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6 Ways To Groom Your Dog At Home

Grooming our dogs can be a daunting task. This is why many dog owners opt to take their pups to a professional groomer. But there are a few relatively easy ways to groom your dog at home, which can save you time and money. Here are six different things you can do to keep your pup looking and feeling great without going to a professional groomer:

1. Brush Your Dog Frequently

All dogs shed (even hypoallergenic breeds). Because of this, it's recommended that dog owners brush their pups frequently, no matter the breed. How much your dog sheds depends on his or her type of fur and the season. But the general guidelines suggest you brush heavy-shedders daily and all others every few days.

This is because frequent brushing prevents the matting of fur and reduces the chances of your dog developing skin irritations or infections. Matting occurs when strands of loose hair from your dog's coat get tangled in attached fur, becoming a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. Just make sure not to over-brush, as that can pluck out hairs that aren't loose, rather than removing loose strands.

Pro Tip: To choose the right brush for your dog, consider his or her coat. There are brushes specifically designed for various fur types including (but not limited to) curly, long, short and double-coats.

2. Bathe Your Dog Regularly

Some owners only bathe their dogs if they have a noticeable smell or got dirty (like after a muddy hike or a swim in a lake). However, it's recommended that you bathe your dog at least every three months and as frequently as once a month. You won't want to bathe your dog too often, though, as that can cause skin sensitivity and irritation. Typically, how often to bathe your dog depends on his or her type of fur, activity level and the season. For example, dogs typically need fewer baths during winter than the warmer months.

Pro Tip: You can pick a dog shampoo based on your dog's breed or fur type. Just add warm or lukewarm water and you're set. You can dry off your dog with towels or a hair dryer if used safely.

3. Clip Your Dog's Nails

Clipping your dog's nails can be a scary task for dog owners. But it's important to keep your dog's nails at an appropriate length, otherwise it can cause problems for them and you. When a dog's nails are too long, it can be painful and affect their ability to walk or run properly. It also increases the risk that the nail gets caught on something and breaks, causing injury. In addition, long dog nails can scratch your floors and rip your clothes or furniture.

Every dog has a different nail growth rate, making it difficult to give an exact timeline for how often to trim your dog's nails. But on average, dogs need their nails trimmed every one or two months. There are two tools you can use to trim them: an electric nail grinder (which works as a powerful file, grinding down the nail rather than cutting it) or nail shears (which act like scissors and clip the nails cleanly and swiftly).

Pro Tip: Don't grind or cut too low on the nail as that can cut the "quick" (a blood vessel with a nerve inside), which can lead to excessive bleeding and pain. You can buy "quick stop" product or cornstarch to halt bleeding, but it's also a good idea to call your vet if you do snip the quick.

4. Clean Your Dog's Teeth Regularly

Cleaning your dog's teeth can be a bit of a pain but it's important for your dog's health. Brushing their teeth regularly can help prevent dental disease, bad breath and other health complications. In general, it's recommended that dog owners brush their dog's teeth as often as two or three times a week. You can use a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste and make sure to brush their teeth and gums. However, if your dog's teeth are tough to clean, taking him or her for a professional dental cleaning once a year may be a good idea.

5. Clean Your Dog's Ears Regularly

Cleaning your dog's ears is a relatively simple task, but many dog owners don't do it. How often to clean your dog's ears depends on several factors, including your dog's breed, age, type of fur, activity level and ear wax production. In general though, it's recommended you clean your dog's ears at least once a month. This frequency would increase if your dog has long, droopy ears or goes for a swim. Usually you can use a normal wet wipe to gently clean the inside of their ear canal or buy an ear cleaner. Some dogs, however, need special ear cleaning solution, especially if they've had trouble with ear infections in the past.

6. Cut Your Dog's Hair When Necessary

Some dogs, though not all, will need their fur trimmed every once in a while. This is especially true for dogs with long hair and those who might need a summer haircut. It's important to keep your dog's hair from dragging on the ground as that can collect dirt and cause skin or hair issues. But because haircuts aren't required that often for dogs, it may not be worth it to you to go to a professional groomer. In these cases, you can do it yourself using electric dog clippers or scissors and a comb. 

Pro Tip: When cutting your dog's hair, pay attention to details like clipping the hair that falls over your dog's eyes or fur that grows between the paw pads. Hairs on a dog's paws and ankles tend to catch the most dirt.

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