If you are planning to have a four-legged pet and have opted for a dog, then you should prepare in advance on how to properly care for it. Unlike a cat, a dog needs more attention, since dog grooming requires much more effort from the owner and you must clearly understand what is the daily care of the dog.
What should a prospective owner know about daily dog grooming?
Dog grooming rule #1: Feeding the dog
Correct organization of the dog’s nutrition allows avoiding diseases of the musculoskeletal system, pathologies of the skin and the digestive system, as well as metabolic processes in the dog’s body.
Two meals a day (morning and evening) are considered optimal. Veterinarians suggest two main types of feeding for four-legged pets:
- Natural. It is based on the use of meat and meat offal, cottage cheese, fish, cereals, vegetables and other products. The breeder, with the help of a specialist, calculates the daily requirement and independently mixes the ingredients for his four-legged friend.
- Dry food or canned food. This is an easy and affordable way to provide your dog with the necessary vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats. On the shelves of the stores there is a huge selection of dry food, canned food and delicacies that have bright tastes.
The breeder can choose economy, premium, super premium rations for his pet. Or choose a holistic class food for it, which is recognized as an ideal option for feeding adult animals.
Note! veterinarians do not recommend mixing a natural type of food and feeding dry rations or canned foods. The dog’s gastrointestinal tract does not have time to rebuild and the risk of developing serious diseases increases!
It is also important to understand that in the presence of any diseases, the veterinarian will recommend nutritional therapy. It will reduce the load on the affected organ or body system, as well as speed up the healing process after an illness and make drug treatment as effective as possible.
Dog grooming rule #2: Dog walking
When talking about caring for a dog, most owners immediately think of daily walks. And they are absolutely right! An adult dog should be walked at least twice a day. The ideal solution would be to walk three times a day. However, not every owner is able to provide his pet with such a comfortable regime.
It is important to remember that while walking, the pet should not only go to the toilet, but also actively move, play and run. The duration of the walks should be at least 2 hours a day.
Prerequisites for a quiet walk include a dog’s leash, collar and muzzle. If the walk takes place on a specially designated and fenced area, then the muzzle and leash can be abandoned provided that the animal behaves appropriately.
Dog grooming rule #3: Education and training of dogs
One of the important aspects of keeping and caring for a dog is its training. When deciding to become the owner of a dog, it is necessary to clearly understand that not only representatives of service or guard breeds should be trained. Any dog must clearly follow the owner’s commands. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Maltese or a Great Dane.
Of course, for large breeds, passing a course of general command training is a prerequisite for their adequate behavior in a social environment. The larger the dog, the greater the danger it poses to others in case of disobedience to the owner. But even a Chihuahua can scare an old man or child and cause a serious conflict.
Dog grooming tips for beginners : Puppy training starts from day one.
The owner should spend at least 15-20 minutes a day on working out the commands. This will keep your pet in good shape and will not let him forget the basic rules. Also, classes with a dog handler will not be superfluous, which can be repeated once every 1-2 years after completing the main course of study.
Dog grooming rule #4: Dog hygiene (grooming)
In the concept of dog hygiene, veterinarians often include performing manipulations that allow the pet to look as neat as possible. For this purpose, it is recommended to regularly clean the auricles and auditory canals from dirt and secretions of the ear glands. If alarming symptoms appear (the dog shakes its ears, whines), you should contact your veterinarian. There is a great risk of contracting ticks or developing otitis media.
Dog grooming tips for beginners : Ear care also entails the extermination of ear mites that typically reside in the inner ear of our dogs.
Also, the owner should regularly monitor the condition of the dog’s anal glands. Some breeds (for example, boxers) are susceptible to inflammation of the anal glands. Only an experienced owner or veterinarian can clean them on their own.
For pets kept in apartments, the cleanliness of the coat after a walk is of no small importance. After each walk, experts recommend thoroughly washing the dog’s paws and belly. This should be done without the use of special shampoos, and then wipe dry. To make the coat less dirty in rainy weather, you can use clothes for dogs.
Dog grooming rule #5: Dog bathing
Frequent bathing of the dog can lead to dry skin, allergic reactions and flaking. That is why experts recommend bathing your pet 3-4 times a year. But there are several deviations from the general rule:
Dog grooming tips for beginners : Not only humans get skin irritations and allergies. Some dogs have extra sensitive skins.
- Smooth-haired dogs should be washed a little less often than their long-haired counterparts. The water temperature should not exceed 36C;
- For dogs with coarse short hair, regular combing and rubbing of the hair with a damp cloth is sufficient;
- Small dogs can be bathed no more than once every 1.5-2 months.
Veterinarians are reminded to use special shampoos for dogs. Manufacturers offer a huge selection of detergents, among which the owner can easily select the perfect shampoo for his pet. There are shampoos for normal or sensitive skin, herbal or antiparasitic. You can also choose a shampoo for white or long coats.
It is necessary to comb the animal BEFORE bathing and after complete drying. This is due to the fact that the hair is very hygroscopic and is easily pulled out or broken when trying to comb the dog’s wet coat.
