Just like humans, dogs also feel refreshed after a good clean. Regular and appropriate care will make our pets look healthy and beautiful, something that they are surely grateful for. As to how often a dog needs to be persuaded to be cleaned depends a great deal on the kind of dog, its size, type of fur and the amount of time it spends outdoors.
Dogs do not like to have baths and they do not lick themselves clean like cats do. They clean themselves by scratching, shaking their bodies, and using tiny bites. The shake themselves off, for instance, when they get wet, or when there is something on their backs that they wish to remove. They can use their hind legs to scratch their necks, chests and bellies, while they use their front legs to clean their noses and heads. When they itch, they bite and then lick the parts that they cannot scratch.
Naturally, conscientious owners can offer additional assistance with thorough cleaning to complement instinctive behaviour.
To comb the dog’s coat, chose a brush or comb that suits your dog’s fur. Long-haired dogs should use a brush with metal teeth with rounded tips, short-haired dogs are best cleaned with a bristle brush.
Depending on breed and fur type, dogs’ coats should be brushed at least once a week. The best solution is to brush the dog thoroughly every day to assist with the natural shedding of hair, this will also allow us to keep track of moulting. Our pet will find the gentle scratching of the brush to be quite pleasant, and this will also loosen dandruff, allowing the skin to breathe better.
While brushing the dog, pay attention to the condition of the skin and any vegetable matter, thistles and sticky pieces caught in the fur, which need to be removed to avoid irritation.
The frequency of bathing is also dependent on breed and fur type, as well as the amount of time the dog spends playing outdoors. Remember that excessively frequent bathing will remove protective oils and naturally secreted fat from the skin and the fur, which may make the coat and the skin drier and more sensitive. In general, dogs should be given a bath once every three months.
A few tips for bathing:
– Put balls of cotton wool in your dog’s ears, to prevent sudden head movements resulting in water getting into the auditory canals
– Stand the dog in the bathtub or in a plastic tub to stop it escaping, as dogs generally tend to dislike wet environments
– Use a gentle dog shampoo
– Afterwards, use a towel to dry off the dog’s fur – the dog will also help you by shaking itself off vigorously
Dogs’ toenails need to be clipped regularly. Use a special tool for this job, available in pet stores. This will allow you to cut only as much as necessary, as dog’s toenails have blood vessels and nerves in them that are rather easy to damage.
Cleaning the ears may be required in dogs susceptible to ear disease once every two weeks. Wipe only the outer parts using an oily rag or cotton-wool ball, but do not put anything inside your dog’s ears.
Cleaning the eyes is not a task to be performed regularly, it is hardly ever required in healthy dogs.
For cleaning teeth, provide a special dry food or chewy toys specifically for cleaning teeth, and then no extra attention is required. If necessary, dogs’ teeth can be cleaned using special dog toothbrushes and toothpaste!