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Pet Care » Grooming Your Dog

Grooming Your Dog

Tips to make the most of your canine grooming sessions

If your dog is like millions of other dogs on this planet, he or she just loves a good rub down. However, when it comes time to groom your dog, you should plan to do more than just scratch around their ears and finger-comb their whiskers and leg feathers.

If you really want to get serious, you can purchase a special table to groom your dog on - some even have a "lazy Susan" revolving top for simplifying the process. There are special pet dryers, disposable doggy towels, clippers and shears for every hair type and grooming need, nail trimmers as well as grinders, and "no-sit" supports to keep Rover from laying down on the job. Most of us don't want to get quite so sophisticated, but as dog owners, we should know a few important things when it comes to grooming our canine companions.

Approach a grooming session with your dog as much more than just a way of keeping in close contact with your furry friend. Use the time to thoroughly exam their overall health condition. Rely on your sense of smell, as well as sight and touch, to identify any problem areas.

While brushing and/or combing your dog, peek in their ears, eyes, and mouth. Run your hands over every inch of their body and look for any raw patches, scabs, sores, tumors, telltale signs of fleas, etc. Pay particular attention to the areas that you seldom see or stroke while petting your dog and playing together.

If you're comfortable giving your pooch a manicure and pedicure, while trimming their nails, closely exam the webbing between their toes and look over the pads of each foot. You can even perform a teeth cleaning near the end of this bow-wow beauty treatment. Make note of any areas that you should keep an eye on and follow-up with your veterinarian if you find anything that gives you immediate cause for concern.

Praise your dog for his or her good behavior throughout the grooming period. If you continue to talk calmly and reassuringly, your dog will likely sit still for as long as you need to get the job done. Keep things short and sweet, but be as thorough as you can.

If your dog simply can't sit still for his or her regularly scheduled grooming and they're in need of a trim or good brushing, consider taking them to a professional groomer. The horrors that potentially lay hidden beneath layers of matted fur can be quite surprising. Ear infections, tooth decay, bite marks that go unnoticed, and painfully long nails are just a few reasons to groom your dog as often as possible.

Whether you choose to conclude your dog's grooming session with a new pair of "ear bows" or a splash of doggy cologne, don't be surprised if your dog has other ideas of how to finish your time together. Be prepared for Rover to undo all of your hard work with a good roll in the nearest pile of dirt or biggest puddle of muddy water. Oh well - it's just one of the things that dogs do best. It will also give you the incentive to keep your appointment for his next grooming go-around.

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