Many dog owners seem to think that only Poodles and dogs with similar coats need grooming but that's not true. Just as a shower, brushing your teeth and trimming your nails is a part of your normal routine, so should grooming be a part of your dog's basic health care.
In the world of dog grooming, a couple of basic practices apply to all dogs:
Basics of Dog Grooming at Home: Brushing and Combing the Coat
Brushing and combing the coat help keep the coat clean, free of tangles and helps stimulate the skin. Shorthaired dogs can be brushed with a soft bristled brush or a rubber curry comb once a week. Medium and longhaired dogs can be combed or brushed with a pin brush or slicker brush, both of which will go through thicker and longer hairs. These dogs may need brushing two to three times per week, depending upon their coat and the tendency for the coat to tangle.
Basics of Dog Grooming at Home: Trimming Excess Hair
To help keep your medium or longhaired dog clean, you may want to trim certain areas of your dog's coat. With a pair of sharp scissors, you can trim excess hair on your dog's paws, under his tail and around his ears. Just be very careful that you do not cut his skin as you do this.
Basics of Dog Grooming at Home: Cleaning the Ears
Most dogs need to have their ears cleaned at least once per week. Dampen a cotton ball with either a commercial ear cleaning solution or some witch hazel, squeezing out the excess. Then holding the ear flap with one hand, use the other to gently wipe the inside of the ear flap and ear. Do not force the cotton ball beyond the curvature of the ear canal. If the ear is dirty, you may want to use more than one cotton ball.
Basics of Dog Grooming at Home: Trimming Toenails
When a dog's toenails grow too long, the nails will push against the ground or floor, causing the dog's foot to become painful and even misshapen. To trim the nails, use a pair of toenails clippers made for dogs. If you look at the toenail from the side, you can see where the end of the nail is curved. Trim a small amount off and then look at the end of the nail. When you get close to the quick (the nail bed that is painful and will bleed when cut) you will see a circle of softer tissue inside the nail. If by chance, you do cut into the quick, scrape the nail against a bar of bath soap, as this will help the bleeding to clot more quickly. Next time, don't trim back quite so far.
Not all dogs appreciate grooming, especially if this is new to them. Begin slowly, with lots of soft praise and a few treats. Just brush one side of the dog on one day and brush the other side the next day. Trim the front toenails one day and the rear toenails the next. As your dog gets used to the new routine, he'll come to realize that it really isn't horrible and he feels better when you're done.