Whether you just got a new dog and you need to give it a bath but aren’t sure what products to buy, or you’re trying to save some money and do the grooming at home, DIY grooming and bath care for your dog is easier than you might think, but may involve a few things you hadn’t thought of. From nose to tail, let’s go over the things you’ll need to clean, clip, and comb to ensure your dog is looking and feeling great.
Just like humans, dogs need their ears cleaned on a regular basis to stave off things like ear mites, dirt, and other debris. If your dog is shaking his head a lot, it’s probably time for a cleaning. Some dogs need this more often than others, but it’s pretty easy regardless. Use a dog-approved ear wash and a soft cloth or cotton ball, first squeeze the wash into their ear, then massage the ear to loosen any dirt. Then, wipe out the debris with the cotton ball or cloth. Make sure to leave the dog’s ear dry at the end of the washing, then give your dog a treat for good cooperation.
Brushing a dog’s teeth is admittedly not the easiest task, but slip-on toothbrushes that fit over your fingertip make it easier. Again, use a dog-safe toothpaste—they sometimes come in flavors like beef or liver to be more appetizing to the dog—then brush the teeth and gums, just as you would human teeth. Ideally you’d do this every day, but if that’s too much, you can skip to every other day or once a week. Try to do it on a regular basis, though, to keep your dog’s mouth healthy for life.
Brushing and washing are also important. If your dog has a thick or double coat, using a Furminator brush can eliminate some of their shedding (as well as some of your sweeping!). Choose a dog-safe shampoo (ones made for people can be too harsh or drying) that corresponds with your dog’s fur and skin. For instance, if your dog has dry or itchy skin, use an oatmeal shampoo. Get the dog’s coat wet with warm (not hot) water, then turn off the faucet and lather the shampoo into their hair and coat. Pay careful attention to avoid ears and eyes, and remember to rinse thoroughly. How often you need to give your dog a bath will depend on how dirty your dog is (if he likes to roll in the mud at the park, for example, you’ll need to wash him more than you would a couch-potato dog).
Nails might be the toughest part of your grooming routine, since many dogs don’t like their feet touched, and even for ones who do, clipping nails can be hard if they have dark colored nails. Be careful not to trim the nails too short, as this can cause bleeding, since the vein, or quick, grows in through each nail. If you’re nervous to do this, you can always bring your pup to a groomer for just a nail trim or use a file (electric or manual). One thing’s for sure though—if you hear your dog’s nails click-clacking on the ground, it’s time for a trim!