What’s that smell? It’s probably your dog. Perhaps it’s time for an at-home spa day! Grooming is a key part of keeping your dog not only healthy but happy. It’s important to maintain their skin and coat as much as possible to avoid tangles, mats, and infections. Here are 8 of the most common questions you might have about grooming at home:
Groomer Edition: Top 8 In-Home Grooming Questions
How often should I give my dog a bath?
The answer will vary for all dog’s and dog owners. For dogs who love the great outdoors or tend to run, roll in dirt, and swim, a bath should be given more frequently. A dog who stays indoors more will not need to bathe as often. Some dogs can go months or even longer without a bath, but if you feel like your dog is getting a bit smelly- then it is time for a bath.
Ideally, a bath once a month should be given and perhaps even more so for dog’s who have skin conditions and/or allergies. Another good alternative is to use a waterless dry shampoo or bath wipes in between your dog’s next full groom to keep your pup clean and smelling fresh.
When should I take your dog to a professional groomer?
Grooming is an important part of pet parenthood, but how much can you do at home? Again, it greatly depends on your your dog’s breed and their needs. If your dog has matted hair, needs a specific type of haircut, or there’s something you don’t want to do (i.e. anal gland expression) then you may want to head to the groomer.
Can I use human shampoo on your dog?
Never use human shampoo or baby shampoo on your dog. Human shampoos are harsh and do not have the right level of pH to cater to dogs. Using human shampoo over time will dry out and damage your dog’s skin. There are a ton of dog shampoos for different coats, breeds, and conditions. Do a little snooping and find the best shampoo for your dog. Here are some of my favorites:
- Best for Smell | Nature’s Specialties Plum Silky (Price:
$ 49.99, now $39.99)
- Best for Sensitive Skin | Kelco Dr. Hypo (Price: $10.00)
- Using Oatmeal (great for your dog’s coat!) | Isle of Dogs (Price:
$ 9.99, now $7.99)
- Best for Whitening | Chris Christensen White on White (Price: $22.00)
- Best for Shedding Dogs | Nature’s Specialities EZ Out (Price: $26.99)
- Best for Flea Prevention | Kelco Dr. Fl33 (Price: $17.99)
What should be the correct water temperature to wash your dog in?
It is always best to use lukewarm water (around 37 degrees Celsius) and always check with your hands first before washing your dog. A dog’s body temperature and skin are different from humans, and hot water can burn dogs very easily. Water that is too cold can lead to spasms or even bloat. Bathwater should never be hotter or colder than what you’d run for a human baby. You should also try to avoid getting water into the dog’s ear because the moisture in the ear can lead to an infection.
Why does your dog continue to scratch after a bath?
There are a few reasons why your dog may continue to scratch after their bath. Shampoo that has not been properly rinsed entirely off can dry up and irritate your dog’s skin causing itchiness. When bathing, make sure to check and thoroughly rinse all the shampoo off of a dog’s skin and coat. A good rule of thumb is when you feel the coat is squeaky clean and you see no more suds, then you’ve properly rinsed off all the shampoo. It may also be the type of shampoo you use on your dog. Perhaps your dog’s skin is sensitive to the shampoo, so try using a different brand (look for one made for pup’s with sensitive skin).
My dog hates bath time. What should I do?
Not every dog will enjoy the water, especially when it comes to bath time. It takes some training and patience to build up their tolerance. There are many ways to help relieve some of the stress and anxiety for not only your dog, but yourself as well. Start with small actions such as turning on the water and slowly introducing your pup to it. When they get near the water, give them their favorite treat or toy. Keep trying until they get in the water, and make sure to give them a high-value treat to give a positive association to bathtime. It will make your life so much easier!
Should I express my dog’s anal glands at home?
Anal glands are the two sacs on either side of a dog’s anus. Basically, when your dog goes to the restroom, your dog will excrete anal gland juices and mark their territory. Unfortunately, some dogs don’t have the muscle or have softer stools so they are not releasing that liquid on their own. If you do not express the anal glands correctly, it’s possible to rupture the anal glands or worse. One of the biggest signs your dog may need anal gland expression is when they scoot their butt across the floor and a really strong almost fishy smell is coming from their behinds. Most vets and groomers will do this, but there are some instructional videos on how you can express the anal glands at home.
What should I do if I accidentally knick or cut your dog at home?
Grooming your dog can be tricky and accidents do happen. If you knick your dog either from brushing or clip the nails too short, do not panic. There are styptic powders you can use if you cut the quick of the nails too short. If it is a cut on the skin, you can use a water-based lubricant to wash the skin and then apply a small amount of Neosporin. If it’s still bleeding you want to first apply pressure before cleaning. If the wound looks bad and you’re not sure if your pup needs a vet, it’s probably best to play it safe and schedule a vet appointment.
What tips and tricks do you have to make grooming at home easy? Share below in the comments!