Grooming your pet can seem relatively straightforward, but there are still considerations you should make to care for your dog’s specific needs. Like people, dogs have different skin, hair, and health conditions.
Additionally, if you’re a pet lover, you’ve probably seen some kind of stories of “dog grooming gone wrong” on social media. Dogs shaved down to their skin, uneven, lopsided haircuts, or worse. Your vet or a professional groomer is the best person to ask for advice when it comes to grooming, but here are some things to avoid at home to make grooming an easier process for both you and your dog.
1) Not Clipping Your Dog’s Nails
Your dog's nails should be clipped carefully and regularly, about every three to four weeks. Another way to tell if your dog’s nails need to be clipped is by holding your dog’s paw flat on the palm of your hand. If the nails touch your hand, they might be on the long side. Also, they might need a clipping if you can hear them clicking on hard surfaces as your dog walks.
You should use sharp clippers and replace them as needed. Dull clippers crush the nail instead of cutting it, which can hurt your dog. You also need to learn how to find the quick of your dog’s nails. For dogs with light nails, you’ll see the pink through the nail, but if your dog has dark nails, you have to be extra careful to make sure you don’t clip it. Cutting the quick of the nail will cause your dog to bleed and can cause pain and infections.
2) Not Brushing Your Dog’s Coat Before & After Bathtime
This is especially important if you have a long-haired dog—brush your dog’s coat before you give them a bath. Water makes mats worse and tangles and sets knots. So brush your dog to get rid of dead hair that is tangled in their coat before getting them wet.
More dead hair will fall out after the bathing process. You should brush your dog again to get rid of the hair and avoid tangles.
If you’re wondering how to groom a short-haired dog, you should follow the same steps—the process will just be quicker.
3) Trimming Your Dog in the Summer
Although you might think trimming your dog’s hair in the summer will help keep them cool, it doesn’t actually work like that. A dog’s coat helps them regulate their body temperature, keeping them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. If you shave them or trim them down too close to the skin, it puts them at risk of sunburn and heatstroke. If your dog swims or runs in sand or dirt a lot in the warmer months, it’s okay to keep their hair short but not shaved down, because it still needs to protect them from the sun and the elements.
If your dog’s face frequently gets dirty, you may be tempted to remove as much hair from the area as possible. But, since we now know that a dog’s coat protects them, shaving your dog’s head isn’t a good idea. Similarly, if your dog’s ears get dirty easily, you should probably leave trimming your dog’s ear hair to a professional groomer.
4) Washing Your Dog’s Inner Ears
You should take care not to get water or soap in your dog’s ears. If water gets in the inner ear canal, it can create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to grow and lead to ear infections. Placing cotton balls in the ears before bath time is an easy way to keep water out.
If your dog has long ears and/or is prone to ear infections, consult your vet for a safe ear-cleaning solution for dogs and how often you should clean them.
5) Bathing Too Often
A dog’s coat and skin contain natural oils and proteins that protect them. Washing too often can remove these natural oils and cause skin irritation and dryness. If your dog has sensitive skin or a medical condition, follow the washing schedule given by your vet.
6) Letting Your Dog Run Free After a Bath
Dogs often get the zoomies after a bath, so you should keep them somewhere they can’t get dirty. If your dog has access to go outside, you should block it until they are as dry as possible, because all kinds of dirt and debris from outside will stick to their paws and coat