Details for keeping your dogs in tip top condition

Lucy Card is fully trained in clipping and grooming in particular working gundogs. She has her own professional parlour and is fully qualified, she can be contacted on 07799177016.

She is Located to the South of Sevenoaks.

DAILY AND WEEKLY GROOMING

Grooming a dog is not a straightforward procedure. The steps in the process will depend on a number of variables including size, coat type, condition of the dog, and temperament of the dog. By nature some dogs such as those with double coats and those with particularly long coats involve more grooming than shorthaired dogs with single coats. However, most of the basic tips included in this article will apply to most dogs. Although grooming can be a difficult and time-consuming process, it is necessary because poor grooming can lead to medical problems such as infections. The following steps are the basic procedures for grooming a dog.

Assemble all supplies. Before any grooming attempt, owners should ensure they have all necessary grooming items such as brushes, cleansers, trimmers, clippers or any other tools. Dogs will interpret an owner looking for misplaced supplies during the grooming session to be a signal to the end of the session and may take off and run before the owner returns.

Set the dog on the grooming table if you plan to use one. Grooming tables can be helpful for holding the dog in place and keeping them in a position which is comfortable for the groomer but some dogs may be intimidated on the table and may resist the process if you attempt to place them on the table. This step is optional and is a matter of personal preference.
Thoroughly brush the dog. It is important to brush the dog before bathing the dog because water will cause mats in the fur to shrink and become even more difficult to remove. Brushing will also remove loose fur, making the bathing process easier.
Trimming should also be done before bathing. This is because wet fur which has been cut will appear different as it dries. This can be avoided by trimming the fur while it is dry. Trimming the fur can be based on function or fashion. Some owners trim their dogs according to certain style guidelines and accepted cuts for the breed while others trim the fur for functional reasons such as improved vision.
Clean the eyes. The eyes should be cleaned carefully to gently remove any discharge accumulating in the corner of the eye. A damp towel can be used to gently remove this discharge. Lightly colored breeds may require additional care if the discharge has stained the fur near the eyes.
Clean the ears. The ears should be cleaned regularly to avoid infections. Cleaning involves applying a small amount of commercially available cleaning solution and using a cotton ball to swab the remaining solution out along with any dirt or wax which has accumulated. Dogs with pendant ears (such as the Labrador Retriever) are more susceptible to ear infections than dogs with upright or prick ears (such as the German Shepherd) because the pendant ears can prevent the water in the ears from drying out quickly after a dog has been in the water. This moist environment is ideal for bacteria to grow.


Clean the teeth. Always use toothpaste designed specifically for dogs when cleaning their teeth because the dogs ingest the toothpaste. In brushing your dog's teeth, use brushes or other devices designed for the dental care of dogs to gently rub the teeth. Dental care can be achieved through regular brushings, administering raw bones or chew toys designed to remove plaque, and regular cleanings by a veterinarian.


Trim the nails. The nails should be trimmed regularly to avoid overgrowth which can make walking difficult. In trimming the nails, remove only a small portion of the end of the nail at a time, being careful to avoid the quick growing beneath the nail. In light colored nails the quick is visible as a pink mass beneath the surface of the nail. The quick is not distinguishable in dogs with dark colored nails. To avoid the quick, trim the nails in small increments until an oval which is pink or gray begins to appear. If you accidentally cut the quick it will be painful for the dog and cause bleeding. Flour is a household ingredient which can stop the bleeding quickly.
Bathe the dog. To bathe a dog, place him in the tub gently and secure him if necessary. Some dogs are tolerant of bathing and require only minimal restraint while others are more nervous and may require additional restraint methods. Wet the dog thoroughly and then apply a shampoo specifically for dogs. It is also important to select a shampoo which is recommended for your dog's coat type. After applying the soap, work it in gently and then rinse the soap off the dog completely. Be sure to rinse thoroughly as soap left on the skin can dry the skin out and result in excessive itching.
Dry the dog. This is a matter of personal preference. Some owners prefer to let the fur dry naturally while others towel dry first and then use a blow dryer to completely dry the fur. Hair which is dried properly may look more appealing after the bathing session but unless it is a particularly cold day, the dog will not be harmed if the fur is allowed to air dry.

CARING FOR YOUR DOGS EARS

Caring for your dog's ears can be a simple, yet very important task for any dog owner. Clean, healthy ears are important for a dog's health, as well as his ability to hear. Here are a few tips for keeping your dog's ears clean and healthy:

Take your dog to your veterinarian to learn how to properly care for your dog's ears. Your vet can recommend products and the proper method to clean your dog's ears. Ask your vet how often your dog's ears should be cleaned, and be sure to clean them using the methods and products recommended by your veterinarian. If you do not feel comfortable cleaning the dog's ears yourself after your vet shows you how, be sure to make an appointment to have the vet do it.

