Grooming Your Dog

Author: gibbywmu
July 18, 2008

 by Shaan Randow 

Dogs take care of some of their grooming needs on their own, but still need a helping hand from their owners. Taking the time to groom your dog on a regular basis has its own rewards; it strengthens your bond with her and allows you to notice health problems before they become serious. If you find your dog won’t sit still for an ear-to-tail going over, do one task each day. As she gets used to you handling her, you can begin to combine tasks so that you spend your time more efficiently.

Licking, scratching and shaking are ways dogs keep their coats clean and somewhat free of debris. A good brushing performed by you will keep her fur clean and free from painfully matted hair. Longhaired dogs should be brushed every day, to prevent tangles in their fur.  Always use a brush that removes the dead undercoat of the dog.  The Furminator is a great new tool for this. Dogs with shorthair or smooth coats can be brushed once each week. Some dogs love the massage of a good brushing, but others take a while to get used to it. If your dog tries to escape while being brushed, get her used to it in small steps. Start by just running the brush along her coat two or three times while you talk to her in a happy voice. Give her a treat at the end of the session. Each time you work with her, increase the length of time you brush her.

As you brush your dog, run your hands through her fur down to the skin to look for plant debris and fleas. If you notice lots of dark specks on her skin, she has fleas. The specks are flea droppings. A very obvious amount of droppings indicates a flea infestation that should be treated immediately. As you brush the hair on and around her tail, look for rice-like debris. These are usually a sign that your dog has worms of one sort or another. You will need to have her checked by your veterinarian to determine the type of worm and get the proper medication.

Dental problems are common in dogs. To avoid costly veterinary treatments, keep your dog’s teeth in top shape by brushing her teeth each day. You can use a child’s toothbrush, or a finger toothbrush designed for use on pet’s teeth. Be sure to only use toothpaste labelled for use on pets; human toothpaste can be toxic to your dog. In addition to brushing, give your dog rawhide chews to gnaw on-they help keep her teeth and gums healthy.

Some grooming tasks don’t need to be done everyday. Ears and nails can be checked weekly and monthly, respectively. Once each week, look inside your dog’s ears. If you see coffee-ground-like specks, your dog may have ear mites. You should check your dog’s nails at least once each month. If you walk your dog frequently on sidewalks, she is probably wearing her nails down on the concrete. However, it is important to check to be sure they have not grown too long. Dogs with overgrown nails develop physical problems as they shift their weight as they walk to avoid discomfort. You can learn the proper way to clip your dog’s nails from a standard pet care book, or your veterinarian.

July 11, 2008


If your dog is shedding and you want to control the shedding even to a lesser amount there are a few things you need to consider.

Look at what you are feeding your dog. Is the food good and nutritious? Does it have a lot of fillers? Is there a good amount of fat content in the food? Your dog’s food should not have a lot of fillers like corn or wheat as a primary ingredient. Also if you read “meal” as one of the main ingredients you may also be wondering how full of actual good items the food actually is. Your dog should also have fat in the food. Contrary to what we consume, dogs need fat in their diet to maintain a healthy coat of hair and keep their glands producing oils their coat needs.

Does your dog stay inside mostly and go outside only for potty breaks or is he outside a lot? The more he is in and out in an artificial climate will keep your dog guessing whether the temperature is getting colder or warmer.

Let us face it, all dogs shed to some degree and many are known to shed very heavy. If you have one of those types of dogs and your friends are horrified to come to your house do not worry you can use products on the market also to reduce the amount of hair Fido is losing.

One of the greatest tools on the market today is the furminator, which helps to reduce the shedding up to 90 percent, be removing the loose, dead undercoat without damaging the topcoat.

Grooming can be a bonding time with your dog and should be done at least once a week. The more often your dog does it the less excess hair you will see in your house and your dog will look better as well.

Try to allow 15 minutes to thoroughly groom your dog but you can do a quick groom in as little as 60 seconds a day.

July 9, 2008

Pet Wilderness 

Following is a list of practical items to pack on your trips. Store these items out of the sun in waterproof packs or bags, clean tackle boxes, or similar latching boxes. Out on the trail, carry only emergency items like an extra leash, bandages and tape, and tweezers. Don’t forget to pack drinking water and snacks for your pets, too! Leave the rest stored safely back at camp or in the car.

