up to 40% off select supplies - free shipping - see offer details
Dog - Grooming

Five Dog Grooming Tips that will Take You Beyond the Basics

Regular baths and brushings are great, but your dog's eyes, ears, teeth and toes could use a little regular TLC, too. These simple canine hygiene dog grooming tips can help you and your pet avoid bigger and more costly problems.

Step 1: Start slowly

To help your dog get accustomed to regular grooming, gently handle his legs, feet, mouth, ears and head several times a day for a few weeks without attempting to clean them. Soon he'll get used to this and keeping him clean will be a piece of cake.

Step 2: Wipe your dog's eyes

Dogs often get discharge at the inner corners of their eyes. This runny goo should be removed before it irritates their skin. Simply wet a cotton ball or washcloth with warm water and gently wipe away any discharge. A moistened baby toothbrush can gently remove dried debris from the hair near the eyes.

Call your veterinarian if you notice a lot of discharge, or if it's thick and greenish or yellowish, as it could indicate an eye irritation, known as conjunctivitis, or an infection.

Step 3: Clean your dog's ears

Check your dog's ears once a week. If they look dirty, put a little mineral oil on several cotton balls. Lift each earflap and wipe the skin folds and any visible parts of the ear. Be sure to never insert anything into your dog's ear canal.

Call your veterinarian if your dog's ears smell bad or ooze thick, dark brown or yellow green discharge, as that can be a sign of an infection.

Step 4: Get out the (doggy) toothbrush

Just like ours, your dog's teeth can decay and become infected. In fact, studies show that by age three, 80 percent of dogs exhibit signs of gum disease.

But before you grab the brush and make for their molars, get your dog used to the idea by gently massaging his lips with your finger in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds once or twice per day. Gradually move your finger into his mouth until you can massage his gums and teeth. Don't expect immediate success, though. Getting your dog used to this new practice could take several weeks.

Once your dog is comfortable with the new routine, you can introduce a toothbrush. A dog-specific toothbrush, a washcloth or a piece of gauze will work great.

Start by washing your hands (be sure to wash your hands afterwards, too). Using circular or back-and-forth motions, brush the surfaces of your dog's teeth and gums next to their cheeks. Your dog may resist letting you lean the inner surfaces of their teeth. Don't force the issue; very little tartar accumulates there anyway. Then wipe with a clean, damp cloth to rinse.

Source article from WholePets microsite: "eyes, ears, teeth and toes"

Only use toothpaste formulated for dogs or a mixture of baking soda and water. Dogs can't spit and human toothpaste will upset their stomach if they swallow it.

You can help fend off plaque by serving dry dog food or by offering your dog hard, crunchy treats. There are also a wide variety of dental chew toys from which to choose.

Step 5: Finish with a pawdicure

Washing your dog's feet helps rinse away trapped dirt, especially after playing outside. A washcloth and warm water is all it takes, or you can simply add it to your dog's regular bath time.

For medium or long-haired dogs, you'll need to trim the hair between their nails and pads. Tiny mats, fleas and debris love to hide in these little spaces. Blunt-tip baby fingernail scissors will make quick work of this task, or ask your groomer to trim these little hairs during your pet's next groom.