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The Basics of Grooming

You should groom your dog on a regular basis to keep him clean and healthy. Grooming your dog involves brushing and bathing, as well as trimming his nails and caring for his teeth. You can groom your dog yourself or take him to a professional groomer. Your dog will look and feel better when he is groomed regularly.

Grooming is useful in the training process, since a dog who is well cared for is often happier and more willing to work with you. If your dog initially dislikes being groomed, you can distract him with food treats until his comfort level increases. You can then gradually reduce the food rewards and use praise to calm and encourage your dog. Over time, regular grooming will help your dog become comfortable with being touched. This is useful when your dog has to be handled by a veterinarian or professional groomer.

You can find grooming supplies such as combs and brushes designed for dogs at pet supply stores. You can also purchase shampoo designed for dogs, as well as specialized nail clippers.

Brushing

All dogs require brushing to keep their coats looking healthy and shiny. The amount of brushing your dog requires depends on the type of dog you have. Dogs with long, thick coats generally need more brushing than dogs with short coats.

You should take care when brushing your dog's legs, abdomen and behind his ears. Dogs often have sensitive skin in these areas.

Bathing

How often you bathe your dog depends on your dog. If your dog looks dirty or smells, he should have a bath. Note: You should brush your dog before bathing him to remove any loose dirt or tangles from his coat.

You can bathe your dog in a bathtub or a sink. Use a mild dog shampoo, rinse your dog's coat well and avoid getting water in his ears. Note: If your dog has long ears, ask your veterinarian or groomer for advice on how to take care of his ears.

What should I keep in mind when choosing a professional groomer?

To help you find a reputable groomer, you can ask your veterinarian, breeder and other dog owners for recommendations. The groomer you choose should be a member of a professional organization that has a code of ethics. Before taking your dog to the groomer, you should ask whether they use muzzles or tranquilizers and whether you will be able to watch a portion of the grooming. Make sure your dog has had all his vaccinations before visiting a professional
groomer, since he will be around other dogs.

What should I watch for while grooming my dog?

Grooming your dog allows you to closely monitor the condition of your dog's body. During weekly grooming sessions, you should run your hands over your dog's body to check for anything unusual that might indicate a health problem. In particular, you should watch for skin problems and injuries, as well as fleas and ticks. If you notice anything that may require medical attention, contact your veterinarian.

Nail Care

Dogs who walk on hard surfaces, such as pavement, naturally wear down their nails.

If your dog spends most of his time on grass or carpet, you may need to trim your dog's nails. A dog's nails should be even with the bottom of his paws.

Trimming your dog's nails once a month is usually adequate.

Make sure you remove only a short portion of each nail. Cutting the nail too short can cause bleeding.

Dental Care

Taking care of your dog's teeth regularly can help prevent dental problems for your dog.

You should brush your dog's teeth at least once per week using a toothbrush and tooth cleanser made for dogs.

Do not use human toothpaste to brush your dog's teeth.

If tartar builds up on your dog's teeth, your veterinarian can remove the tartar for you.

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