Routine pet grooming not only promotes healthy coats, skin, ears, teeth and feet, but it’s also a great way to strengthen the relationship between you and your dog. So why not do it like the experts? Veterinary assistants groom dogs every day as part of their duties and most have gained a unique set of skills. Here are five key tips you can use to groom your dog like a pro.
- Unless they get dirty or start to smell, dogs don’t need to be bathed as often as you might think – once every two to four months is plenty. Use a canine formula shampoo that won’t strip away the natural oils from your dog’s coat, and be careful around the eyes, mouth and inside the ears. Rinse thoroughly to avoid dulling your dog's coat with shampoo residue.
- No matter how long your dog’s coat is, it’s important to regularly brush it to remove dead hair and skin while spreading natural oils. Whether you want to untangle matted hair or fluff your dog’s coat, different brushes have different purposes. Consider your dog’s pet grooming needs before shopping for tools.
While not all dogs like being brushed at first, most eventually learn to enjoy these bonding sessions – especially if rewarded with plenty of praise and treats.
- If you’ve ever had an ear infection, you know how miserable it can be. Cleaning the inside of your dog’s ears once a week helps prevent ear infections while also alerting you to other potential health issues, such as fleas and ticks or discharge.
Use a cotton ball and ear-cleaning solution to wipe your dog’s inner ear, but avoid putting anything smaller than your finger into the ear canal, as this can cause injury.
- Because of the way dogs’ nails grow, failure to trim them can not only cause your dog pain, but may even lead to broken toes. One sign your dog's nails are too long? You can hear the telltale clicking on the floor. Clip your dog’s nails every two weeks to keep them healthy while also preventing wear and tear on your floors.
- Dogs and humans share many of the same dental issues, including gum disease, tartar buildup and cavities. Brushing your dog’s teeth several times a week is not only an essential pet-grooming task but can also help prevent the need for anesthetized cleaning procedures at your veterinarian’s office.
Make your own dog-friendly toothpaste from a blend of baking soda and water, and gently clean the outside surface of your dog’s teeth using a piece of gauze. (Dogs use their tongues to clean the inside and top surfaces of their teeth.)
Pet groomers, veterinary assistants and veterinarians are helpful resources when it comes to understanding and meeting your dog’s grooming needs. Or, if you’d like a more hands-on learning approach and want a career that allows you to work with pets, consider enrolling in Penn Foster Career School’s pet grooming certificate program or our veterinary assistant career diploma program.