Our dogs can't keep up with their hygiene. It is up to us, as responsible owners, to maintain their hygiene. The better we maintain our dog's hygiene, the more opportunity we give them to live long and healthy lives with us.
But if your dog is like mine, they are a pain in the butt when it comes to anything hygiene-related. He used to refuse to hold still! I was fed up trying to do everything myself.
My dog, Bear, wouldn’t even get in the shower or sit still for his teeth cleaning and nail trim.
Why struggle to do all the grooming your dog needs when you could pay someone else to do it? I asked myself this question every time.
With a little bit of work, he improved using some easy tips. Now, he can't wait to get everything done. He knows there is a reward during everything and after we finish.
You can save a lot of money by slowly implementing and working with your dog on all aspects of grooming (Dogs who require hair removal, such as types of doodles, can be taken to a professional groomer when they want a cut/shave done.). You can also set your own schedule and take care of your dog's hygiene when you feel it is best.
There are 4 main areas of dog hygiene you should know. These should all be done frequently, with exercise happening almost every day.
IMPORTANT TIP TO START!
Don't show signs of anger or stress during the grooming process. Your dog can sense your emotions. Do your best to stay in a good mood by using a cheerful talking voice and encouragement, or use their favorite food, treats, and toys.
Let's get started with one of the more frustrating areas - bathing.
Bathing your dog:
Some dogs are easier to bathe than others. Some people have walk-in showers that make bathing your dog at home easier. I struggled to bathe my dog, even with a walk-in shower. These struggles make bathing your dog seems impossible and deter you from doing it regularly. It is best if you bathe your dog regularly to keep them clean.
How do I know when to bathe my dog?
Different breeds of dogs shed different amounts of hair each year. Dogs with thicker coats shed more often, especially right before the warm spring weather.
Some Common heavy shedding dogs include:
Unless you have a hypoallergic dog, your dog most likely does some type of shedding throughout the year.
Bathing your dog after the winter weather ends will help get the excess hair they are shedding off. Follow the spring bath up with multiple brushing sessions.
Other ways to tell if your dog needs a bath are running a hand and brush through their coat to see how much hair comes off. Also, if your dog smells or any dirt comes off when you are petting them, they need a bath!
Make sure you brush after any bath, or you feel hair falling off when you pet them.
Brushing your dog often will reduce the amount of dog hair flying around your house!
How do I bathe my dog?
If you are struggling to bathe your dog, fear not. You are not alone! I also struggled to get my dog anywhere near my shower or hose when he was younger. Here are some tips and tricks for bath time with your dog:
Use peanut butter (or something similar)
Put peanut butter on a wall in your tub or shower. You will be surprised how encouraging this tactic is. The peanut butter keeps them distracted while you get to work. Keep peanut butter or treats close for re-use until your dog gets more comfortable during bath time.
If you are bathing them outside, try putting peanut butter on a plate.
You can also leash up your dog and step on their leash if you are alone to keep them in one place while still using that trusty peanut butter. Anything you can think of to distract and make bath time more enjoyable, try.
Mix Shampoo into a separate bottle
Add some shampoo into a new bottle and mix with water.
This allows you to save money and make bathing the dog easier by spreading the shampoo evenly on the dog’s coat!
A large bottle of shampoo usually lasts me multiple bath sessions. You can also get a conditioner that will help keep their skin from drying up during dry weather days!
How do I brush my dog’s teeth?
The answer is simple - just like you brush your own! My dog loves his peanut butter-flavored toothpaste. He lines up and waits for his brushing. Just open each side of his mouth and brush. Add more toothpaste and rinse the toothbrush for both sides to get a thorough cleaning! The key is making it a fun experience for your dog. Use rewards after and praise.
Keeping your dog’s teeth clean will help prevent plaque build-up and ensure your dog’s teeth have fewer issues when they get older.
You can order toothpaste online or ask your vet about options. Your vet might also provide the service, but they will charge you for something you can do easily at home!
DON’T USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE FOR YOUR DOGS!
You can brush their teeth multiple time a week for the best results.
How do I trim my dog’s nails?
Trimming your dog's nails can be a frustrating and challenging experience. If your dog is like mine, it is challenging to keep them still during a nail trim. Fear not. You can use the same method you did with bathes!
Use peanut butter again.
Add peanut butter to a plate, a bone you can fill with peanut butter, or give them an almost empty jar of peanut butter. Try to keep their mind busy.
Trim their nails over time.
If you let the nails get too long, the quick inside the nail grows longer with the outside nail. Bleeding in the dog's nails occurs when you clip the quick, causing pain to the dog's nail.
Black and dark dogs are challenging to locate the quick, as the quick is often black. For white nailed dogs, cut to a comfortable spot before you see the quick.
The longer you let the nails grow, the more of a chance you clip their quick. If you do clip their quick, get something to stop the bleeding, such as styptic powder or a towel on the nail. Leave the nail alone and let it heal.
I use a battery-powered Dremel nail trimmer. It allows me to take off a little each day or week. My dog has always been more comfortable and preferred the battery-powered Dremel nail trimmer over the standard squeeze pair.
Exercise Exercise Exercise!
Health continues with the last important aspect of a healthy dog - exercise. Ensure your dog gets proper walks. They can also play in the yard to maintain a healthy weight. I walk my dog 1 or 2 times a day if possible.
Having an overweight dog can lead to health issues as the dog grows older. Some of which include joint or other problems.
Walking a dog who can't behave is frustrating. If you are struggling because your dog is a bad walker, look into getting a trainer to help or hire a professional dog walker. See https://www.furballfitnesspetcare.com/dog-walking or https://www.furballfitnesspetcare.com/dog-training for more details.
Try using your dog’s favorite treat as a reward for walking well. Look for some free training guides on YouTube for reference as well.
Should I clean my dog’s ears?
Some dog breeds get ear issues more than others. Dogs with bigger ears tend to be susceptible to ear infections, but all breeds can develop infections.
Check your dog’s ears for soreness, redness, or a strange odor. Also, if your dog is itching or shaking their heads a lot, they may need to be cleaned out. Use a Q-tip or cotton ball to clean inside the ear. Consider keeping a bottle of ear cleaner from your vet on hand for this task.
Keeping up with your dog's hygiene may be a difficult task at first. Some dogs have a better temperament, and others take some time to adjust to stressful situations.
Make taking care of your dog’s hygiene fun and interactive. Include their favorite foods, treats, and toys. Always remember, don’t get angry. Your dog can sense your stress, and it will ultimately stress your dog out even more. Stay calm, make it fun, and take your time.