Follow these dos and don’ts and do it yourself!
Photos Courtesy A Dog’s Day Out, Haymarket
Owning pets can be a lot of work, but it can also be really rewarding, particularly if you learn to do some of the grooming yourself. We spoke with the pros at A Dog’s Day Out in Haymarket and All Around Town Mobile Pet Spa which serves Prince William, and compiled this list of dos and don’ts to help you reap the rewards of caring for and cleaning your pet.
Make sure you have the correct tools to brush fur and remove mats from hair and brush your pet regularly. “A rotating pin comb or long tooth metal comb is recommended for non-shedding dogs like bichons, poodles, and doodles as they tend to get matts,” said Andrea Payne, owner of A Dog’s Day Out.
Bond with your pet through grooming. Keep your pet as calm as possible by introducing new grooming tools slowly. “Sit down with your dog in a relaxing play spot. Set the dryer on the floor among the toys. Let the dog sniff the dryer. When he spends time near the dryer, offer a treat,” Payne said.
Remember to check your pets eyes, ears, and nose. Weekly examinations will help avoid buildups of dirt or ear wax. Taking the time to touch, see, and inspect these areas early in your pet’s life will make the process easier over time.
Don’t be in a rush to cut your pet’s nails, do so in dark lighting, or guess where you need to cut the nails. “Be conservative. If your dog has dark nails, shine a penlight on them so you can see the quick [the vein within the nail] and not guess. However, if you do clip the quick of the nail use some styptic powder and apply pressure to stop the bleeding,” Payne said.
Don’t give a dog a bath if it has mats. According to Kim Yeick, owner of All Around Town Mobile Pet Spa, “People think matts are a clump of matted hair. It’s actually a dead coat of hair that is close to the dog’s skin and must be removed before giving the dog a bath.”
Don’t give a dog a bath without knowing the proper steps. “Start on the body first,” Payne said, “and work your way down the legs and tail. Wash the head last.” Both Payne and Yeick agree it’s best to put cotton balls in the dog’s ears to avoid getting water in the ear canal. And finally, Yeick suggests purchasing shampoos and conditioners that reflect changes in the weather. During the winter a dog’s skin can get dry, so moisturizing shampoos and conditioners are important.