Grooming your Dog at Home

March 5, 2010

Grooming your Dog at Home

As winter drags on your furry friend may be getting a little smelly. You’d like to snuggle up, but that doggy smell is just a bit overwhelming.  Time to make a grooming appointment, right?  Not necessarily. While some long haired breeds require a professional groomer, with a few preventative steps, your trips to the doggy spa can be reduced.  A pet sitting company such as Fetch! Pet Care will bathe your dog at home for a small fee.  Your pet dog remains at home and you save money.  Or, you can do it yourself by using the following tips. They can be applied to both long and short haired breeds to help keep your dog clean, good looking and cuddle-ready. 

1)      Shampoo.  Choose a quality shampoo made specifically for dogs.  While it may seem cheaper, never use human shampoo or conditioner on your dog.  Human shampoo is pH balanced for people and too harsh for dogs.

2)      Brushes. Invest in a good deshedding tool.  The most popular is the Furminator  brand.  A slicker brush is also a good investment.  Consider a grooming glove if you have a smooth coated breed. If your dog is long haired, brush him regularly paying special attention to his underside and underarm area where matting tends to happen.  Many groomers charge extra for dematting, not to mention the stress caused by the removal process.  Brushing also helps spread the natural oils, keeping the coat and skin in good shape. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with your dog. When bathing your dog at home, you must brush her out completely before her hair has a chance to dry.  This is the best way to avoid matting and greatly reduces shedding.  Consult your groomer or vet for advice on the best brush for your particular breed.

3)      Nail trimmers.  There are a number of good products on the market, some of which will even help you identify where the quick or vein is within the nail. Learning to trim your dog’s nails is probably the number one way to save money, although pet owners are often insecure about this routine task. With light colored nails, you should be able to see the sensitive quick. Darker nails can more tricky, but with practice and regular attention, the job gets easier.  Have a jar of “Kwik Stop” or any styptic product handy just in case you trim too far back.

4)      Tooth Brush. Yes, your dog can use a gentle tooth brushing now and then.  Choose a soft bristle brush or finger brush and dog-specific toothpaste. They come in a variety of pet-pleasing flavors including liver, beef, and poultry. Again, human products are not appropriate and may be harmful to your pet. Even brushing without toothpaste is better than nothing at all. Your friends will thank you.

5)      Water supply.  Decide where you are going to bathe Fido.  Outside is fine so long as the temperatures are comfortable, but make sure your pet dog can’t get away from you.  In the winter, try the shower stall, bathtub with a spray attachment or even the kitchen sink if you have a small breed.

6)      Drying.  Old towels and a hair dryer set on low is all that’s required.  Of course, if the weather is warm, just let Mother Nature do the job! 

Finally, remember that there are pet service providers such as Fetch! Pet Care who will bathe your dog in your home for a small fee. Compared to the time and money invested in a trip to the groomer, the convenience of having someone come to your home is quite a bargain.  Consult your vet or groomer if you have breed specific questions and shop at a reputable pet store such as Petco.

This article was written by Phyllis Durborow, owner of Fetch! Pet Care of North Indy.  Phyllis can be reached at 317-644-1465.  Fetch! Pet Care is the largest national pet care company in the United States; serving 38 states in more than 2,000 cities and towns.

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