Before proceeding with clipping your dog, take care of the basic grooming needs. These important activities are essential to ensure your dog stays health on the outside. An un-groomed dog is at risk of harboring various disease that can cause skin irritation. Dogs that are constantly uncomfortable will become irritable. Some dogs become so sensitive that they will snap or bite their owners where otherwise they would not.
Keep your dog well groomed will also help prevent your dog from getting some serious diseases like Lyme Disease.
The first steps to dog grooming are aimed at maintaining your dog's luxurious coat, keeping the ears clean to prevent infections, and clipping the toe nails to keep them at a healthy length and in good condition.
Coat maintenance mainly consists of proper bathing to remove dirt, harmful bacteria and parasites from the dog's skin. Combing and brushing brings the natural oils down into the hair to give it strength and shine as well as protection. A good healthy coat protects the dog's skin from exposure to the elements as it provides an insulation that keeps out rain and cold as well as heat. Properly maintained, a dog's coat allows air flow to the skin. This dries any moisture and dampness which can make the skin susceptible to skin eruptions and rashes.
Always use soaps that are designed for dogs as they are less likely to trigger allergies or skin irritations that are common with scented human products.
Brushing and combing can be a pleasurable time for you and your dog. It gives you a chance to interact in a non-threatening and non-disruptive manner. This personal touch helps you and your dog to bond to one another. This will prove beneficial when you are training your dog.
Use a soft brush that is designed for your particular type of dog. Thick, long-haired dogs need a brush with stronger bristles that will penetrate into the fur, whereas dogs with thin and fine hair are better with a softer brush. Be careful when brushing fine-haired dogs as heavy brushing can scratch the dog's skin and make it sore and irritated.
It's best to brush your dog every day for about 20 minutes each time. How long will be determined by the type of hair your dog has. Naturally, short haired dogs can be done in about 10 minutes while hair with a thick undercoat, such as the Chow or Husky will take longer. Yet other breeds can take as much as 30 minutes if the hair is quite long and tends to mat easily.
Some owners use a hair dryer after they bathe their dogs, but this will depend on whether it makes your dog nervous. Many dogs do not like the sound of a hair dryer. If you do use one, keep the setting on cool or cold as dogs cannot tolerate the hot settings.
Take care when clipping the dog's claws. Be careful not to catch the nerve end inside the nail which can cause bleeding and stinging. Use proper sharp dog nail clippers. This will create a clean cut, unlike dull clippers that can splinter the nail, leaving rough edges. If a dog scratches himself, the sharp edges can cause injuries to the skin.
Nail clipping and brushing are best done on a raised surface to make it easier for you.
Clean out your dog's ears with a cotton swab to remove built-up wax, dirt and any other foreign material. Check to see if any parasites or infection are present. If they are, see your vet for proper treatment.
Make grooming a priority and do it regularly and you will avoid many unnecessary problems for you and your dog.