Most owners mistakenly believe that dog grooming should only be done if the pet has a thick and long coat. In fact, this is far from the case. All animals, without exception, need regular care. It can only differ in the amount of time and physical costs.
Experts distinguish several types of wool:
Long with a well-defined undercoat. These breeds need daily brushing. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming the owner of an untidy pet with tangles and matted hair. To maintain a flawless appearance, it is enough to purchase a brush or a comb in a specialized store and regularly comb the dog. These breeds include Old English Sheepdogs, Afghan hounds, collies, etc.
Short coat with a thick undercoat. Breeds with this coat include Schnauzer dogs and Airedale terriers. The latter differ in that they do not fade at all. Caring for the coat for representatives of these breeds consists of routine trimming. The owner performs it on his own or contacts the groomer.
The specialist performs a hygienic haircut (removing hair between the fingers, adjusting the length of the beard and bangs, clipping the hair around the anus, etc.) or gives the pet a more sophisticated look with model haircuts or hair dyeing.
The regularity of the visit depends on the individual characteristics of wool growth, but at least once every 1.5-2 months.
When choosing a puppy, you should pay attention to the features of its coat, and check with the breeder what manipulations should be performed with an adult dog. After that, you need to assess your strength and financial capabilities and only after that make the final decision. After all, an unkempt coat can spoil the impression even of the most thoroughbred and intelligent dog.
Dog grooming rule #6: Clipping nails and brushing teeth
Experts remind that if you want to provide the dog with proper care, then you should definitely brush your pet’s teeth. Any type of feeding contributes to the fact that small particles of food remain on the surface of the enamel. Under the influence of saliva, they turn into hard deposits, which must be removed regularly. The best solution would be to brush your teeth weekly.
To do this, you should purchase a special brush either at a veterinary store, or use a soft baby brush that you put on your finger. It is also recommended to abandon the use of paste intended for humans. It contains a large amount of fluorides that have a negative effect on the animal’s digestive system.
Dog grooming tips for beginners: There are especially designed toothbrushes for dogs that provide cleaning of the rear teeth
A dog cannot rinse the mouth after brushing like a human. And harmful substances go directly to the stomach. You can buy dog pastes on the shelves of veterinary pharmacies.
Clipping should also be done regularly. To do this, you need to purchase a nail clipper of a suitable size and shape. After trimming, you can sharpen your pet’s nails to eliminate the risk of sharp edges.
Dog grooming tips for beginners : Not cutting the nails for too long can cause discomfort to your dog.
Dog health care
When alarming symptoms appear, one should not engage in self-diagnosis and prescribing a course of treatment. Only by seeking professional help can you count on the successful recovery of the dog.
So, in what cases you should immediately seek help:
- The dog has a fever. An increase in the value above 39 C for no apparent reason (for example, an active walk on a hot summer day);
- Vomiting or diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration;
- Lethargy or weakness of the pet, refusal of food and water.
Dog grooming rule #7: Vaccinations
There is a misconception among dog owners that a yard dog does not need vaccination. Especially if he does not belong to any breed. As shown by long-term clinical observations, all pets, without exception, are susceptible to infection with serious viral diseases.
Veterinarians insist on mandatory vaccination of dogs against pathogens of infectious diseases such as:
When infected with the aforementioned pathogens, treatment will not only be long and expensive, but also not always successful. That is why the first vaccination of a puppy occurs at the age of 4-6 weeks.
Before each manipulation, a veterinarian examination will be required. The specialist will issue a calendar of vaccinations, according to which the animal will receive the necessary vaccine from certain pathogens in a timely manner. This will allow the formation of immunity by the age of 1-1.5 years, which will reliably protect the dog from infection.
In addition to the annual vaccination, the dog must be treated monthly against fleas and ticks, as well as worm prevention. Modern veterinary medicine has reached the level that this process does not cause any difficulty for the owners, however, high-quality and reliable drugs are not always cheap and this fact must also be taken into account when talking about caring for a dog.
Dog grooming rule #8: Prophylactic visits to the vet
Careful attention to the health of the pet helps to avoid serious diseases and the development of complications. The optimal solution would be regular check-ups with a veterinarian, which will allow timely identification of the onset of the development of a pathological process.
A specialist examines the animal and, if necessary, prescribes laboratory tests. Also, the veterinarian will give recommendations on feeding and keeping the pet, which will allow you to adjust the weight and physical activity. For a dog with chronic diseases, regular consultation with a specialist will help to avoid relapse and reduce the risk of worsening the pathology.
Dog care is a huge responsibility for its owner. And the larger the pet, the more difficult it is to deal with it. An adult, physically developed German Shepherd or Rottweiler can cause much more difficulties for its owner than a small Russian Toy or French Bulldog.
Proper upbringing, informed choice of the breed, regular check-ups with a veterinarian and balanced nutrition are the dog grooming basics every owner should take care of, and this will make keeping comfortable both the dog and the owner.