What’s that smell? It’s probably your pup. Perhaps it’s time for an at-home spa day! Grooming is a key part of keeping your dog not only healthy but happy. It’s important to maintain their skin and coat as much as possible to avoid tangles, mats, and infections. Here are 8 of the most common questions you might have about grooming at home:
1. How often should I give my dog a bath?
The answer will vary for all dog's and dog owners. For dogs who love the great outdoors or tend to run, roll in dirt, and swim, a bath should be given more frequently. A dog who stays indoors more will not need to bathe as often. Some dogs can go months or even longer without a bath, but if you feel like your dog is getting a bit smelly- then it is time for a bath. Ideally, a bath once a month should be given and perhaps even more so for dog's who have skin conditions and/or allergies. Another good alternative is to use a waterless dry shampoo or bath wipes in between your dog's next full groom to keep your pup clean and smelling fresh.
2. When should I take my puppy to a professional groomer?
Grooming is an important part of pet ownership, but how much can you do at home? Again it greatly depends on your dog’s breed and their needs. If your dog has matted hair, needs a specific type of haircut, or there’s something you don’t want to do (i.e. anal gland expression) then you may want to head to the groomer. For puppies, we recommend grooming as soon as possible after they get their shots, so groomers can train and work with your pup on getting them used to grooming.
3. Can I use human shampoo on my dog?
Never use human shampoo or baby shampoo on your pets. Human shampoos are harsh and do not have the right level of pH to cater to dogs. Using a human shampoo overtime will dry out and damage your dog’s skin. There are a ton of dog shampoos for different coats, breeds and conditions. Do a little snooping and find the best shampoo for your dog. Don’t forget to apply conditioner afterwards to restore moisture back into the coat. Here are some of our favorites:
b. Best for smell: Nature's Specialties Plum Silky
c. Best for sensitive skin: Kelco Dr. Hypo
d. Using oatmeal: Isle of Dogs
e. Best for whitening: Chris Christensen White on White
f. Best for Shedding Dogs: Nature’s Specialities EZ Out
g. Best medicated shampoo (if applicable to your dog’s skin condition): Davis Veterinary
h. Flea shampoo: Kelco Dr. Fl33
* Add this shampoo if your dog currently has fleas. Please note that this does NOT prevent fleas from jumping back on your dog, so make sure to put on flea prevention on your dog every month and to treat your home as well.
4. What should be the correct water temperature to wash my puppy in?
It is always best to use lukewarm water (around 37 degrees Celsius) and always check with your hands first before washing your pup. A dog's body temperature and skin is different from humans, and hot water can burn dogs very easily. Water that is too cold can lead to spasms or even bloat. Bath water should never be hotter or colder than what you'd run for a human baby. You should also try to avoid getting water into the dog’s ear because the moisture in the ear can lead to an infection.
5. Why does my puppy continue to scratch after a bath?
There are a few reasons why your pup may continue to scratch after their bath. Shampoo that has not been properly rinsed entirely off can dry up and irritate your dog’s skin causing itchiness. When bathing, make sure to check and thoroughly rinse all the shampoo off of a dog’s skin and coat. A good rule of thumb is when you feel the coat is squeaky clean and you see no more suds, then you’ve properly rinsed off all the
shampoo. It may also be the type of shampoo you use on your dog. Perhaps your dog’s skin is sensitive to the shampoo, so try using a different brand (look for one made for pup’s with sensitive skin). If your pup still continues to scratch and show signs of skin irritation (i.e. redness, swelling, open sores) please contact your vet.
6. My puppy hates bath time. What should I do?
Not every dog will enjoy the water, especially when it comes to bath time. It takes some training and patience to build up their tolerance. There are many ways to help relieve some of the stress and anxiety for not only your pup, but yourself as well. Start with small actions such as turning on the water and slowly introducing your pup to it. When they get near the water, give them their favorite treat or toy. Keep trying until they get in the water, and make sure to give them a high value treat to give a positive association to bathtime (i.e. treats or their favorite toy). It will make your life so much easier!
7. Should I express my dog's anal glands at home?
Anal glands are the two sacs on either side of a dog's anus. Basically, when your dog goes to the restroom, your dog will excrete anal gland jucies and mark their territory. Unfortunately, some dogs don't have the muscle or have softer stools so they are not releasing that liquid on their own. If you do not express the anal glands correctly, it's possible to rupture the anal glands or worse. One of the biggest signs your dog may need anal gland expression is when they scoot their butt across the floor and a really strong almost fishy smell is coming from their behinds. Most vets and groomers will do this, but there are some instructional videos on how you can express the anal glands at home.
My favorite product that can help with your dog or cat's GI tract, and inadvertently, their anal glands, is Wellnergy Pet's Probiotic:
8. What should I do if I accidentally knick or cut my dog at home?
Grooming your own dog can be tricky and accidents do happen. If you knick your dog either from brushing or clip the nails too short, do not panic. There are styptic powders you can use if you cut the quick of the nails too short. If it is a cut on the skin, you can use a water-based lubricant to wash the skin and then apply a small amount of Neosporin. If it's still bleeding you want to first apply pressure before cleaning. If the wound looks bad and you’re not sure if your pup needs a vet, it’s probably best to play it safe and schedule a vet appointment.
We know that this quarantine at home may be ruff on your pup's grooming needs, but we hope these tips help you keep your pup clean and healthy while staying home. What tips and tricks do you have to make grooming at home easy? Share below in the comments! If you are a professional groomer, checkout Wellnergy Pets Starter Kit for Groomers to help give your customers the best in veterinary formulated grooming care today!
About the Author:
Jessica Huang is born and raised in sunny Southern California. She believes that dogs are our best friends, our family, and our most loyal and true companions. She earned her dog grooming certificate from California Pet Grooming School, Cypress. When the opportunity came to own a dog grooming business, she decided to bet on herself and started her own mobile dog grooming business, Pupwash911. Even though she only has a few years of grooming experience, she continues to invest in her business and grooming education. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for fresh and new ideas that will help take her grooming skills to the next level. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog, Bella, traveling, watching horror films, and trying new boba shops. For more information for all your grooming needs and questions, feel free to reach out Jessica on Instagram @pupwash911 or visit www.pupwash911.com.