Top 10 Grooming Tips for New Dog Owners
Getting your first dog is a huge step for anyone. It means lots of fun, snuggles, and adventures together – but it also means a few responsibilities that you’ll have to take on as well. One of those is keeping your dog well groomed throughout their life. This is important for many reasons: it helps them stay healthier, it helps prevents shedding, and it keeps your home cleaner. Additionally, if you or someone you love has a dog allergy, regular grooming could make it much more possible to enjoy your four-legged friend’s company.
While many owners opt to take their dog to a professional groomer, there are still some very important things you need to do to make it easier for everyone – especially your pup! These 10 grooming tips are for any new dog owner, whether you like to DIY your doggie care routine or not.
1. Get Your Dog Used to Grooming Early
It is never too early to start grooming your dog, even if you’re just going through the motions. Many dogs who are allowed to get older without anyone mimicking the feeling of having their paws groomed, having their nails trimmed, having their whiskers cut, and so on, will get very nervous and even aggressive at a groomer. If you plan to take your dog to a professional, having a regular playtime where you handle your dog’s paws, tail, face, and body, is important to keep your dog used to the sensations.
2. Think of Grooming as Bonding
One big mistake that many new dog owners make is to rush through grooming, thinking of it as something that both parties want done and over with as quickly as possible. But grooming can become a great way to bond with your dog if you take your time. Not only does your dog learn to trust you and get plenty of attention in the process, but it also gives you a good chance to really get to know your dog, so that you can detect changes in the future.
3. Keep Your Dog Groomed Year-Round
One thing that many dog owners do is stop grooming their dog in the winter. The reason that their dog needs the extra fur to stay warm. But not grooming your dog year-round means that they are more likely to have a tangled coat that is painful to brush out and trim when the weather heats up. Additionally, not grooming for several months at a time could get your dog out of the habit of sitting still for grooming.
4. Don’t Neglect the Teeth and Ears
In addition to trimming and brushing your dog’s fur, and cutting their nails, don’t forget that your dog’s teeth and the underside of their ears need attention too. Dental care is very important for dogs, but few get regular tooth brushing. This can ensure that your dog doesn’t get dental diseases that can lead to even worse problems like heart disease. Getting your dog used to dental care early is the best way to keep them healthy at home. The other thing you should do is check that your dog’s ears don’t look red or have a bad smell. If they do, your dog may need to have their ears checked for infection.
5. Develop a Regular Brushing Routine
Even if your dog has a short coat, there are many reasons why a daily or every-other-day brushing is a great idea. First, it helps to distribute the oil all over the coat and skin. It also helps to get rid of dry skin patches and dead hair, which would otherwise shed all over your house. It also helps to stimulate blood flow and acts as a relaxation treatment for your dog, which could prevent them from getting destructive.
6. Learn How to Handle Nails
Nail care is one of the areas where many new dog owners struggle. The first step is to get any long hairs out of your way by trimming them away from the top portion of your dog’s paw. Don’t try to trim the hair between the toes, because the skin could easily be nipped. This is a very sensitive area for your dog. Use a nail clipper that is meant for dogs, and if they have dark nails, be very careful to only trim a tiny bit at a time. If you accidentally clip the vein that runs into the nail, they could be bleeding for a while. If you have mastered baths and brushing, nail care may be something you want to leave to the pros if you aren’t comfortable.
7. Don’t Bathe Too Often
One thing that new dog owners may do is try to bathe their dog too often. Dogs don’t need daily baths, and many dogs don’t even need weekly baths. The shampoos and soaps could actually dry out their skin if used too often. Unless your dog has recently gotten dirty or looks like they are pretty dusty and dingy, they don’t really need a bath. When you do bathe them, choose dog shampoos that are designed to work with a dog’s natural skin oils.
8. Be Specific with a Groomer
If you decide to take your dog to a groomer, make sure that you get specific with them when describing both what you want, and how your dog reacts to grooming. This information could keep your dog safe, keep the groomer safe, and ensure that your dog looks the way you prefer them to when they leave. If you have a specific cut in mind, try to bring in photos or give examples to communicate what you want.
9. Don’t Let Your Dog Get Matted
One of the biggest concerns for a dog when it comes to grooming is keeping their fur from matting. Unless they are a breed that is supposed to be matted, matted hair can be very painful for a dog and result in skin conditions. If you see any hair starting to tangle or get matted, it is best to trim it off as soon as you can, or shave it off in small patches until it’s all gone.
10. Take It Slow with New Dogs
Finally, when you have a new dog, it’s important to take it slow with grooming routines. It takes time for a dog to feel comfortable with someone new touching them, handling their feet, touching their face, and so on. No matter how old your dog is, they may need several months, or even longer, to get really comfortable with grooming. Try grooming for just a little bit longer each time you have a grooming session to get your dog used to the feeling.
Put These Tips to Work for You
These 10 tips can help a new dog owner ace the grooming routine with their brand new furry friend. Take your time with a new dog and focus on making grooming fun and relaxing for them. This will be helpful for you, and making heading to the vet or groomer that much easier in the future. It will also help your dog to feel more comfortable while essential care is given.