Why do dogs need grooming?
Grooming is essential to dogs in order not only to keep their coat healthy, but also to maintain their clean appearance. Grooming may sound like a simple task, but in fact it includes many activities: from bathing to hair trimming, even to pedicure, and more. Grooming is not just about cleaning. It’s also about giving your dog a full-body general check, including the eyes, nose, ears, and so on, to see if he has any abnormalities or illnesses. However, grooming at professionals can cost you quite an amount of money. Hence, many dog owners prefer performing all possible tasks at home such as bathing, hair trimming, and nail clipping, while leaving some other more difficult tasks for professionals such as pulling ear hair or cleaning the anal glands. So what are things you need to know for DIY grooming?
First thing first, not all dogs are the same in terms of sizes, types of coats, and characteristics.
As you’ve known, there are various dog breeds that totally differ in sizes. For example, some dogs such as chihuahua, yorkies are pretty small, and they do not grow much in size. Whereas other dogs, such as huskies, are comparably bigger. The types of coats are different too for different breeds. Some dogs naturally come from an arid climate, which results in thicker coats. On the other hand, dogs living in tropical areas tend to have thinner coats.
Last but not least, characteristics of each dog are varied too. Even two same-breed dogs can behave differently.
In this article, we will mainly discuss about how to groom small dogs most effectively. We will cover the tips that dog owners can follow, based on the common characteristics of small dogs. However, do keep in mind that since dogs are different in various ways (even when they are similarly small, it does not mean that their coats or their characteristics are exactly the same), grooming routine should be adjusted according, and we will also cover some tips for you as well.
Bathing small dogs
Bathing is as important as trimming nails or hair. Usually you can use the bathtubs for dog bathing, but if your dog is small, you may want to consider using sinks or wash tubs instead. The reason is that for small-sized dogs, bath tubs may be too big and it would be more difficult to keep things in order.
Next… Hair trimming. Although they are similar in size, hair trimming can be different due to the different types of hair.
If talking about just hair, we can spend the entire day just discussing about it. However, to keep things simple and easy to understand, we generally categorize dogs into short-haired breeds and long-haired breeds. Obviously, the hair length has a great impact on the grooming. So how does it make an impact?
For short-haired: As you may have guessed, short hair is easier to deal with. There’s not much that you need to do, really. All you need to do is to give him a nice bath, then dry the hair well. Brushing would be great too, and it would be pretty easy for these breeds.
For long-haired: Although long hair can be a bit more complicated to deal with, it is not very difficult. For these breeds, brushing and combing is essential because the hair may get tangled and trap in dirt or unwanted debris. Before bathing, you can give your dog a nice combing session to remove any tangles or dirt, so that bathing can be easier for both of you. Drying hair is also important as long hair tend to take more time to dry than short hair.
Hair mats can be another issue that you will encounter. Since the hair is long, it easily gets tangled all the time and forms hair mats. Mats are uncomfortable for dogs, especially when they are at the paws. Removing mats does take a lot of time as well, so the best way to deal with this problem is prevention at first place. This is why brushing and combing is so important because this can totally help to prevent mats from forming. You can use a metal comb to brush your dog thoroughly over the body to make sure even the inner hair is brushed.
Nail clipping: Dos and don’ts
The next task on the list is nail clipping. Nail clipping is totally doable at home. For the first few times, you can ask a professional to give a demonstration and some instructions for nail clipping. With proper tools such as a nail clipper, you can easily clip your dog’s nails. The only difficulty in this process is how to keep your dog stay still while you are clipping his nails, because generally dogs don’t like anyone playing around with their paws. So what you can do is to get both of you familiarize with the task, and try to do it as quick as possible. Being quick also requires precision as well. Watch out for all the blood vessels and nerves, cause you don’t want to accidentally trim them.
One tip for nail clipping is that it would be easier if done after bathing, as water makes the nails softer and easily trimmed. Thus, clipping nail can be faster.
Nail clipping does not depend much on the breeds or the sizes of dogs. Even for small dogs, the process is the same. You still need a clipper and follow instructions so that you don’t cut and damage the nerves and vessels residing in the nails.
A few more tips …
Small dogs are usually energetic ones. Although not all of them are playful and energetic, it is still recommended that you spend some time playing with your dog before grooming. This is a time for your dog to use up his energy so that when it comes to grooming, it does not run around much, which makes it easier for you to give him a bath or a haircut.
Another tip is choose your grooming tools wisely. Small dogs need a set of grooming tools that are appropriate in size as well. For example, using large brushes on dogs is just like using gardening tools on your hair! Doesn’t sound so comfortable at all, does it? Thus, if you have small dogs, it is good to get proper tools that are suitable for your dog’s size.
In short, these are the few things that you can keep in mind when grooming a small dog. In general, the grooming process goes pretty similarly for all dogs, but small dogs require few extra cautions and tool considerations due to its size. Other than that, you can do the grooming as you normally do (if you have done it before), or you can follow professional’s instructions for the first few times and do it your own next time. Overall it should be a fun bonding time for both of you, so we hope that you can enjoy it as much as your dog does.