Sample First-Aid Kit
Gauze bandages and pads
Wide bandage tape, preferably waterproof
Scissors, tweezers, and pliers
Antibiotic cream or ointment, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide
Shampoos for skunks and poison ivy/sumac contamination
Thermometer (protect from excessive heat)
Instruction sheets from your veterinarian with clinic and emergency telephone numbers

Your Dog’s Suitcase
Dry food in waterproof, airtight containers
Safe drinking water (do not drink ocean saltwater or creek water)
Extra snacks for strenuous days (like cow ears)
Prescription medications (take enough supply for at least three or four extra days)
Extra leashes and collars
Identification tags with current address and phone, current rabies tag
Blankets and towels
Brush and comb
Spray bottles for water and rubbing alcohol (To cool your pet off, use alcohol on foot pads, water on the face and body. Label bottles clearly.)
Favorite toys and chew bones

Fur Tamers

Author: gibbywmu
June 16, 2008

Hairy Dog

by Weston Lewis

How to keep your dog’s coat looking at its best

Dogs, unlike cats, don’t sit and groom themselves by the hour. Actually, most dogs couldn?t care less about their appearance and couldn’t be happier than when they’re rolling around the ground on something stinky they?ve found. Unfortunately for them, essense of fido isnt a favorite scent of humans and wading through bales of shedding dog hair left on the furniture is way overrated. So until our canine companions totally take over, they’ll have to live with us grooming them and trying to keep their coats healthy and shiny looking.

Pet salons provide a full array of grooming services and many people opt to avail themselves of their services. Prices are usually reasonable and all the mess and fuss are left to the professionals. However, for a variety of reasons not everyone elects to go this route; some don?t bother grooming at all and others just do it themselves at home.

To varying degrees, all dogs require grooming. Long-haired dogs should be brushed and combed two or three times a week. Dogs with thick undercoats should have the dead hair combed out weekly. This will accelerate the shedding process and avoid hairy carpets and furniture. Dogs with shorter hair should still be brushed and rubbed down frequently to keep their coats and skin smart and healthy.

Just like any project, proper grooming requires both technique and tools of the trade. A fine-toothed comb should be used to rake fleas from the coat and for grooming soft, silky coated dogs. The shedding comb offers a skip-tooth design; its long teeth pull dead hair from the undercoat while the short teeth collect loose hair. It’s also an excellent tool for removing matted hair. The undercoat rake is especially designed for breeds with thick, heavy coats and undercoats. The teeth are thick, allowing the rake to attack the undercoat while being pulled gently through the dog?s hair.

Although bathing is an essential component in keeping your dog’s coat fresh and presentable, it should not be overdone. Most veterinarians suggest bathing a dog no more than once a month. Over bathing can dry a dog’s skin and lead to hot spots and itching, which can lead to scratching and infection. If a dog is to be bathed more than once a month, an aloe based shampoo and conditioners should be used and foods and supplements with Omega fatty acids should be given to bolster the production of coat oils.

Daily examinations, though admittedly a little too demanding and time consuming for the average pet owner, are a valuable tool in maintaining a dog’s appearance and good health. The dog should be checked for cuts, rashes, fleas, ticks, bumps and burrs and other hitchhikers that might attach to the coat. These should be removed and antibiotics or appropriate medications applied as necessary. Flea allergies and contact allergies can cause skin eruptions and should be treated immediately.

It should be remembered that good skin and a healthy coat begin with a good diet. A little amount of people food goes a long way for a dog. Usually, a good grade dry dog food will provide all of the nutrition and essential dietary elements necessary to keep a dog in good health. If a dog’s coat is dull or its skin appears itchy, sometimes a change in diet is necessary. However, most often vitamin or fatty acid supplements will eliminate the problem.  Also, make sure to get them plenty of dog treats that are high in protein, such as pig ears or other chewable treats.

As mentioned previously, professional groomers are readily available and should not be overlooked if grooming becomes too demanding. In addition to bathing and combing and thinning the dog?s undercoat, they also clean the ears and clip the dog’s nails. Actually, nails should be clipped weekly and often this is a chore that neither the dog nor the owner handle well. In recent years, the traveling groomer has emerged on the grooming scene. These professionals will come to your home in their Van or RV, which is fully equipped for grooming, and complete the full bathing and grooming process right in your driveway.

Our dogs ask little in return for the limitless love and devotion they bestow upon us. Helping them maintain their health by keeping them groomed is the least we can do to reward their affection.