He can melt your heart with one soulful glance from his chocolate-brown eyes. He is your best friend and you are a responsible, loving dog owner. You do your best to give him the most nutritious food and treats available. You take him to the vet for check-ups and vaccines. If you have a long-haired dog, you may even make routine appointments with a dog groomer to get his hair professionally trimmed. But did you know that regular, at-home grooming is just as important for his health and well-being? All dogs, even those with very short fur, need consistent, frequent grooming to remain in the best health.
One of the first things to consider when grooming your dog is when and how to brush his coat. Long-haired dogs need more frequent brushing than short-haired dogs. Dogs with fur most prone to matting need daily brushing. Matting can be uncomfortable for the dog and can even damage their skin. Pay special attention to areas especially prone to matting such as behind their ears. Short-haired dogs may not need brushing to prevent matting, however they do still benefit from brushing every week or two to remove loose hair and dirt. There are many different types of dog-grooming brushes.
Along with regular brushing, you will want to get your dog on a schedule for baths. Bathing your dog with specially formulated dog shampoo will keep your dog's fur soft and shiny and will make cuddling with your canine friend even more pleasant. Just like brushing, how often you bathe your dog will depend on the length of fur, breed of dog and your dog's lifestyle. A long-haired dog that joins you on your hikes through the woods will need more frequent baths than your short-haired friend who prefers naps on the sofa to romps through the mud.
One task dog owners often overlook is one of the most important: nail trimming. All dogs require periodic nail trimming. Overgrown nails can cause difficulty walking for your dog and even become painful. If you can hear their nails "click" on a hard-surface floor, it is likely time for you to trim their nails. You can choose to trim their nails with special clippers made for dogs or an electronic filing tool that grinds their nails down safely. Which tool you choose to keep your dog's nails the optimal length depends on your personal preference and what your dog tolerates the best.
Regular grooming not only provides the benefits listed above but it is also a chance for you to further bond with your pet. Treating grooming time as a bonding experience will make the time spent special for both of you and will help ensure that your dog will live a long, happy life right by your side.