Grooming is an important part of caring for your pet and keeping him or her healthy. Both cats and dogs need regular brushing, and animals with longer hair (e.g., , poodles, Yorkshire terriers) require frequent trips to a professional groomer.
How much you need to groom your dog, and how often, will depend on their breed and coat type but it’s important to remember that dog grooming isn’t just about keeping them beautiful.
You can keep your dog’s paws healthy by:
- Monitoring your dog for any limping.
- Checking their feet and footpads regularly to ensure there are no wounds or infections.
- Some dogs can have extra hair between their footpads which can become matted or catch debris (e.g. grass seeds). Carefully trimming that extra hair can help.
- Removing any debris such as grass seeds and burrs around the paws.
Follow these steps to best trim your dog’s nails:
- Follow these steps to keep your dog’s nails in good condition:
- Dog’s nails should be trimmed as required and this tends to vary between individual dogs.
- Basically, if the nails are getting too long they can be trimmed. Trim a small amount off the tip.
- Talk to your vet about how to trim nails. They can show you how to do it safely, what length is suitable and what type of clipper to use. It’s very important not to trim too short as this can cause bleeding and pain.
Note: Adequate daily exercise should help to keep nails in good condition and at a good length as nails are naturally worn down. However, nails which don’t touch the ground surface such as the ‘thumb’ nails higher up on the feet, may need to be trimmed occasionally to prevent them from getting too long, curling over and digging into the skin.
- For nails that are transparent you can usually see a pinkish area, which is where the blood vessel runs. When trimming nail tips, it is important to stay well away from the blood vessel, if the blood vessel is cut then the dog will bleed and feel pain. For opaque dark nails it can be harder to know where the blood vessel is, so check with your local vet.
- Sometimes a nail file can be used to smooth rough edges.
Here are some tips for ensuring your dog’s ears are healthy:
It’s helpful to know the signs of an ear problem. These can include head shaking, ear discharge, ear scratching, rubbing ears along the floor or furniture, redness/swelling around the ear opening; sensitivity around the head area; a head tilt and an unpleasant odour.
- Talk to your vet if you think your dog has an ear problem and they can check.
- Vets usually do a routine ear check using an otoscope when doing annual health check-ups. If they see an issue they may prescribe medicated ear drops or ear cleaner.
- If your dog is not showing any signs of an ear problem then for most dogs it is best to leave their ears alone. This is because putting ear products into healthy ears can potentially cause a problem.
To help keep dog’s teeth and gums healthy:
- Provide safe chew items daily.
- Chewing is a basic and natural behaviour for dogs and they need regularopportunities to chew on appropriate items.
- Chewing also helps to keep teeth and gums healthy.
- Chew items include dog chew toys and dental chews.
- You may also offer a raw meaty bone once or twice a week. Always talk to your vet first to check raw meaty bones are suitable for your particular dog. Remember, bones must be raw and human-grade.
- Monitor your dog’s eye health.
- Healthy eyes generally appear clear and bright and they are usually symmetrical (including symmetrical pupils). Squinting or holding an eye closed also often signals an eye problem.
- It’s helpful to know the signs of an eye problem such as eye discharge and redness. Squinting or holding an eye closed also often signals an eye problem.
- If you notice any eye changes take your pet to the local vet as soon as possible. Eye problems can worsen rapidly.
- Hair around the eye area that is obscuring vision to help prevent irritation should be trimmed. Blunt-nosed safety scissors should be used, always pointing them away from the eyes and taking extra care not to touch the eyes.