Dog care tips: part one

Keeping your pup happy and healthy is a big part of having a dog. The following are dog care tips. Some can be easily followed at home, while others might be better off in the hands of a professional. We’ll start with grooming since it’s a big part of a dog’s life. Grooming includes doing your dog’s nails, brushing teeth and taking care of their coat, just to mention a few.

Dog care tip 1: Keeping your dog’s ears clean. Dogs with floppy ears like Bassets, Spaniels, Poodles, etc. need even more attention when it comes to clean ears. This is because their ears can trap moisture more easily then the perky stand up ears of say a Husky or a Chihuahua. If you add to that a love for water, like many retrievers and sporting dogs have, then keeping the ears clean and dry is even more important in order to avoid ear infections. Our favorite ear cleaner is from Espree. It has tea tree, peppermint and eucalyptus oil in it so it has a fresh scent. Put a few drops in the ear canal, massage the base of the ear and then let them shake it off. For best results, follow up with a clean dry cloth to get all the moisture and debris out of the ear. If you use this product about every 3 to 4 weeks your pup’s ears should be in good shape.

Dog care tip 2: Nails. The sooner your pup gets used to getting their nails trimmed the better. There are many ways to get those nails down to an acceptable length, from clippers and automated sanders (dremel or pedi paws), to homemade or store bought scratch boards. We love to use the dremel at our resort, this device, when used properly is a rather fast and completely painless way to file down the nails. We suggest that you start very slowly with nail trims, if you pair up each nail clip with a fun toy or yummy treat and then let the pup go about their business it is a lot less stressful for everyone. Once your dog is comfortable with one nail being done every few hours, then we do two and let them go and so on until you can do all paws very quickly and then follow up with the delicious treat. If your dog is super scared of nail trims already and just grabbing the paw makes them very agitated then a scratch board is a way to start.

Dog care tip 3: Bath time. They say if you don’t know what shampoo tastes like then odds are you’ve never bathed a dog. We find this is mostly true. Bathing a dog the first few times can be an ordeal, but if you get them used to it early on bath time can go quite smoothly. While many dogs enjoy playing with water and sometimes even swimming, when it comes to bath time they act like they are being tortured. We know you love your dog and all you want is to be able to snuggle and love on a clean dog. Using a shampoo that is specifically made for dogs can help a lot. Find a shampoo that is a tear free and that rinses off quickly. Depending on the length, quantity, texture and oiliness of your dog’s coat, you might want to follow up with conditioner before drying off the pup. As far as drying goes, some dogs are pretty close to dry with just a few rubs with towels, others will need a blow dryer (on cool setting), or a bit of a walk to air dry if the weather is nice. Big dogs with undercoats like Labs and Newfies take a very long time to rinse and dry properly so you might need the aid of one of our professional groomers to help you out.

Care tip 4: Brushing the coat. Brushing can be quite a pleasurable experience for your dog and even a form of meditation for you. There are tons of different types of brushes and combs in the market. Some dogs will need very specific tools to keep their coats looking and feeling their best. But in most cases it comes down to what you and your dog like. Some dogs love a quick rub with a silicone brush (like a zoom groom), others prefer the feeling of natural bristles which scratch a bit, some might do better with a comb to help untangle mats and some might like the brushes with little nubs on the end that protect the skin. The point is you might be using the wrong tool for your dog and maybe that’s why he doesn’t love brush time yet. Switch up the tools you use and keep your sessions short at first to ensure your dog is comfortable.

Care tip 5: Teeth. Brushing your dog’s teeth should be part of your dog care routine. Many dog owners skip the teeth cleaning thinking it’s too hard or unnecessary, but the truth is it can be very beneficial to the dog and your wallet. Professional teeth cleaning by a veterinarian can be costly but it will still need to be done during your dog’s life. Brushing your dog’s teeth at home and providing chew toys and dental chews can prevent the build up of tartar in between vet cleanings. Just like all the other dog care tips listed above, start slowly and try to make the experience fun and rewarding for your dog. First you brush for a few seconds, then you give the dog a yummy dental chew to munch on. We also suggest providing synthetic dog bones and other chew toys so your dog can help out on his own.

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