The dog parent’s guide to proper pupper grooming at home

Gabrielle Yatco
The dog parent’s guide to proper pupper grooming at home
Save yourself the trouble, stay safe in your bubble. These budget-friendly at-home grooming steps are for you and your doggo!

The pandemic has turned many into pooch parents. But with great pooches come great responsibility, and an essential part of being a pet owner is pet hygiene.

Worry not! Here’s your guide to your pupper’s proper full-on spa day in the comfort of your own home.

How often should bath time be for your pup?

Bath frequency depends on your dog’s fur length and health status. Dogs with “shorter, oily coats” must be bathed once a month due to the makeup of their fur and the protection from water and dirt provided by their natural oils, as explained by Dr. Beverly Mason of Dedham Veterinary Associates in a PetCoach article.

On the contrary, long-haired pups must be bathed once a week. And for dogs with skin conditions, bath time must be every five days or as prescribed by their veterinarian.

Weather conditions must also be taken into consideration. As the Philippines is a tropical country, the best time for dog baths here is between 9 am and 10 am, especially during summer, as recommended by Dr. Geny Yatco of YGY Animal Clinic in Tanauan City, Batangas.

Avoid bathing your dogs at noontime to prevent abrupt changes in your dog’s body temperature. Don’t bathe them in the late afternoon or evening either.

“Dogs get cold easily. If you don’t dry them well, they might catch a cold the next day,” Dr. Yatco says.

So during the rainy season, schedule baths every two weeks when the skies are clear and the wind isn’t blowing, or only when necessary.

Pre-bath ritual
  1. Coat brushing

It’s best to brush your dog’s coat every day to help with shedding and to spread their natural oils. Remember to include the activity in your pre-bath ritual as well to help remove dead skin cells and untangle the fur, making soaping, shampooing, and rinsing easier.

  1. Nail trimming

Keeping dogs’ nails short can help protect them from slipping during bath time. A pedicure twice a month using a clipper dedicated to the size of your dog is good for maintenance, according to Dr. Yatco.

Physically active dogs might need less trimming as they tend to have shorter nails due to their nails coming into regular contact with rough surfaces. So schedule those walks or playtime for your doggo’s regular dose of exercise and nail maintenance. It’s a win-win!

  1. Toothbrushing

Unfortunately, many dogs don’t like toothbrushing and are difficult to handle during the activity. Good thing, daily toothbrushing for dogs isn’t necessary and once or twice a week may be enough, says Dr. Yatco.

She adds that enzymatic toothpaste is a great option but mild white toothpaste can also do the job.

Dental treats are also an alternative for dogs who dislike having their teeth brushed. They may be better than not doing anything at all for your dog’s oral hygiene, but nothing still beats hitting the spot on your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush.

Bath essentials
  • Tub (at least 1 foot deep) for small breeds
  • Collar
  • Leash
  • Ear plugs or cotton balls
  • Brush
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Towel
  • Blow-dryer
  • Ear wash or baby oil
Steps for a proper pupper bath
  1. When done with the pre-bath ritual, put some plugs — cotton balls will do — in your dog’s ears before you wet its coat. Plugs help prevent water from getting inside your dog’s ears. Water in their ears could irritate and tempt them to scratch, possibly leading to wounding and infection.
  2. Wet your dog’s fur thoroughly.
  3. Soap up your pup from head to toe to remove all the dirt from their skin and lather for 3 to 5 minutes. For dogs sensitive to the cold, aim for a shorter lathering period. For big dogs with thick coats, make sure to massage each body part well.
  4. Rinse well.
  5. Next up is shampoo, lathering again for 5 to 10 minutes. If you’re using medicated shampoo, let it stay on your doggo for 30 minutes.
  6. Rinse well.
  7. Towel-dry your pooch from head to toe and then blow-dry its fur carefully.
  8. Lastly, clean your dog’s ears using ear wash (5 to 10 drops) or baby oil (3 drops). For even distribution after application, avoid using cotton buds. Instead, massage your pup’s ear flaps (pinna) and the base of its ears.
Notice skin issues on your pooch?

Consult your vet first before buying any medication. When you get a diagnosis for your dog’s skin condition, your vet can prescribe the proper treatment, which might include medicated shampoo or soap to add to your bath-time routine for a fixed time period.

Return to using regular pet soap and shampoo after your vet’s recommended treatment duration, but book another appointment if your dog’s skin is still acting up.

When all is well with your pup, get your start on that pre-bath ritual. No matter how much they hate the toothbrush or bath time, your doggos will still thank you for it. –

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