Dog Grooming Tips How and Why

Dog Grooming Tips How and Why

                  The Importance of Grooming Your Dog Regularly

Bath time important for bonding with your dog
Bath time important for bonding with your dog

I find many dog owners are not aware of the importance of grooming.  It may appear strange that I have put dog grooming under basic training tips.

However, overall it is as important as walking to heel and recall training. Whenever I see a client whose dog will not accept or allow the owner to groom, then I know the dog has scant respect for the owner.

This is a dog that does not believe the owners have the right or position to groom them. A recipe for disaster. Grooming your puppy or adult dog is vital for a number of reasons. Just one of them is that It helps create a strong bond between you and your dog. Another is health and well-being this is especially the case in both winter and summer and especially when the barbed foxtails are prevalent as well as other dangerous seeds.

Wolves and wild dogs mutually groom each other, as a way of showing family and pack unity. It also indicates if the dog accepts you as a controller of resources. See (1) The Alpha Myth  Grooming also allows you to touch your dog all over. Allowing you to check for thorns, injuries, lumps, seeds or parasites.

It also gets the dogs or puppies used to your handling. I see many dogs that do not allow their owners to groom them or give them medicine or medication like eye or ear drops.

This is a relationship and trust issue and stems back to when they were puppies, It is important to start young, so they realise that grooming can be fun as well as therapeutic.

Foxtails are probably the most dangerous plants for dogs they can be lethal

Grooming for Health Reason:
There are particular times of the year that can be very dangerous for dogs if you do not regularly groom and check your dogs over for burrs seeds and especially plants like foxtails.

High Summer is when these can be at their most dangerous especially if it is very hot and dry. The seed heads of the foxtail are barbed and can work their way into any part of your dog,

They can enter any cavity including the nose, mouth, ears, eyes, bum, vagina and genitals. They can embed into any part of the skin and they only travel in one direction because of the barbs.

Start Grooming When Young: 
Start as soon as you get the dog. If it is a puppy, then initially use your hands to get the dog used to you touching and handling in a gentle and positive way. We even do this on our (2) Puppy Classes

Many dogs that I treat for object or bowl guarding issues, will not allow the owner to groom Therefore early introduction to grooming can be vital to eliminate possession aggression or food guarding in later life.

This is especially important with gundog breeds as they have a preponderance to guard. Your puppies and adult dogs should be used to having their heads mouths and bodies touched when you then wish to remove something, then it isn’t seen as confrontational.

From the day you get your dog, either as a puppy or adult dog, play with his flews (the floppy bits on the upper lips at each side).  Open his/her mouth, check out the tonsils, look down the throat, Touch and treat all over the dog do this in a positive fun way with lots of verbal praise and treating

I do not believe that we can be the leader of the pack, therefore, I do not see grooming as a dominant or controlling mechanism. I see grooming as a basic need. 

Without any doubt, this is the finest dog grooming tool on the market

Why Groom?:
Dog grooming is one of your dog’s basic needs and an important part of dog ownership. Just like people, dogs need physical maintenance to look and feel their best.

Fortunately, dogs do not need to bathe as often as people, but you need to learn how much grooming your dog actually needs and keep it on a schedule that will cover all requirements.

Generally, a dog’s grooming requirements depend on the breed and hair type as not all dogs shed. However, if your dogs shed hair then the finest grooming aid you can buy will be the FURminator.

I have other de-shedding tools but these are the best on the market, unfortunately, they are also the most expensive but worth every penny, I use them on all my dogs.

I sell these along with dogs Shampoo and Mane and Tail Spray and my dogs look fabulous. Beware of fakes these are copied more than any other grooming tool buy the genuine article or they will fall apart in six weeks.

If your dog has a skin, ear or nail condition, follow your veterinarian’s instructions regarding grooming your dog. It is also important to use the appropriate grooming tools Here are some dog grooming basics to remember.

Don’t overdo bathing. Once every two weeks is typically enough; Bathing too often can dry out the skin and deprive it of natural oils. Unless you use a really good shampoo and skincare.

Avoid using human shampoos on your pet as these are not manufactured for the type of hair and skin that dogs have. Human shampoo products may dry your dog’s skin, and remove too much of the natural oils needed to promote healthy skin and fur. Instead, buy and use a shampoo specifically for use on your pet. I also use salmon oil every day and all my dog’s coats gleam

Apply shampoo from your hands rather than pouring it onto the dog’s fur. this allows you to apply the shampoo more easily to the areas that need it the most.

Do not allow water into the dog’s ears this can cause medical problems such as infections or irritation. gently squeeze his ears shut to keep the water out.

You occasionally may need to pluck ear hairs, especially for dogs like Spaniels that have silky hair and floppy ears. Ask a vet or professional groomer to show you how to pluck them safely and correctly, without hurting the dog. Ear powder can make this process quicker and simpler, it allows you to easily grip the slippery ear hair.

Burrs Thorns and Grass Seeds: Checking your dog over for thorns, nettles, burrs, seeds and other vegetation is vitally important for a number of reasons.

Foxtails often called grass seeds, the ones that look like little darts and have barbs that are shaped in such a way, that once they pierce the skin they can move through the body either breaking out in another part of the dog or they can travel so far they can end up in internal organs and could kill.

