Since we’ve been staying home these past months we’ve been finding ways to do things ourselves that we may not have thought about in the past. This includes ways to groom our pets. We’ve been perusing online retailers for the tools that help make grooming our pets and clean up at home easier. And even when groomers are back up and running, we may just decide not to jump back into everything too quickly. Maybe even save a bit of money since we have gained some confidence in doing more ourselves!
If you haven’t started yet or need a refresher… or if you or your dog, are feeling anxious when it comes to grooming you’re not alone. It’s important to take your time and ease into activities with your pet. Here are some tips to help you confidently groom at home!
EXERCISE YOUR DOG FIRST: plan on any grooming after you’ve gone for a nice walk or played lots of fetch. Afternoons are great for grooming as it gives your pooch time to settle.
LET THEM DIGEST MEALS: schedule any kind of grooming activity a couple of hours after feeding to give him time to digest helps if you find he vomits when anxious or excited.
A common question that comes up is “how often do you trim their nails?” And that answer will vary depending on the dogs. We can go for 6 weeks or more with our dog because of long walks each day. Walking on the pavement helps keep his nails filed daily. If you notice your dog having some trouble walking, licking their paws or hear a lot of tapping from his nails when he walks, then it’s possible that a little trim off the tip will help.
PICKING THE RIGHT TOOLS: There are choices when it comes to clipping your dog’s nails. You’ll want to look for safeguards on tools. Be sure to not clip too close to the “quick”. How do you know? Your dog will yelp and you’ll see blood…and , if it happens you’ll never make that mistake again! So, just stay close to the tip. Also, when picking clippers to ensure you’ve purchased the one that is the appropriate size for your dog’s size. A grinder or dremel are also good options but follow instructions carefully. This is a personal choice, really. Remember the dewclaw, too!
EASE IN WITH UTENSILS: Whether you use nail clippers, grinders or dremels for nails, you’ll want to ease in calmly. If your dog is curious or skiddish, just cuddle with your dog, touch his paws with your hands to get him use to your hands near his paws. Also, try simple taps of the tool near his paws but not doing anything more for a couple of days. This gets him use to the strange object near him and trusting you. Stay calm yourself. Make no big deal about it. Try clipping one you and pup seem comfortable.
EXTRAS: Speaking of paws, check often for any sore spots or dry cracks on his paws. Check with your vet if you have concerns. Just be cautious again about applying any human form of creams or balms – even all-natural ones as some essential oils can be toxic to animals if ingested. Soos Pets is a popular brand with our furiends and their Natural Dead Sea Mineral Enriched line and their Pet Rescue Cream for Dogs & Cats is safe to not only soothe cracked paws, but it also helps speeds healing and creates a protective barrier to help prevent infections.
Dogs don’t need to be bathed too often and should only when necessary or unless they spend alot of time outdoors, love to splash in ravines or roll in “stuff”. You’ll want to first give your dog a good brush. When bathing try to avoid spraying directly into eyes, ears and snout. Water in the ears can lead to bacteria infections. Have a big towel ready for drying. Oh, and if you have a dog with wrinkles and folds, don’t forget to dry in between! Otherwise, the wetness could cause irritation.
TEMPERATURE: A handheld shower wand helps get to hard to reach areas. Make sure you adjust the temperature so it’s comfortable for him. This goes for hot summer months as well. While we may be tempted to give them a cool bath, it’s better to stick with lukewarm temperature water.
SOAP: Use pet friendly liquid soap designed for their coats and skin. Often other liquid soaps, even human-grade, can dry out their skin. Make sure you rinse the shampoos out thoroughly. Kiehl’s Cuddly-Coat Grooming line for pets is mild and smells great! The line includes a dry shampoo for pets that we use once in a while. We’ve also loved World of Angus Rosemary Mint Dog Shampoo that’s hand-made in Toronto. They only use natural, organic and bio degradeable ingredients that’s been great for outdoor baths (hello cottage life!) in the summer months.
EXTRAS: If your dog hates baths (or you just need more time to wash him) try a LickiMat with a smear of your dog’s favourite spreadable treat – peanut butter, cheese spread. There are different styles but you’ll want a LickiMat that suctions to the wall of the shower or bathtub – makes for a yummy distraction. They’re also easy to attach and remove for cleaning purposes.
When it comes to drying simply use a large bath towel to soak up the excess water. Our dog’s fur is like a sponge and absorbs lots of water. It may be tempting to use a hairdryer to speed things up but that’s not recommended as the heat may actually hurt your pet. Instead, invest in a pet hairdryer to do the job if you wish. Look for one that has additional attachments like the B-Air Fido Max 1 Dog Dryer for at home grooming that can be used for more specific sized dogs, hair lengths and jobs.
Non-shedding dogs tend to mat very easily if they don’t have regular brushing and grooming. Also, the longer the hair length the more often you’ll need to brush. Shorter hair requires only once a week. By the way, this is also a good time to check for ticks and fleas. ‘Tis the season!
For dogs that shed, it’s good to have a regular brushing schedule to help remove excess hair that inevitably will end up on your furniture, floors, carpets and clothes. It also helps redistribute the skin’s natural oils from their skin and fur to help keep their coat looking healthy. We brush our dog every other day, especially during the shedding season. He actually enjoys the brushing!
There are also options on the types of pet brushes available. Always brush down and out and gently. If your dog has mats in his hair, be extra gentle in working them out slowly with a mat-detangler. Often a mat-spray will help as it acts as a conditioner and smooths things out. If the mats are really bad, it would be tempting to simply cut them out but if you’ve got a squirmish dog, best to leave that for the experts. If you’re determined to do it yourself, use scissors with rounded tips to help avoid injury.
FURminator deShedding Edge Dog Brush is a popular choice for owners of shedding dogs. But make sure you learn how to use this tool properly. This brush has a stainless steel edge that combes through the topcoat to safely and easily remove any loose hair in the undercoat without cutting skin or damaging the topcoat if used right.
Also, only brush dry fur and not wet! Otherwise, you can make tangles worse.
If you have a shedding dog as we do, you already know this is shedding season. Dog hair is EVERYWHERE including upholstery and even on the stairs where our guy loves to hang out. We recently tested out the SHARK Cordless Pet Perfect II Hand Vac that’s been a sanity-saver! Ideal for using on the couch, stairs, and carpet where hairs tend to get embedded into the fibres, this particular vacuum is a winner with it’s powerful Twister Cyclone Technology delivering a consistent strong suction while cleaning. Since this vacuum is compact and cordless, it’s also handy to take in the car for quick clean-ups on our outings (beach days are coming!). We also prefer not to use our regular vacuum on the upholstery. This cordless hand vac has additional attachments that make it even easier to get into tight corners and crevices like steps and in between cushions. The extra-large motorized pet brush really gets the strands and ground-in dirt out well.
This vacuum also has an easy-to-empty dust cup that can quickly be removed for cleaning. It comes with its own wall mount charging base and helps keep the extra attachments in one place.
*Lead photo: @dawson_s_creek