Thursday, May 7, 2020

FWOTW: Dog grooming at home

Abby is getting pretty shaggy
This week we gave our dog Abby a full grooming at home.  This included cutting her hair, cleaning her ears, trimming her nails, brushing her teeth and finishing up with a nice bath.  Regular grooming is important for dogs to make sure their hair doesn’t get matted, ears and eyes don’t get infected, teeth don’t rot and nails don’t get too long.  This wasn’t the first time we groomed Abby at home.  In fact, we’ve been doing our own dog grooming for almost 6 years now!
Taking your dog to a pet groomer can be a very expensive ($35+ per session!) recurring expense.  It can also be extremely stressful for your furry loved one.  When we first got our dog, she was always scared to go to the groomer.  After 3 visits to the groomer, we decided to groom her ourselves.  Abby trusts her parents more than anyone in the whole world, and we should be the ones grooming her.  Today I want to share our dog grooming routine and favorite products.

Cutting hairCurrently we cut Abby’s hair with dog grooming scissors that have a blunted end.  We give her a nice relaxing haircut outside.  We don’t always cut all of her hair in one sitting; we may split it up over several days.  I’ve found the best time to cut her facial hair is when she’s resting on the couch.  Don’t forget to trim the hair between the paws! 
Brushing teethJust as we brush our own teeth daily, it’s extremely important to brush your dog’s teeth.  Poor mouth hygiene has been associated with tooth decay, gum disease, painful infections, heart disease, kidney disease and other serious health conditions not to mention bad breath.  We brush our dog’s teeth with a 3 sided dog toothbrush and enzymatic poultry flavor dog toothpaste.  We used to give our dog Greenies, designed to clean a dog’s teeth and gums as they chew.  However, our vet did not recommend Greenies due to risk of dental fracture, choking, upset stomach and intestinal obstruction.    
Trimming nailsWe use a guillotine style nail clipper, which works very quickly at clipping the nails.  I lay Abby on her back, gently hold each paw and then clip away.  It’s very important to start slow and cut just a tiny amount to avoid hitting the kwik.  In the event that bleeding occurs, it’s important to keep styptic powder nearby – we use Kwik Stop.  I have previously tried the dremel/rotary/grinder type devices for nails, but found that it took too long and my dog did not like the noises these devices made.  Regularly trimming dog nails prevents the quick (blood supply of the nail) from growing too long.
Washing furWe wash our dog in the bathtub with Pet Head brand of dog shampoo because it’s easy to use and smells great.  Since our dog suffers from allergies, we use Pet Head Life’s An Itch Soothing Shampoo.  The shampoo helps prevent our dog from getting too itchy.  Make sure you wash around the eyes and ears gently.  It’s easy to bathe our dog because she is small.  We use a towel to dry her afterwards.    
Have you thought about grooming your own dog?I’m no expert at grooming different dog breeds, but there are plenty of video tutorials on YouTube to watch and learn from.  Some dog breeds require specialty care – you can’t just take a pair of scissors to every dog’s fur.  If you own a dog and are staying at home, now is the perfect time to try your hand at dog grooming.  Even if you give your dog a bad haircut, the hair will grow back on its own.  We find that grooming our dog is stress free, relaxing and fun.  Saving $35 a month is also nice! 

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