Check your dog carefully area to concentrate on is the paws, between the toes and pads, ears, nose and belly. If you find any grass seeds or burrs, remove them immediately. During this season you should groom your dogs every time you take them out whether they shed or not you need to ensure there are no seeds and especially foxtails in their coat. If they have an undercoat and shed then the best tool for this is a Furminator or undercoat rake type of grooming tool.

I have four working cocker spaniels that are especially prone to these barbed seeds and I keep a furminator in my car. However, if your dog does not shed like poodles then a slicker brush should be used

One of the best-kept secrets of gundogs owners, working dogs, agility, sporting dogs and some show people is a product called Gold Label ‘Ultimate’ Mane & Tail Conditioning Spray. It aids ease of grooming and prevents tangles and debris in the tail, coat and feathers. It can be applied whether the dog is wet or dry.

it was created to make it far easier to remove all the things that dogs get caught up in their coats but for horses, think dogs and times it by 50. That will give you an idea of how difficult it is to remove burrs, thorns and seeds from the coarse hair in the mane and tail.

It did not take the horse people long to realise the benefits for their dogs, It stops fur tangling and clumping up and makes it far easier to remove all the seeds, thorns and burrs. It aids ease of grooming and prevents tangles and hard-to-remove seeds in the tail, coat and feathers.

It can be applied wet or dry. I personally believe it is the best on the market or I would not sell it. Why don’t I sell a bottle with dogs written on it? Simple as soon as you add the word dog the size goes down as the price goes up through the roof. I sell garlic for the dog’s health and coat and aid flea and tick prevention. It is made for horses but the same applies, It is the same garlic preparation yet smaller packets cost the earth.

Some dogs really need to be dried. If you allow them to dry naturally, they may retain that doggy smell. A normal hairdryer can be fine for this but make sure it is set for cool.  Using a hairdryer stops the doggy smell you get from wet dogs left to dry naturally, 

How Often To Groom.

  1. Long-haired dogs usually require daily brushing to prevent matting and tangling of hair.
  2. Medium-haired dogs may be prone to matting and tangles and should be brushed at least twice weekly.
  3. Short-haired dogs can go up to a week in-between brushing.

Regardless of hair type, you can brush your dog daily – especially if they enjoy it. More frequent brushing during shedding season can help prevent hair build-up and excess shedding.

Regular grooming and washing is vitally important
Regular grooming and washing is vitally important

Keeping your dog’s feet trimmed up nice and neat is beneficial, It will help reduce the amount of tar, thorns, seeds, salt, etc. that will get caught in the feet.

All of which can be uncomfortable, and in some cases dangerous to your dog.  It also looks a lot neater

Use scissors to trim over the top of your dog’s foot and even with the pads on the bottom of the foot. Try to trim in between the toes or the pads of the foot. Do this very carefully

Keeping the inside surfaces of your dog’s ears clean, will not only feel good to your dog but is also a good way to help prevent ear infections.

Examining the outside surface will also alert you to the presence of seeds, ticks, fleas, or thorns. Clean your dog’s ears about once a week.  

You can use either a cotton ball or a piece of gauze with an ear cleaning solution, or you can use a baby wipes wrapped around your finger.

Don’t use water because it doesn’t evaporate very easily. Wipe the inside surface of your dog’s ear, going down only as far as your finger easily fits.

Don’t use Q-tips or try to put anything further down the ear canal. You could cause an infection or painful ear injury.  If you notice any discharge or a bad smell from your dog’s ears, get advice from your Vet.

Food and Treats:
What you feed your dog can make a vital difference to the skin and coat of your dogs and pups. 

A dull lifeless scurfy coat can be affected by food and allergic reactions to what you feed and treat your dogs. All my dogs have shiny healthy coats. I believe owners do not always realise that the food and treats we feed our dogs have a massive difference in their health and wellbeing.

The food I feed is Fish4Dogs and Bella and Duke Raw Food  I now sell all of these in my physical Dog Store open 7 days a week located in (3) The Dog StoreHampton Hill 

Also, see the article (4) Dog Food and Behaviour the treats I use for training are Sprats and a range of my own brand of ethical air-dried treats. I now have over 40 different totally natural air-dried treats. from Buffalo Jerky,  Pigs Tails, Wild Boars Trotters Dog Spaghetti and many more choices. every treat I use and sell are totally natural and as nature intended. My range of treats are here. (5) Doglistener Air Dried Natural Treats

Grooming and supplement products can be found here (6) Grooming and Supplements.

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©Stan Rawlinson
March 2013
Updated November 2020

(1) The Alpha Myth  

(2) Puppy Classes

(3) The Dog StoreHampton Hill 

(4) Dog Food and Behaviour

(5) Doglistener Air Dried Natural Treats

(6) Grooming and Supplement Products

Fantastic Dog Store with very knowledgeable staff and Raw food and Kibble sold here

    My New Dog Store in Hampton Hill That Now Has Fish4dogs Kibble +
       Bella and Duke and Paleo Ridge Raw Frozen Food. 

Is your dog pulling on the Lead, Unruly, Bad Recall, Aggressive on Lead, Jumping Up?
See my article and Video Clips on how to stop this.
The Jingler

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