Try using a baby wipe to clean the outside of your dog's ears. Simply use the wipe to gently clean away any build-up the dog may have outside of his ear canals. For a dog with cropped ears, a damp Q-tip may be used outside of his ear canal to remove any wax or other build-up. Make sure that you do NOT stick your fingers, Q-tip or any other objects into your dog's ears unless instructed by your veterinarian.
If you have a long-haired breed of dog, be sure to trim the hair in his ears regularly. This will help to avoid build-up as well as limiting his excuses for not coming when called.
Be sure to check for ear mites. If your dog is scratching his ears a lot or rubbing them on any surface he can find, check inside for any mites. If you find a waxy build-up or little bugs living in there, contact your veterinarian immediately to determine the best method for treating the mites.
If you notice your dog's ears are swollen or have any "gross" build-up in them, be sure to consult your vet to be sure the problem isn't a bigger one. If there is a problem, your vet can prescribe an otic ointment to help take down the swelling or cure the problem. If the swelling is really bad in the ear, they may prescribe Prednisone or a similar medicine to help with the swelling.
My dog has a problem with her ears swelling to the point of being almost closed, regardless of how often they are cleaned and cared for. The only thing we've found to help her is 20mg of Prednisone given as prescribed by our veterinarian. Though this isn't a prescription a dog can be on for long periods of time, as it has other negative effects if taken regularly, it works very well for quite some time after she takes it. Hopefully this won't be your dog's situation, but know that your vet can be an excellent resource for ideas of how to treat the "really big" problems, as well as the everyday problems.

Keep a close eye on your dog's ears on a regular basis, keep them clean and trimmed and hopefully they will stay clean and healthy. If problems arise, don't be afraid to ask your vet. I hope this has been helpful and that your dog stays happy and healthy!


CARE FOR YOUR DOGS HAIR AND COAT
Just like people, all dogs have different types of hair or fur, usually referred to as the dog's coat. It goes to follow then, that just as different people need to take care of their hair in different ways, a dog's coat should be taken care of in different ways as well. In addition, different types of the year require different types of ways to care for your dog's coat because of shedding or non-shedding seasons.

It's important to care for your dog's hair every day, no matter the season. A simple brushing and/or combing will suffice for most breeds. Dogs don't always enjoy this, so it's important that you remain calm to help the dog. Over time, it is hoped your dog will get used to it, if not even begin to enjoy it.

When dogs aren't heavily shedding, the long-haired breeds can become matted. If this happens, it needs to be taken care of right away, otherwise you risk having it get much worse, or providing permanent damage to the dog's coat or even their skin. Try to untangle the mat first with your fingers, but if that doesn't work, cut it with scissors very carefully.
When bathing your dog, make sure you have all the supplies ready, otherwise your dog is likely to jump out when your back is turned. You should then make sure your dog is wet all the way through his coat, and apply shampoo. Rinse your dog as thoroughly as you can, wring out extra water, and dry him with a towel.
Fleas and ticks are more likely to make an appearance on a dog when the weather is warmer. There are a number of different collars, sprays, and shampoos that can help with the prevention of this. It's also a good idea to inspect your dog's coat when he comes in from being outdoors for a long time, or if he has been in heavy brush.
Some types of dogs will only require you to groom them on your own, yet other breeds will require you to take them to a professional groomer. A veterinarian can help you with this decision. Of course, even though you could do the grooming on your own, you still may wish to seek the help of a professional groomer to save you time.
After you have decided to take your dog to a professional groomer, you will need to discuss with them the exact cut you wish for your dog, as what you want may sometimes differ from the breed standard. The groomer's cost and the frequency of the grooming will vary depending on the dog breed.

TRIMMING NAILS

When it comes to my dogs, nothing makes me more nervous than having to clip their nails. In fact, I put off the task so long that I eventually hear the "click-clicking" on the floor from their long nails. That is my signal that a nail trim is long overdue.

A key reason for my difficulty clipping dog nails is that my dogs do not like their feet touched. I did not handle their paws as much as I should have when they were pups. So take a word of advice from me: if you acquire a new puppy, get her comfortable with having her paws and nails handled.

You have to purchase dog nail clippers. You should not try to trim a dog's nails with clippers you use on your own nails. A dog's nails are very hard and thick. Clippers designed for human fingernails or toenails simply will not cut dog nails.


Position small dogs on your lap for easy access to their nails. Large dogs can be placed on a table or couch. You can also sit in the floor to cut your large dog's nails if he gets nervous on a table. You should talk to your dog throughout the clipping to reassure him that everything is going to be fine.
Grasp the dog's paw firmly in your hand. Hold the nail clippers so the movable part is next to your fingers and the stationary part of the clippers is against your palm.
You want the cut to be made from the bottom of the nail upwards. You should never cut your dogs nails from the top down. One way to remember which way to hold the clippers is that the back of your fingers should be touching the pad of your dog's foot.
When clipping your dog's nails, start out by making short cuts. This will allow you to see how close you are getting to the nail's quick. Keep in mind that dogs who are not accustomed to having their feet handled will jerk and pull against you. This may lead you to believe that you are hurting them. As long as you do not cut your dog's nails into the quick, clipping their nails is painless.
If your dog has white or pale colored nails, you should be able to see where the vein or quick is located in the nail. This area will be pink. If your dog has dark nails, you will be able to identify when you are getting close to the quick when the center of the nail starts turning dark.
If you happen to cut your dog's nail into the quick, it will bleed. You can apply pressure and powder to the tip of the nail. This should stop the bleeding. If the bleeding is profuse and doesn't subside within eight to ten minutes, you may have to take your dog to the vet.