My Dog Spa at Home Routine!
Chilli loves strutting his stuff! He walks around London as if he owns the city and has the looks to show it, especially with his bling collars (OK I chose those). Everywhere I go he goes. So he obviously has to have a metrosexual grooming routine!
Having a set routine for your dog’s grooming needs can be very helpful as it will either stop problems from developing or at least make them controllable. I mean problems such as your dog shedding fur all over your home, curly hair turning into knots or teeth collecting so much plaque that the gums get infected and bone decay might begin. On top of that your dog will feel great and always look his or her best, with fluffy tailfeathers (if applicable) and fresh breath. Oh and let’s not forget the doggie manicure!
How to stop or minimise dog shedding
Chilli is a short coat Chihuahua with fur similar to a cat’s. You can imagine how much fur he sheds daily! One easy thing to do is to brush him mornings and evenings with 2 types of brushes especially for dogs: bristle brush and slicker brush. The softer bristle brush is great for his sensitive areas such as his head and tummy and the slicker brush is ideal to run through bunchy patches such as the bum and back. My German shepherds used to have the same brush just a lot bigger of course and each grooming affair removed handfuls if not bagfuls of fur! It was best done outdoors. With little dogs be careful not to hurt their skin as these metallic brushes are quite strong. You can also ask your vet if your dog could benefit from taking Omega 3 supplements. They are a natural anti inflammatory and relax the dog’s system, reducing the amount of shedding that occurs. Works great on Pugs apparently. Just remember that different breeds shed differently so for example Poodles and Maltese dogs don’t shed whilst short coat Chihuahuas and Golden Retrievers shed a lot.
If you have any great grooming tips for dogs please let me know so I can add them!
Cleaning Dog Tear Stains
Some dogs tend to tear more than others and it can also vary according to season. Summer and allergens can cause your dog to tear more when being outdoors than the colder winter months. There’s nothing wrong with tears however they do begin to tear stain the fur underneath the eyes to an almost blackish colour and can leave hardened crusty patches of fur. If this goes on for a long time you might have to cut off those parts of the fur. Touching those can be uncomfortable for your dog so it is advisable to clean the tear stains with a dog tear stain remover that works. Chilli & I love Hydrocol 5 – I spray it onto a cotton wool pad until it’s saturated and then I gently wipe the entire eye area with the pad. The tear stain remover is safe to touch the eye – it actually brightens the eyes. Please take care to use one wool pad per eye – this stops any infection or irritation from spreading from one eye to the other. For me Hydrocol 5 is the best tear stain remover I’ve used so far. I have also heard that some show dog owners use baby (talcon) powder underneath the eyes to absorb the tears and avoid stains temporarily.
A little note: if the secretion of the eyes is redish/pinkish in colour it could be an indication of a fungal infection. It is always best to consult your vet.
The best way to clean your dog’s teeth
I’m not sure if dog tooth health is emphasised enough. As a puppy a dog has beautiful bright white teeth and we all think that by chewing bones and the proper diet this will stay preserved. Unfortunately this is mostly not the case and it varies breed by breed. Chihuahuas for example are known to have teeth which need dog dental care and dental cleaning. Over time plaque and tartar builds up on dogs’ teeth if we don’t clean them regularly.
So how to clean your dog’s teeth? Which type of dog teeth cleaning products you use depends greatly on how sensitive your dog is to having objects placed in his or her face. A chilled dog will easily allow you to use a soft human toothbrush with dog toothpaste. Chilli on the other hand hates having a toothbrush approach his face so I use a dog finger toothbrush. It is ionised making it anti bacterial for a certain amount of time. You can also use it with dog toothpaste and dog tooth polish if you like. The most important thing is to keep the plaque off of the teeth.
If you haven’t done this (most people haven’t) and your dog’s teeth are covered in plaque and stained yellow or brown it is high time to go to the vet and have a consultation about a professional dog dental cleaning option. This is advisable as the plaque can enter below the gums and not only can it cause gum disease, it can continue to affect the bone and cause bone recession and then teeth begin to come loose and need to be removed. The one factor that needs to be considered is the almost full anesthetic that this procedure requires. It’s probably a good idea to do this whilst your dog is young and the risks are lower and afterwards to be vigilant and keep those teeth clean.
A little suggestion: me personally, I wouldn’t let anyone other than a qualified vet professionally clean Chilli’s teeth.
Dog Nail Trimming
When I first got Chilli as a tiny puppy my vet suggested I learn the best way to trim a dog’s nails myself. He gave me a special set of dog nail clippers and showed me which part of the dogs’ nails can be cut and which part is alive with blood running through it. The outside part of the nail is made of keratin just like our human anils and the inside is tissue called the quick. When you look at your dog’s nails in good daylight you will see the outer layer looking translucent and within it there is a pinkish smaller nail wich is alive, the quick. When you are cutting dogs nails at home you must stay in the translucent part – NEVER touch the quick or come to close to it. Once your dog experiences the pain of you cutting into the quick by accident he or she will never give you his or her paws again. Cutting the nails too short will not be an extremely painful experience for your dog it will also cause bleeding.
If your dog has black nails it’s a bit more tricky. You can’t see the quick and I would advise you take your pup to the vet or a trusted groomer. Maybe they can teach you some tricks of how to cut black dog nails at home.
Dog Bath Time!
Depending on the size of your dog, giving him or her a bath can be a cute quick affair (like it is for Chilli and me) or a much more tedious and monumental undertaking if you have say a Husky at home. For toy dog breeds I would really suggest to give them a bath at home. It can be stressful for a dog to go to the groomer’s whereas at home your buddy feels safe and happy to be with you, even if bathtime isn’t his or her favourite. Just make sure you adjust the temperature of the water to a nice warm feeling or if it’s summer and very hot outside, maybe a cold refreshing bath is just what is needed. When it comes to dog shampoos the choice is yours. There are so many products on the market. One consideration to make is if you want to go organic and how dirty your dog really gets! One shampoo that might be worth getting no matter where you live is an anti fox smell ??? one. Dogs love to roll, especially in fox poo!
The worst experience I’ve ever had with bathing Chilli was when he once rolled in human excrements in the park. It was not funny. Well, maybe now I do giggle thinking of how I was on the verge of being sick! In these kind of moments you need a strong shampoo.
If your dog requires some serious bathing and subsequent grooming like a Pomeranian or Spitz or Standard Poodle, perhaps you should ask around for a recommended groomer. Personal recommendations are always the best as you don’t want to find out afterwards that your dog was super stressed.
Some extra hygiene tips for your dog!
One thing I do religiously with Chilli is clean his paws after every single walk! Only then do I let him run around at home. I use either unscented baby wipes for delicate skin or rinse his paws with a mild soap under the tap. I live in London and the pavements are full of dirt, bacteria and pigeon excretion. The pigeon poo (for lack of a classier word) is corrosive – so if your dog picks this up several times a day and carries it throughout your flat, you might see it affecting your floors and furniture over time. And me personally, I take off my shoes at the door and walk around barefoot, so it’s only fair!
Another little tip for entire males: sometimes their penis’s have a bit of a whitish/yellowish discharge which bothers them. You will notice that they lick themselves obsessively to stop the irritation. What my vet suggested is to dilute some Hibiscrub disinfectant (1 part Hibiscrub to 20 parts water) in a bowl and using a paper towel or cloth gently wash his bits a few times. You will see from his need to clean himself how often you need to to the bathing. One time might be enough or maybe several times for a few days.