Dog Care

MUST HAVE! ESSENTIAL DOG GROOMING TOOLS AND TIPS

Dog grooming is an important aspect of keeping your dog happy and healthy, but it must be done in the right circumstances with the right grooming tools. Dog grooming is more than just bathing your dog, it involves how to brush their hair properly, cleaning their teeth the right way, clipping their nails properly, cleaning their ears and more.

You must get to know your dog’s grooming tools, so without further ado, I would explain each grooming tool and what it is being used for. I would also give you some basic grooming tips to help direct you properly on the correct way of doing things in your dog grooming journey.

 Scissors

 This tool is mainly used to cut or trim our dog’s hair. Make sure to choose the best scissors available to you. There are various types of scissors for our dogs and each type has a specific purpose.

  • For general cutting use Straight grooming shears
  • For rounding off layers of hair Curved scissors
  • To give your dog’s coat a natural edge, use thinning shears (they also help with problems areas)
  • For trimming delicate areas like the face and tail Rounded safety tip scissors

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 Dog Shampoo and conditioner

A dog’s shampoo is a shampoo specially made for dogs. If your dog is no longer smelling nice, it is probably time for him to take a bath. A dog shampoo helps to remove dirt from your dog without irritating his or her skin. A word of caution here – When acquiring a dog shampoo, make sure to acquire the mildest cleansing shampoo available.

On the other hand, after bathing your dog with a dog shampoo, your dog is likely to lose some natural oil. Applying a dog conditioner will help your dog to replace these natural oils that were lost. Dog Conditioners can also help to untangle “tangled hair” in your dog.

Another note of caution is to make sure you rinse off your dog completely, before applying the dog Shampoo and conditioner

Brushes

Brushing your dog’s coat is vital in canine care as it helps to eliminate mats and tangles on our dogs. It also helps the dog’s coat to look beautiful and vibrant and also assists in lubricating the dog’s skin by activating their vital oil glands.

As should be obvious enough, different dog breeds require different brush types. Using the correct brush type on a dog breed will make it an enjoyable experience for the dog and he or she would always look towards their grooming time.

Essentially, there are four brush types for grooming your dog.

Slicker brush – Best suited for medium to long-haired dogs, they are made up of fine short wires close together on a flat surface. Some of the dog breeds best suited for the slicker brush type are Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, St.Bernards and Yorkshire Terries just to mention a few.

Remember to choose ones with flexible handles when purchasing as they make grooming your dog easier.

Bristle brush – Best suited for short-haired dogs and smooth-coated dogs that shed hair frequently. They are made up of tightly packed natural bristles that remove loose hair and stimulate the dog’s skin. Some of the dogs breed best suited for Bristle brushes are Jack Russel Terriers, Italian Greyhounds, Boston Terriers and Pugs just to mention a few.

Pin Brush – This is a very common type of dog brush and the least useful. It looks like a normal human comb. They are usually oval-shaped with a loosely arranged set of flexible wires pinned to the top. The main purpose is usually for the finalization of the grooming process.

Rakes – Best Suited for thick-coated dogs, used to remove tangles and dead undercoats near the dog skin, normally shaped like shaving razors and intended for minimal pleasure. Some of the dogs breed best suited for rakes are Chow Chows, German Shepherds, Malamutes, etc.

When buying rakes, look for ones whose pin length matches your dog’s hair length.

Flea Combs – As the name implies used to manage Flea problems in your dog.

Styptic powder

This is a clotting and antiseptic agent which is used in situations where your dog’s nail gets hurt while grooming them. In our dog’s nails are something called “quick”, this is a tiny blood vessel which is found in their toenails.

Injury to the nails is common especially when the grooming is being done by an amateur. In this instance, it is essential to have the styptic powder readily available to deal with the situation.

The styptic powder can easily be gotten at a vet store or purchased online.

As a side note, it is advisable to get a professional to do the nail grooming, especially for the first time so that you can get the hang of how it is done properly

Dog Toothbrush and toothpaste

Apart from outer physical appearance, our dog’s teeth are something we should take care of regularly to prevent dental disease and bad dog breath. As with everything in life, you need to use the right tools to get the right results.

