If you’ve read part one of this guide, you’ll already know how to bathe and comb your dog effectively. Now the basics are covered, part two will focus on the finer points of grooming, which can vary wildly from breed to breed.
Whether they’re pugs, shar-peis or mastiffs, wrinkly-faced dogs are seeing a surge in popularity. Their facial folds are undeniably adorable, but need special attention to keep your pet in top condition. As you can probably imagine, wrinkles are an easy place for dirt and bacteria to build up, which could lead to bad smells and fungal infections.
The best way to clean them is to take a clean cotton bud and some lukewarm water, then gently open up the folds and wipe. If this isn’t enough, you can use a very mild soap solution, but this must be rinsed thoroughly when you’re done. You should also dry the wrinkles once you’ve finished, as moisture trapped in the folds can encourage the growth of bacteria and fungi.
How often you need to do this will depend both on the dog and the depth of the wrinkles, but many owners find a daily clean is best to keep any buildup in check.
Dog ears are another place where unpleasant things can accumulate, and for this reason owners should keep an eye on them. This will also allow you to learn what is normal for your pooch, and help you to spot any ear infections early on.
A cotton ball with a small amount of water or a specialist ear-cleaning solution is all you need to clean the ear, along with careful drying afterwards. Only attempt to clean the outer ear, as you are at risk of rupturing the eardrum and/or causing serious hearing damage if you insert anything into a dog’s ear canal.
Owners of long-haired or white pooches should pay particular attention to the area around the eyes, which is also prone to build-up. Again, gently wiping with a damp cotton ball should be sufficient. While some discharge (also known as tear staining) is normal, a large amount can be a sign of eye infection, so consult your vet if you observe this.
Many animal lovers will have encountered so-called ‘doggy breath’, but did you know that 80 per cent of dogs suffer from gum disease?
This is a major cause of not only bad breath, but also pain and tooth decay. Cleaning your pet’s teeth can be challenging, but the above statistic shows just how important it is. If your dog is very nervous of having their teeth cleaned, there are medicated solutions available that can be added to their drinking water.
If they’re more relaxed, a finger toothbrush (essentially a slip-on rubber tube with surgical bristles) with doggy toothpaste will be more thorough. However, you must make sure that your pooch is calm and happy throughout, or you run the risk of being bitten.
Overgrown claws can be very painful for your pet, and even stop them walking properly. The best time to clip them is just after a bath, as the moisture will soften the nail. Use a specialist pair of nail clippers for dogs, such as the JW Gripsoft Deluxe Nail Trimmer, and make sure to only clip a small amount. Cutting the nails too short can lead to bleeding, so proceed carefully.
If the claws have got truly out of control or have started to grown into the paws, then it may be best to visit a groomer or vet for a profession trimming.
These tips and suggestions should give you all the information you need to keep your precious pooch clean and in good general health with as little fuss as possible.
Written by: Hannah