Grooming, like regular health care and nutrition, is an essential part of caring for your dog.Â From a pedigreed Poodle to a lovable pound pup, all dogs require some level of grooming.Â Brushing and bathing your dog keeps his skin and coat healthy and makes him more pleasant to live with and to love.Â Daily teeth brushing and regular nail clipping prevent future health concerns such as periodontal disease and foot problems.Â For some dogs, professional grooming is almost a requirement; for others, a monthly bath and a weekly brushing is sufficient.
Every Dog Needs Grooming
The healthiest dog is a groomed dog.Â Brushing and combing help remove dirt, burrs, tangles and parasites, and distributes oils to keep canine skin healthy.Â Nails must be clipped to prevent painful breakage or tearing.Â Overgrown nails can make walking difficult and, in extreme cases, even deform a dog’s paws.Â Because dogs are prone to tartar buildup and gum infection, regular teeth brushing should be part of a grooming routine.Â Ideally, teeth should be brushed daily and nails trimmed monthly.Â Depending on his coat, your dog’s grooming regimen may be as simple as a weekly brushing or as complex as daily combing, bi-weekly bathing, and monthly haircuts.
There are no downsides to regular grooming – it’s all good.Â You can cuddle with your dog without the worry of offensive odour and excessive shed hair (though even groomed dogs shed), and you reduce dander (shedding skin) that causes allergies in some people.Â A dog with clean teeth has fresh breath, making him pleasant to be near, and short nails keep him from damaging carpets, furniture and you.Â Regular grooming keeps your dog feeling and looking great.
Grooming and Health
If you neglect grooming your dog, he can suffer.Â For example, the fur canmat and tangle so tightly that it needs to be shaved off.Â After such a matted pelt is removed, your dog may chew himself raw because his skin itches.Â Often, there are sores, parasites, or a skin condition underneath a dirty coat of matted hair.Â A dog whose teeth are never brushed or professionally cleaned by a veterinarian is a prime candidate tor gum disease, which can contribute to infections of internal organs such as the heart and kidneys.Â If left untreated, dental problems often progress until the teeth fall out.
Grooming is an opportunity, to examine your dog from head to tail, to monitor his health and his appearance.Â You might notice signs of skin problems caused by injury, allergy parasites, or inflection while grooming.Â As you brush the coat, examine the skin to spot problems such as swelling caused by an insect bite, wound, or vaccination.Â A bump in the groin could be an umbilical hernia.Â Breeds such as the Pug, Bulldog, Boxer, and Chinese Shar-Pei can develop bacterial infections if their distinctive wrinkles are not cleaned regularly.Â Some dogs develop warts or fatty tumors as they age.Â Dogs are vulnerable to the same cancers as people are; cancer is the most common cause for concern with lumps and bumps.Â Early detection increases a dog’s chance for survival.Â Grooming should feel good to your dog, so pain during grooming is a sign that something isn’t right.Â A dog who winces when you touch his muzzle may have dental problems.Â A dog who constantly shakes his head or paws at his ears may have ear problems, which can also be detected by a musty odour.Â Redness or swelling in the ear canal, tenderness, or discharge could indicate ear mites or an infection.Â A discharge from the eyes or genital area may also be a sign of infection.Â If your dog is limping, is acting touchier than usual about having his paw handled, or is licking a foot, examine his footpads for irritating dirt debris, a sliver of glass, pad puncture, or broken nail.Â Sand, rock salt, and road tar can also adhere to a dog’s pads and irritate his feet.
Fleas, ticks, and mites are some of the parasites that can plague your dog.Â The first sign of fleas is usually an itchy dog, or you may see flea eggs or feces, small particles that look like salt and pepper.Â Ticks look similar to spiders, and once they dig into the skin and become engorged with blood, they can swell to the size of a grape.Â Since ticks can carry disease, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever ,you should always wear gloves and use tweezers to remove ticks.Â Drop the tick into rubbing alcohol to kill it, swab the bite site on your dog with hydrogen peroxide, and then apply antibacterial ointment.