them clean, comfortable and healthy.

Starting a regular grooming routine while your pet is young, whether at home or with professional dog groomers, is key to making grooming a calm and enjoyable activity for you and your dog.

Giving Your Dog a Bath

Giving your dog a bath is the easiest way to get them clean and to clear away any debris that can cause mats in their fur. Bathe your dog in warm (not hot) water and use a specially formulated dog shampoo to clean your dog's fur. Never use human shampoo on your canine pal since human formulations could cause your dog's skin to become dry and irritated. Rinse your dog thoroughly to ensure that all of the shampoo has been removed. If your dog has very long or difficult fur, use a dog-specific detangling conditioner to make brushing easier.

If you have a short-haired dog that doesn't spend much time getting dirty then you may be able to wait 3 months between baths. Dogs that have longer fur or that spend a lot of time playing outside and with other dogs may benefit from being washed on a monthly basis. If you're unsure of how often you should bathe your dog, once a month is a good rule of thumb.

Brushing Your Dog's Fur

Brushing is a favorite pastime of many dogs. Brushing your dog regularly helps to prevent matting, removes old hair from your dog’s coat, and may prevent skin irritation. Weekly brushing also allows you to monitor the health of your dog's skin and coat and may reduce the amount of loose fur floating around your home.

While brushing once a week can work well for some dogs, other breeds such as Portuguese Water Dogs or Bichon Frisé will need to be brushed more frequently to keep their coat looking great.

Nail Trimming For Dogs

All dogs need their nails trimmed on a regular basis. To trim your dog's nails use nail clippers specifically designed for dogs. Some dogs react better to rotary nail trimmers, but they do take a little longer to use.

If you are nervous about cutting your dog's nails, or if your dog won't tolerate you trimming their nails, make an appointment with a professional groomer. A trained groomer can get your dog's nails trimmed quickly and calmly so you won't have to worry.

Easy to Manage Haircuts

The breed of your dog will affect the frequency at which they need haircuts and the type of haircut needed as well. Speak to your Arlington vets to find out how often your dog should have a haircut.  

To give your dog a haircut, begin by bathing and towel-drying your canine friend. Next, take a pair of sharp scissors and trim the fur around your pet's face and feet. Finally, use electric clippers to trim the rest of your dog's fur. 

Professional groomers have all the tools to make haircuts for your dog quick and easy. If you'd like to leave your dog's haircut to the professionals, contact us for more information.

Cat Grooming Basics

Grooming a cat generally involves cleaning their fur, eyes, ears, and paws and trimming their nails.

Brushing Your Cat's Fur

Brushing your cat removes dirt, grease, skin flakes, and dead hair from the coat, and it helps to stimulate blood circulation and improve overall skin condition as well.

Brush your kitty once or twice a week with a metal comb (thick or thin teeth are both fine, whatever works best). You’ll find that these regular brushing sessions are particularly beneficial as your cat ages and can't groom as meticulously anymore.

Successfully Bathing a Cat

It's no secret that most cats hate water, and you'll be pleased to learn that most cats do not need to be bathed regularly. Cats can more or less take care of their grooming, and will only need help if they get particularly filthy, or get into something sticky.

Bathe your cat using special cat shampoo and warm, but not hot water. Keep in mind that there's a good chance your cat will not want to cooperate, so be sure to shut the bathroom door before you begin, and consider wearing gloves and long sleeves.

Caring For Your Cat's Nails and Paws

It’s important to regularly examine and clean your cat’s paws and make sure they’re wound-free and free of debris.

Trimming a cat's nails can reduce scratching, and mitigate the destruction of your soft furnishings. For cats that are unwilling to tolerate nail trimming, spending some time getting them used it their paws being touched (without trimming) can help.

Dog Grooming Tips For Anxious Pups

Grooming is a vital aspect of your dog’s well-being. 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.

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.

Do you need a little extra help with getting your dog clean? Contact our Arlington veterinary team today to learn about our dog grooming services.

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Crossroads Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Arlington companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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