It is important that the grooming area is warm and distraction-free. Grooming your pet can be a pleasurable experience for both you and your pet! Speak to your pet in loving and reassuring tones as you proceed.
Place a light-colored towel on a table for your pet to stand on. This will prevent slipping and allow for inspection for fleas, flea dirt, dandruff, etc.
Brush or comb thoroughly down to the skin and carefully use a flea comb around the face. Remove any tangles, loose hair, debris or dead skin (example - you must vacuum a carpet before you shampoo it). Now brush the entire coat against the natural lay of the coat. This is the ideal time to inspect for fleas and skin problems. Brush or comb the coat back to it's natural direction. It is very important to remember that all mats and tangles must be removed before bathing - wetting them makes them worse by tightening and shrinking the knots!
Clean the ears. This should be done before bathing in order to bathe away the resultant ear discharge.
Inspect and remove the towel.
Rinse/soak with lukewarm water, thoroughly flushing the coat and skin. It is important to wet the entire body to aid soaking and to avoid prolonging your pet's anticipation of what is to come.
Read the label, manufacturer directions can be critical to the product's performance (example - "shake well before using").
Dilute the shampoo. Commonly pet owners will pour a quantity of shampoo on the pet's back and then attempt to lather the entire animal from this starting point. This method leaves too much shampoo on the back, which is one of the least dirty areas, and does not permit enough shampoo to reach the really dirty areas of the head, tail and underbelly (example - you wouldn't wash your car by pouring soap on the roof and then try to work the suds down to the dirty wheel areas!).
Using a tearless shampoo, begin shampooing with the head (never get any shampoo in the eyes or ears). It is important to thoroughly clean the head and mouth area as this is an especially dirty area. Continue with the tearless shampoo to the base of the neck, then use the shampoo of choice from the neck working towards the tail, paying special attention to the dirtiest areas of the tail area, legs, foot pads and underbelly. It is also helpful to use a curry brush or sponge when bathing your pet in order to better distribute the shampoo and to more effectively loosen and remove debris, dead skin and loose hair.
Allow the shampoo to soak - up to 15 minutes for heavy flea and tick infestations or especially dirty coats (example - soaking dirty pots and pans greatly enhances cleaning). Rinse and repeat if necessary. It is important to note that two applications of shampoo are always more effective than one. The first application loosens the dirt, residue and oils - the second application completes the process and allows the shampoo ingredients to more effectively treat the skin and coat as intended due to the clean and hydrated environment.
Rinse, rinse, rinse! It is important to rinse away the dead skin, dirt, fleas and oils that the shampoo has loosened, and to remove any remaining shampoo residue. When rinsing it is helpful to place your thumb over the ear canal to prevent water entry, and to place your hand over the eyes to protect them from the direct force of the water.
Apply cream rinse if indicated, then rinse, rinse, rinse!
Squeeze out the water and towel dry, beginning at the head and ending at the paws.
Apply secondary products such as remoisturizing spray or flea spray. This is the perfect time - research has shown that the application of a spray immediately after bathing, while the coat and skin are still in a hydrated state, greatly enhances it's desired effect.
Finish drying, then brush or comb. Do not allow your pet outside until he is completely dry.
How often should I groom my dog?
- The amount of time spent brushing and grooming a dogs coat generally depends on the breeds coat type. Even if your dog requires little brushing, it is a good idea to start brushing as a puppy to get them used to it.
- Thick, double coated dogs need daily brushing and removal of dead undercoat. These breeds include Rough Collies, Samoyed's, Old English Sheep Dogs and Shih Tzu's. Recommended brush type; undercoat rake.
- Silky coated dogs need to be brushed out daily to prevent knots and tangles. These breeds include Yorkshire Terriers and Cavalier King Charles. Recommended brush type; comb or slicker.
- Short haired dogs are low maintenance but should be brushed every week to remove dead hair and leave a glossy coat. These breeds include Boxers, Labradors and Doberman Pinchers. Recommended brush type; bodybrush.
- Wiry coated dogs are best hand-stripped to maintain the correct coat but many owners of breeds in this category opt for clipping as it is less time consuming. Recommended brush type; slicker or stripping comb.
- Clipped dogs such as the West Highland White and Scottish Terrier should be brushed in between grooms regularly to prevent getting the hair matted. Recommended brush type; slicker or a comb.
- Woolly coated dogs need grooming frequently with brushing every few days to prevent their naturally curly coats knotting. These breeds include Poodles and Bichons. Recommended brush type; slicker.
Grooming is an important part of caring for your dog and promotes bonding between you and your pet. It also gives you a chance to inspect your dog's skin and check for any health problems.
Should I wash my dog and how often?
If an adult dog has healthy skin wash him approximately once a month or more frequently if he gets really dirty. Wash pups from 8 weeks as few shampoos are suitable for younger pups. If a dog has a skin problem your own veterinary surgeon should be asked to advise you on your dog's specific problem. NEVER use human shampoo on dogs. Human shampoo has a pH of 5.5 and dog shampoos have a pH of 7, therefore using a human shampoo that is more acidic than dog shampoo can lead to skin and coat problems.
- Use a White Coat Shampoo to bring up a more brilliant white in white dog coats.
- Use a Dark Coat Shampoo to bring up a more brilliant dark coat in dark dog coats.
- Oatmeal Shampoo if the skin underneath the coat needs a little soothing.
- Tea tree Shampoo is very versatile and can be used very regularly.
- Citrus Shampoo is great for flea bites.
- Puppy Tearless Shampoo is great for washing faces even of adult dogs.
Why has my dog brown stains around his eyes and what can I do to remove this?
Brown staining around a dog's eyes is generally due to tear overflow. In this case your own veterinary surgeon will assess your dog to make sure that his eyes are healthy. If the veterinary surgeon is happy that the tear overflow is uncomplicated you can use ear/tear wipes daily to prevent staining in white dogs or wash faces with puppy tearless shampoo. To keep eyes healthy remove debris from the corner of the eyes daily using cotton wool soaked in warm water.
Should I clean my dog's ears?
Ear care is important, especially in certain breeds such as Spaniels and Cavaliers who are prone to infection. To clean the ears, put a few drops of dog ear cleaner down the ear and gently massage the base of the ear. Wipe out any wax or dirt with a piece of cotton wool. Trimming the inside of the ears and plucking the hair keeps the ears clean and helps to reduce ear infections.
Do dog’s teeth need brushing?
Dog’s teeth should be brushed daily with dog toothpaste and a soft brush to prevent tartar build up. It is best to develop this routine when the dog is a puppy. Professional cleaning of dog’s teeth by a veterinary surgeon is very often necessary especially in middle aged and older dogs to prevent periodontal disease and tooth loss. It is recommended to use toothbrushes, finger brushes, toothpaste and a oral hygiene gel.
How often should I get my dog’s nails cut?
Nail growth is unique to individual dogs. Young active dogs tend to wear down their nails down on pavement or road surfaces, whereas older or inactive dogs nails will need clipping frequently. Dew claws which are the 5th digit on the inside of front paws and often hind paws are generally not worn down naturally and therefore must be trimmed to prevent them curling into the dogs pads.
Why is my Cavalier dragging his bottom on the ground?
There are two anal glands either side of the anus that fill like two little balloons putting pressure on the rectum giving the dog a pinching type sensation in his bun. In an attempt to relieve this sensation dogs scoot their buns along the floor or lick at their buns. This behavior is often confused by owners as a sign of having worms. These glands actually require emptying manually with a gloved hand. Occasionally these glands may become infected and in that case require veterinary attention. Any breed can have troublesome anal glands but small breeds tend to present themselves for treatment more often.