Proper Bathing and Hygiene for your Dog

dog wrapped in bath towel

We all want our pets to have good hygiene. After all, they kiss us and even share our beds. Even though we are busier than ever, we need to find the time to groom our dogs on a regular basis. It is very important to the health and happiness of your dog.

Bathing

The most obvious pace to start is to bathe your dog. Vets recommend bathing dogs once or twice every three months. If your dog just went for a good roll in the mud, you should still give it a bath. After all, you want your dog and your house to be clean. However, dogs have thin, sensitive skin. When over-bathed, their skin can become irritated and dry. Their fur can tangle and lose its shine.

Be sure to brush your dog’s hair prior to bathing. This will remove matted hair and keep your dog from shedding in the house. Many people like to bath their dogs outside. The bathtub or sink works too. Don’t put shampoo and water on your pet’s head, since their ears and eyes are sensitive. It is better to wash your pet’s face with a damp washcloth.

If this all sounds like too much of a hassle, you could always take your dog to a dog wash.

Tip: If your pet tends to dislike bath time, give them a toy to play with to distract them.

Oral Care

We know how important it is to brush our own teeth. It is no less important for your pet. It is best to start brushing their teeth when they are puppies, so they get used to the practice. However, you can start at any time. Let them get used to your hand in and near their mouth by rubbing your finger on their lips and gums. Then, graduate to an actual brush once they are comfortable. It is recommended to use a toothbrush and toothpaste formulated for dogs specifically. Don’t use a human toothbrush; it can hurt their gums. Doggy toothpaste tastes like meat or cheese, so they actually like it. It may take some time and lots of treats before they are comfortable. That is fine.

Most vets recommend brushing two to six times a week. Without regular brushing, many dogs have gum disease by 3 or 4 years old. So, the sooner you start the better. Chew toys and special treats also help with plaque and tartar build up. Plus, your pet loves them!

Tip: Only brush the outside of their teeth since plaque doesn’t build up on the inside. Always brush in a circular motion, not side to side.

Grooming

We all love our pets, but sometimes their fur is just too much! To avoid your couch becoming a hairball (and needing to hire a cleaning service), it is best to brush your dog’s fur once a week. If your dog has fine or long hair, you should brush their hair on a daily basis. Brushing your pet’s hair reduces tangles, removes dirt, and distributes natural oils. It is a mini-bath for your pet.

Tip: Always brush away from the skin not towards it. Don’t forget the tail.

Nails and Feet

Cutting your dog’s nails can be a challenge, especially if either of you had an unpleasant experience in the past. Always use special dog nail clippers or scissors, not those made for humans. A rotary tool can be used but will take longer. Never cut into the quick, it is painful for your pup. If you do cut it, put a little cornstarch on the quick to stop the bleeding. If your dog is fearful of the nail cutting process, don’t force the situation. Use treats, and praise your pet for their efforts.

Your dog’s nails should not touch the ground while walking. If you can hear Fido coming, it is time for a trim. Your dog’s nails naturally file themselves if they walk or play outside. If your pet is inside most of the time, you will have to trim its nails more often. Start by cutting a small amount at a time. Always cut at an angle, and follow the natural curve of the nail.

You can take this time to check your pet’s paws for stones or thorns. If you live in a cold climate that uses rock salt or chemicals to melt ice and snow, it is a good idea to wash your pup’s feet in warm water after walks. You can also put a little Vaseline on their paws to keep them clean and moisturized.

Tip: When in doubt, have your vet or groomer clip the nails. They will be happy to walk you through the process.

We all want our little friends to be happy and clean. Don’t forget to wash their bedding and toys. Grooming and caring for your dog is a great way to bond. Your dog will be healthier and happier with a little help from you.

How to Choose a Dog

Human hand is touching a cute little doggie paw through a fence

Five Things To Consider When Choosing A Dog

It takes great commitment to own a dog. After all, you’ll be spending at least the next ten years with your pet. Don’t be intimated though—any dog owner can tell you how rewarding it is to have a barking companion. Dogs make you laugh, keep you healthy, give you confidence, and make you a happier person in general. Still, it’s very important to make sure that the dog you take home is a perfect match for you. Otherwise, you’ll risk making both you and your dog miserable. Here are five things you should consider in choosing a dog.

Be Sure You’re Committed

You need to be responsible when you have a dog. After all, you’re taking care of a living creature. Will you remember to feed your dog? Do you have time to take it out for walks? Are you willing to regularly groom it? If you’re not yet sure, it’s better to withhold your plan of getting a dog. Dogs will demand your attention. Many people also tend to buy puppies then abandon them when they’re no longer enjoying its company. Don’t buy a dog unless you’re sure that you’re committed to taking care of it even when it gets old.

Evaluate Your Lifestyle

You lifestyle plays a huge role in owning a dog. You need to know how much time you can spare in a day for your pet. Keep in mind that feeding and grooming is not enough for a dog. You’ll need to spend time with it too especially since most dogs are social. If you live alone and you work long hours, then it would probably not be a good idea to buy a dog. Also consider the house you live in. How much space do you have? Will your dog have enough free room to run around? Do you have aluminum fencing in order to confine a dog? Would a dog rip up and potentially ruin expensive landscaping? And if you have housemates, make sure that they’re alright with pets. They could be allergic or they may not appreciate too much barking noise. How active you are also plays a role. Some dog breeds may be too energetic for you while others may be too lazy.

Choose A Dog Breed

Many people tend to choose a dog breed based on its appearance or its popularity. Too often, making a choice based on superficial standards will end up with owners giving up their dog to a shelter because of incompatibility. You need to choose a dog breed based on your lifestyle. For instance, some people buy energetic dog breeds thinking that it will help them get active. But then the owner remains a couch potato, leaving the dog neurotic. Choose a dog breed that would match your energy levels. The size of the dog should also be compatible with the space you have at home. If you’re buying a puppy, know how big it will get so you can anticipate how much room space it will need. Also, if you have children, you should choose a dog breed that’s good with kids. For instance, some people believe that it’s alright to own a Chihuahua even when there are children at home because Chihuahuas are small and cute, making them appealing for the child. However, Chihuahuas can be aggressive and intolerant of children.

Consider The Cost

Taking care of dogs costs money. Some of its expenses include food, veterinary costs, grooming, and toys. And since the dog will stay with you for around a decade or so, you need to make sure that you can cover its living expenses for that long. If you’re already tight on your budget, getting a dog might not be too smart. However, there are certain dog breeds that need lower maintenance than others. If you really want a dog, perhaps a lower maintenance breed would fit better with your budget.

Look For A Source

In general, there are two places where you can get a dog: a breeder or a shelter. Apart from getting to choose exactly which dog breed you want, a breeder can offer you a comprehensive history of the dog and may even screen the dog for genetic problems. Breeders will also be more knowledgeable about dog breeds so you can expect reliable answers for any question you may have. On the other hand, shelters have more flexibility in terms of compatibility. Because the dogs in shelters are often arbitrary, there is a lot more possibility for you to find a dog you’re compatible with. The best part about getting a dog from the shelter is that you’re saving a life.

Owning a dog is a great responsibility and is not a choice you should make on a whim. It is a mutual relationship that will require attention but will be rewarded by loyalty and companionship.