A dog is more than your protector, no matter how large or small he is. Strangely, people tend to think of canine protectors as large, ferocious beasts that will gobble up anything that threatens them. Well, it is true, to a certain extent.
Many breeds are trained watchdogs. The fact, however, is, most dogs just want to be your best pal. Strangely, the best protectors need not be these large, ‘ferocious’ beasts, but rather, the little lap dog that alerts you to trouble with its high, consistent, barking.
No matter the reason you bought your pet, the bottom line is he is your best four-footed pal and needs looking after. One of the ways you do so is seeing to his health and grooming needs.
Start grooming early
Your puppy needs getting used to touch from an early age. This means ‘handling’ him, even touching his paws and the delicate pads under them. Once comfortable with handling, go on to brushing him regularly. The aim is to acclimatize him to handling so that his first grooming experience at the doggy parlor is a pleasurable one.
Your puppy needs his first professional grooming session when he is no later than about sixteen weeks of age. This means after his second round of shots. Mistakes happen, and dogs can pick up illnesses at a doggy parlor. Make sure your dog is inoculated and thus immune before taking him the first time.
Acclimatizing your puppy
Besides touching and brushing, there are many more things that need doing to prepare him for what will happen at the grooming parlor.
Hair dryers tend to scare most dogs not used to them. Blow him with a hair dryer held a distance away. Do not keep it focused on one spot, however, but move it around. Even make a game out of it. He soon learns not to fear it, and perhaps to actually enjoy the sensation.
His nails will probably need clipping. Try tapping his nails gently with the back of a metal spoon, and do so regularly. He will learn that it is not going to harm him.
Remember the treats! Every time his actions are positive, give him a treat. Puppies, like children, like their reward for good behavior!
The benefits of grooming
Grooming is not only about your dog’s good looks. It is about his general health as well. Clipping his nails ensures they do not break or split and cause pain while cleaning his ears ensures no ear infections take a hold.
Brushing your dog’s coat not only gets rid of dead, loose hairs but stops heat spot developing and ensures the oils are evenly distributed.
Grooming is the time to check your dog’s skin condition, identify dry spots or rashes, and find those nasty ticks or fleas. This allows you to take immediate action and not spend tons of money at the veterinarian. Prevention, as they say, is better than the cure.
Dog grooming at the doggy parlor
First-time dog owners may be unsure as to what to expect from a doggy parlor. Anyone can groom a dog correctly, right?
Actually, no! Grooming a dog is not only about giving him the occasional brush and bath, especially when your dog has long fur. Keeping masses of fur in great condition needs a specialist’s touch, as does the correct cutting/clipping methods.
A dog groomer, using different equipment and techniques, works on a dog’s nails, ears, and fur, ensuring a ‘turned out’ dog free of any pesky fleas, that looks great, smells great, and is a pleasure to behold while feeling great at the same time.
In order to allow your pet to look his utmost best, the dog groomer puts your pet onto a grooming table. The fur is brushed, teeth cleaned, and nails clipped before you best pal goes for his bath.
Once bathed and thoroughly rinsed, he is dried and brushed, before the trimming takes place. The groomer uses a pair of scissors or hair clipper (or both), depending on the style.
Once the beautification process is completed, your dog is led into a cage suitable for his size where he relaxes, waiting for you to pick him up.
While your “Fido” relaxes, the groomer cleans the space and readies it for his next appointment.
What you can do to make the doggy parlor experience great
- Preparation – make sure your dog is used to handling by strangers.
- Start early – the younger he gets used to grooming, the easier the job.
- Regular grooming – regular grooming ensures your dog looks and stays in great condition with less matted fur to take care of.
- Brush him at home – the more you brush him, the less his hair is matted and the less hair there is to clean up.
- Keep an eye on his ears and feet – things get stuck there and can cause pain.
- Take care of the stress factor – many dogs hate riding in a car and land up at the doggy parlor all stressed out. Check for something to give your dog before the drive to the doggy parlor from your veterinarian.
How much does it cost to have a dog groomed?
The cost of grooming is difficult to pinpoint because there are so many factors involved, such as your location, size of your dog, and what type of fur he has.
The grooming costs and needs, as an example, of a Standard French Poodle are going to be astronomically higher than that of a small Chihuahua. A small Chihuahua’s grooming needs are basic: toenails, ears, teeth, bath, dry, and a brush with a rough cloth or hand mitt take care of him. The Standard Poodle, on the other hand, needs, besides the ears, nails and teeth, extra brushing/combing, cutting and clipping, bathing, conditioning, drying, and styling. Plus, the Poodle is a few sizes bigger to boot!
Still, a basic grooming session costs upwards of $35, depending on the dog’s size and fur, and costs in the region of $90 or more are not unheard of.
Dog grooming at home
Of course, as continuously taking your dog to the doggy parlor adds up money-wise, how about grooming him at home? This does work well on all dogs, however, as we are not all into the latest doggy hair trends, but many dogs are easy to care for in the grooming department if we just stick to the basics.
If you are taking the plunge and decide on clipping your dog, remember to wash and brush him first. When brushing and your dog has long fur, take care not to pull too much. You want him to love the experience, not hate it.
If his hair is matted, take extra care, as clipping matted hair is very hurtful. Consider, in this instance, finding a spot as close to the skin as possible and working from there. Alternatively, consider using a pair of scissors on the affected area.
When bathing your dog, ensure you have a good quality dog shampoo and conditioner. If your dog is prone to skin rashes or allergies, one with tea tree oil or aloe vera is a great option.
Long-coated dogs need two washes and a conditioner. Make sure to wash off all soapy residue before drying and brushing.
Short-coated dogs get away with a single wash. Many owners find their shorthaired dogs do not need conditioner.
Short-coated dogs’ drying needs are easy – it only needs a rough rub with a towel. Dogs with long coats, however, need an additional blow-drying session. Make sure not to have the blower on too hot and remember to move the blower around and not concentrate on one spot at a time.
Short-coated dogs need a brush-down with a hand mitt to get rid of loose hairs. Those with long coats, however, need regular brushing to get rid of their loose undercoat. Brushing these dogs and getting rid of the undercoat helps prevent hot spots from forming. It also keeps a long coat in great condition.
Ears and toes
Clean ears with a damp cotton wool ball. It is very easy to do. If you notice a discharge or discoloration, take your pet to the veterinarian. They are signs of an ear infection.
The toes need regular clipping, especially the couch potatoes. This is easy with a special dog nail clipper. Be sure not to clip too short, as it is hurtful. The reasons a dog’s toenails needs clipping is because long toenails tend to tear or break, which is very painful.
Dogs, much like people, do better with proper personal hygiene. Unlike humans, they are not able to clean themselves properly.
By taking care of your pet’s grooming needs, you ensure he not only looks good but feels good as well!
Before you go groom your pooch, have a look at this quick relative video: