Welcome to the third and final part of this mini COVID-19 series! This week I will be writing about how to groom your dog at home during lockdown. Although dog grooming is classed as essential work groomers can only accept a dog if it needs to be groomed for its welfare. So, I will include how to clean your dogs teeth, cut their nails, clean their ears and maintain their coat.
You should be cleaning your dogs teeth at least two times a week but preferably more. Cleaning a dogs teeth is very similar to cleaning your own teeth. You will just need specific dog safe tooth paste and a suitable sized dog tooth brush (the smaller the dog the smaller the tooth brush). There are many different types of dog toothbrush from silicone finger toothbrushes to double headed toothbrushes. The tooth brush you decide on is really down to preference and what you find easiest to use. If your dog hasn’t had its teeth cleaned before you will need to slowly get it used to the toothbrush. This is to avoid making having their teeth cleaned a negative experience and they will let you do it again.
You should clip or file your dogs claws every 3 to 4 weeks depending on how much your dog wears its nails down naturally on walks. This can be done using dog nail clippers, a dremel or a normal nail file. If your dog has pale claws it will be easy to judge how much nail to take off. This is because you can see the quick (pink vein in dogs nail). However, if you have a dog with darker claws you can’t see the quick. So, you should just trim off little bits of the nail at a time. (Until you can see a small white dot on the end of the nail, this means you are close to the quick). It is also worth having styptic powder at home for when you trim your dogs nails. This will stop the quick from bleeding if you accidentally cut it.
The type of ear your dog has will determine how often their ears should be cleaned. For example, dogs with droopy ears will need their ears cleaning more regularly than a dog with pointy ears. This is because the ear flap reduces air flow to the ear canal. So, there is no rule of thumb as to how often to clean a dogs ears. Because, its very dependent on the dog itself. But be careful as cleaning your dogs ears too often can also cause problems. To clean your dogs ears you will need some damp cotton wool, a dog specific ear cleaner and a towel. First wipe around the entrance of the ear with the damp cotton wool. Then squeeze some ear cleaner into the ear canal and massage the ear. Finally wipe away and excess wax and ear cleaner from the entrance of the ear and repeat with the other ear.
This one is really simple! Either bath your dog at least every 3 months or whenever they are stinky or dirty. But avoid bathing your dog more than once a week because this will dry out their skin and cause irritation. Finally make sure you use a dog specific shampoo and a no tears, gentle dog shampoo for the head.
Again, this one is very dependant on the type of coat your dog has. A dog with a coat like a Labrador will need virtually no brushing but a long coat will need very regular brushing. The most important part of brushing is making sure your dog has no knots as they can develop into mats. Mats are very painful because they pull on the dogs skin and usually have to be cut or shaved out. Research your dogs breed or type of coat to find out how often they will need brushing and the best types of brush to use.
You could also trim your dogs coat at home but if you do this make sure you research how to do this for the type of coat your dog has. This is very important because for example shaving a golden retriever all over will cause more harm than good as it will make them overheat. If you are not 100% comfortable trimming your dogs coat at home don’t do it! Just make sure you stay on top of brushing to prevent mats. Also as I mentioned above groomers are classed as essential so if your dog needs to be trimmed for its welfare you can still bring it to a groomer.