So when it comes to taking care of your dog’s dental health and hygiene, you need to use the correct tools to achieve this. Dogs have special toothbrushes and toothpaste which can be used to clean their teeth. As for toothbrushes, there are two main types available in the market.

a.) Multiple Head Brushes – usually made of two or three sets of bristles attached to the head. The idea behind it is to surround our dog’s teeth with the bristles and clean all areas at once.

 In reality, it doesn’t work in this way perfectly and you would also have to find the perfect size that fits your dog.

 I personally use this and take the time to clean my dog’s teeth.

b.) Finger Brushes – usually made to fit right into your fingertips, with tiny bristles directly on top. The idea here is to brush your dog’s teeth by directly inserting the finger brush into his or her mouth and cleaning our dog’s teeth.

Personally, I think it’s a risk to put your fingers into your dog’s mouth as you never know what might startle your dog at the moment and lead to biting or injuring you.

As regards toothpaste there are many types available for purchase. They come in various flavors for your dogs. Poultry, Malt, Vanilla mint, Seafood, Beef, etc. The main thing to check for while purchasing a dog toothpaste is the ingredients used in making them. 

Basic ingredients like Emulsifiers, Sorbitol, Silica and Enzymes should be made available. No fluoride, chlorine, or the other things present in human toothpaste (These are very harmful to dogs)

Our dogs cannot spit out, so they end up swallowing any paste giving to them. Just make sure that the toothpaste is not one meant for human consumption and also that the flavor is acceptable to your dog. This will make it easier for you to clean his or her teeth and make the process enjoyable for both of you.

Last word of note: It is important not to share toothbrushes among different dogs, especially when you are dealing with a pack. It has similar implications as using another person’s toothbrush.

Nail clippers

As a rule of thumb, never use human nail clippers for your dog(s). There are dog nail clippers and they are specially made for trimming your dog’s nail. Human nail clippers are not strong enough to cut through a dog’s nail. They usually end up leaving cuts halfway which ends up being more painful to our dogs.

Dog Nail Clippers come in various shapes and sizes. Long nails in dogs can cause them a lot of pain and can break easily, which leads to walking issues and can end up causing arthritis for your dog. Regular clipping of our dog’s nails can prevent this and add to his or her overall health.

Always remember to have your Styptic powder close by in case of injury.

Towels  

Most pet parents can attest to the awful wet dog smell that pervades the environment immediately after a dog bath, in addition to this, you have your dog shaking himself or herself vigorously, splashing droplets of water all around. And as if that is not enough, your dog will try to rub dry himself or herself dry using your rug, sofa, your bed, or the most comfortable household furniture available.

Needless to say, getting a dog towel is very important for your dog’s grooming (and your sanity). Dog towels tend to dry our dogs faster limiting the awful wet dog smell. Dogs also find the feeling of the towels comfortable and hence are willing to stay calm a bit when the towels are used immediately after a bath.

 As a rule of thumb, dog towels are not to be shared, especially when you have a pack of dogs. Each dog should have his or her own towel.

Dog towels are easily purchased in pet stores or online.

Blow-dryer

This is usually used to remove dogs undercoat before beginning the bathing process, this means there will be less mess to clean up after your dog’s bath and helps to save a lot of time when brushing or combing your dog’s hair.

As the name implies, the dog blow dryer is similar to the hairdryer except that this is specifically meant for dogs.

You have to make sure to be gentle and cautious when using a blow dryer as our dogs cannot tell us if they are comfortable or not. They usually let out a cry when the pain is too much, but that’s just it. 

It will be advisable to get a professional dog groomer to do the grooming first so that you can see how it’s being used and your dog’s reaction.

Combs

Are brushes not enough? Why should I buy a dog comb? I am sure you will be asking this question. Especially if you haven’t had any experience in grooming your dog(s). Well, the answer is simple.

Brushing your dog’s hair, especially long-haired dogs does not remove the mats in your dog’s hair. You need a dog comb to achieve this. There is also the problem of fleas which can be handled only by combs.

To summarize, if you have a flea problem, use a Flea Comb. If you have a mats problem, use a de-matting comb. If you have a shedder problem, buy a de-shedder comb and for dogs with thick undercoats, buy an undercoat rake.

