Grooming is vital. It keeps your dog’s coat clean, healthy, and tangle free, It also allows you to inspect, eyes, ears and teeth Grooming will strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
Preparing To Groom
You will need enough time to complete all stages of the grooming process.
Assemble all your tools which will include brushes and associated items: A stiff brush for initial grooming, a softer brush for finishing, a pin brush (a small steel wire brush with a small bead at the end of each wire bristle), an undercoat rake for dogs with thick coats and also nail clippers.
It may help you to hold your dog if you place a collar on the dog. If you bath your dog after grooming, you should use a washable collar.
If you are carrying out the grooming inside your home, use a ground sheet to work on.
Before grooming it is a good idea to exercise your dog to work off surplus energy.
The Grooming Process
Using a stiff brush or undercoat rake, start at the head (not the face) and work down the neck, chest and shoulders.
Continue working towards the hindquarters of your animal, grooming the back, underneath and each side then finally the hocks, tail and legs.
You need to change to a softer brush to work underneath your animal.
If you encounter matting of the hair do not just pull at it, especially with an undercoat rake. This will hurt your pet and damage it’s coat.
Next repeat the process with the soft brush but start, very gently, with the face. Be careful not to brush across the eyes. You can usually protect these with your other hand.
Complete grooming the rest of the body as described above for the stiff brush.
Now groom using the pin brush. Once again follow the same sequence to complete the grooming process.
At all times be gentle. If you have difficulty keeping your pet still it is best to get someone to help you by holding your animal.
Throughout the grooming process use lots of enthusiasm and praise with a little reward at the end of the session.
It is essential to remain calm whilst grooming. Most animals actually enjoy the experience, however, if you have a difficult animal being calm and avoiding any conflicts will make it easier to groom next time.
Additional Grooming Tasks
When grooming your dog also check the following:
Skin – Look for problems such as cuts and grazes, infected areas, parasites or infestations.
Eyes – Check that there is nothing lodged in the eye and that it is free of infection.
Ears – You will occasionally need to clean inside the ear flap. You should obtain a cleaning fluid from your vet and carefully apply it with a cotton bud. Do not poke about in the dog’s ear. If the ears need cleaning deeper down get your vet to do it the ears.
Teeth – Examine teeth to ensure they have not been damaged in any way and that the gums are healthy.
Paws– Examine paw pads for cuts, abrasions or thorns.
Nails –Examine nails (claws) to see if they need to be clipped due to growth You must not do this your self until you have been taught how to do it, you might damage the nail and cause bleeding.
Your vet will carry out the procedure and also show you how to do it.
Anal Glands (sacs) – You will not like this”. You will need to be shown how to carry out this procedure. You gently massage both anal glands situated just below the tail. This is to squeeze out excess fluid which can be a bit smelly.
In fact this may never be necessary for your dog or only very occasionally in which case the vet can do it for you when you make a routine visit to the vet.
After you have groomed your dog it is a good time to bath it. When you do this you will also need to change all your dog’s bedding including any additional cushion covers or blankets used for your dog.
Grooming results in a smart looking animal and it is a mini training session, as long as you stay calm and in control. The additional health checks you carry out at the same time help you to save on vet’s bills.
Donna Lee Dearjane is a dog groomer at an RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) She looks after the animals that are rescued and brought in to heal and recover.