Just like we keep our own bodies washed, hair combed, and teeth brushed, our canine kids need regular physical maintenance too. Sure, some breeds require more grooming than others. But there are a few grooming essentials that should be added to every dog’s regular routine.
1) Hair Brushing
Regular hair brushing with either a dog brush or comb will help to keep your pup’s coat shiny and healthy. A few benefits: It prevents tangles, spreads natural oils, helps remove dirt, allows for a flea/tick check. So how often do you have to brush your dog? Well, it depends!
Long-haired and medium-haired dogs may require daily brushing to prevent mats. In addition to stocking up on a traditional dog brush and comb, you may want to look into a specific mat comb.
While short-haired dogs can go a few weeks in-between brushing sessions, my short-haired Chihuahua is a big shedder. So I run this de-shedding brush through his hair several times a week. I notice a huge difference in the feel of his coat, along with how many loose hairs are lying around my furniture and carpet.
2) Teeth Brushing
Brushing your dog’s teeth should become part of your daily routine. Unfortunately, more than 70 percent of dogs and cats will suffer from periodontal disease (AKA gum disease) by the time they’re just two years old. Unless you take action early on, your dog’s teeth will just worsen with age. Click here to find out how poor dental health can impact your pup’s overall health and well-being.
3) Ear Cleaning
Is your dog constantly scratching the side of his head? Do you ever notice an odor coming from your pup’s ears? Are they filled with unwanted wax? While all dog breeds should have their ears inspected regularly for signs of wax buildup or infections, some are more susceptible to infection than others. More specifically: dogs with floppy ears. That’s because their enclosed ear canal creates a perfect moist environment for bacterial and yeast growth.
4) Face Cleaning
Some dogs are extremely susceptible to tear stains. Those are the rust-colored and sometimes stinky stains you find running down a dog’s snout. I wrote an entire blog post highlighting causes, treatment, and prevention tips, which you can check out here. One tip I will mention here—keep your dog’s face clean and dry. While there are tear stain removing pads, simply washing and diluting your fur kid’s tears once or twice a day with plain warm water on a soft washcloth can work wonders.
5) Nail Clipping
If you hear your dog’s nails tapping on the floor when he/she walks then it’s definitely time to grab the clippers and trim those nails. When a dog’s nails tap on hard surfaces, it pushes their nails back up into their nail beds, which can be extremely painful. Not only can it put pressure on the toe joints, it could also force the toe to twist to the side, resulting in soreness or even arthritis. Most dogs can go about a month in between nail trims (this will vary depending on your dog’s lifestyle).
Bath time may not be fun for your dog, but it’s extremely important to keep your pooch clean! How often your dog needs to take the plunge depends on the hair/fur type, lifestyle, and shampoo. All of my groomers have recommended bathing every 3-4 weeks. Make sure you use a special dog-approved shampoo. *Read my interview with a professional groomer/dog shampoo developer for tips on picking the best dog shampoo.
If you have a dog whose hair grows like a weed (like a Poodle or Shih Tzu), you’ll need to cut their hair every few weeks. Depending on the breed and hair style, your pooch may require a clip every 2-4 weeks. While many dog parents enlist the help of a professional groomer for haircuts, you can certainly invest in your own clippers/ dog scissors and learn to do this yourself. My mother actually has all of the required tools and I recently started booking home appointments with her for my little toy Poodle, Gigi. Here are the clippers that we use to shave her body and face (we have a few extra blades, but these are two tools that we love):
Note: With a corded clipper the blades can get very hot, so a bottle of clipper cool is good to keep nearby. Not only will it cool the blade, but it will also disinfect, lubricate, and clean it.
This cordless clipper comes with 2 batteries—we love that there is always an extra charged one ready to go. It’s much lighter and we like it better for smaller dogs, toy dogs, faces, and those personal areas.