Conditioning spray

As the name implies, this is a conditioner in spray form. They are easy to apply and help to keep our dogs coat shiny and healthy. When using the Conditioning spray, it is advisable to spray from the back of your dog’s ears to the tail (avoiding the eye region). Massage into your dog’s coat and repeat as you deem necessary.

Cotton balls and swabs

Best used for cleaning our dog’s faces. Cotton balls are best suited for cleaning areas around our dog’s eye and cotton swabs for cleaning the whole face. As with anything facial gentle and careful wiping is important so as not to cause damage to the eye.

Ear cleaning solution

These are cleaning solutions specially made to assist in cleaning out your dog’s ear (ear canal). Because of the structure of a dog’s ear, you cannot clean your dog’s ear the same way you would clean a human ear. This is likely to cause injury to the dog which can later lead to an infection.

That is why you need an ear cleaning solution for your dog. The best way to apply an ear cleaning solution to your dog is:

   a.) First, dip a cotton ball into the ear cleaning solution

   b.) Massage your dog’s ear with the cotton ball dipped in the solution inside the dog’s ear

   c.) Allow your dog to shake off the excess debris

   d.) Reward your dog (if he or she has been calm during the process) with a treat

   e.) Repeat for the other ear.

Most people would advise a routine cleaning of your dog’s ear (maybe once a month) But I say to consult your veterinary doctor for a direct answer to this. Each dog is unique in themselves. The ear is such a delicate organ that routine cleaning can actually lead to some problems for your dog.

Grooming table or grooming area.

A grooming table is by far the most important piece of equipment you can get when you talk about grooming your dog. Many people do not seem to understand how important this is especially to the safety of their dogs and want to cut corners here. Our simple advice is don’t. Instead, take this concerns into consideration before purchasing a grooming table.

    a.) The size and weight of your dog.

    b.) The amount of grooming to be done

    c.) Will the table be for personal use or a Salon.

    d.) Will you be traveling a lot with the table.

    e.) Your Budget.

Based on this consideration, you can acquire a grooming table and select a particular grooming area in your house or saloon for your dog(s).

The basic types of grooming tables found in the market are fold-up tables, hydraulic tables and electric tables. It is imperative to do your own investigation and especially check out reviews on the grooming table before buying them.

Now that we have looked at the major grooming tools our dogs require, it is also important to have an idea of what a dog grooming routine is like. Depending on the type of dog you have some of these routines like brushing your dog’s teeth can be done weekly. Others may be done less frequently (once a month).

I would advise you see the steps more like a roadmap and not necessarily a step by step action plan

A Dog Grooming Routine starts with:

  • Removing tangles and mats on your dog by brushing out your dog’s hair.
  • Strip your dog’s coat with a pre-bath (most times this might not be necessary, very dependent on the dog breed).
  • If necessary express his or her anal sac.
  • Give your dog a good bath and rinse thoroughly.
  • Use your dog’s towel to dry him or her. You can also use the dog hair dryer for proper drying.   
  • Use an ear cleaning solution to clean your dog’s ear.
  • Clean your dog’s eye with cotton balls.
  • Trim dog nails
  • Brush their teeth.
  • Brush out hair again and apply conditioner.
  • Finally, Clip hair if necessary.

Steps to groom Dog’s Teeth, Nails and Ears

  • Start by holding your dog’s foot steady.
  • Snip small bits of your dog’s nail off (make sure you snip below the “quick”)
  • Repeat steps one and two on each leg.
  • Apply nail polish (optional)
  • Offer treat

Ear cleaning

  • Hold your dog’s head gently so at to make the ear hole visible.
  • Apply cotton bud that has been dipped in the ear cleaning solution.
  • Allow your dog to shake off excess.
  • Wipeout any remaining excess with cotton buds
  • Offer treat

Teeth brushing

  • Squeeze some dog toothpaste onto your dog’s toothbrush
  • Allow him or her to lick it off
  • Gently rub the toothbrush with the toothpaste against your dog’s teeth and gum gently for some few seconds
  • Offer treat

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