At-Home Dog Grooming During COVID-19

Category_Grooming Category_Safety Writer_MaryBeth_Bittel

At-Home Dog Grooming During COVID-19 - Sparky Steps Chicago Pet Sitters - Article

At-Home Dog Grooming During COVID-19

When times are trying, loyal canines can provide much-needed companionship. But current social distancing guidelines are changing the way we care for them.  For example, The Atlantic reports that professional groomers are temporarily discouraging dog owners from coming in. It seems that tight facility layouts can make it nearly impossible to maintain a safe degree of separation. In the era of COVID-19, are there easy at-home dog grooming tips for concerned pet parents?

Fortunately, YES! Even if you’re staying closer to home, you can still keep Fido neat and clean. Read on for some helpful hints.   

Set Up a Schedule
Create a basic routine to make sure you don’t neglect key steps. Here are some sample guidelines:
1. Plan on bathing most pooches every three to four weeks. Too-frequent trips to the tub
can actually dry out skin and fur.
2. You can certainly brush or comb your pup every few days, if you want. Many dogs find it very relaxing. See below for specific brush suggestions.
3. Shorten nails every month or two, to make walking easier for your furry friend.
4. If your canine’s coat starts looking shaggy, you can usually make do with some spot-trimming as needed — likely every 4-8 weeks, depending on the breed.

Never Neglect Nails
Nail trimming is essential for almost every dog. Longer nails can sometimes cause problems with gait and posture, which can intensify issues like arthritis. Super-curvy nails may even cut into your dog’s paw pads. But don’t just grab those clippers and start cutting away, unless you have experience. Canines have a vein in their nails called the “quick.” If you cut nails too short, it can bleed. So consider a gentler method, like nail grinding. Pick up a Petural Nail Grinder and start practicing gradually. If the sound makes your furry friend nervous, here’s a nifty trick. Smear the brim of an old hat or visor with peanut butter, and put it on (yourself, not your dog). While you hold each paw and incline your head, this tasty diversion keeps most dogs licking away contentedly.

Bone Up on Brushes
Brushing is often a great way to bond with your best buddy, and it helps spread natural oils through the coat. Always start any brushing session gently and gradually, to see how your pet tolerates it. In a pinch, a soft-bristled hairbrush may work fine for many dogs. But it you really want to maximize brushing benefits, arm yourself with the right tool for the job:  

  1. A rubber curry brush like the KONG ZoomGroom is great for pups with very short coats or short, shedding hair.
    2. A slicker brush (like the Safari, by Coastal Pet Products) tends to work better for dogs with thicker short/medium hair that sheds.
  2. If you’ve got a champion shedder or a densely double-coated dog, try a dematting tool like the FURminator.


Suds the Smart Way

Try giving your dog a quick brushing before each bath, to remove mats or tangles.  Also remember that canines have a different pH that humans, so use a shampoo formulated specifically for pups. Gentle skin-loving options include Zymox Shampoo and Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe Shampoo. Use lukewarm water, rinse multiple times, and be extra-careful around sensitive eyes. Need to use a blow dryer? Choose the coolest setting to avoid overheating your pooch, and provide frequent breaks. If you’re super-short on time, skip the tub and try a pup-formulated product like Nature’s Miracle Deodorizing Bath Wipes.  


Tailor Those Trims
Not a pro with sharp instruments? Don’t despair. If you only need to tidy up the face or eyebrow area, baby scissors with rounded blades can be an extra-safe choice. Remember that simpler cuts are easier to maintain anyway. Try cleaning up ragged edges a little at a time, while your dog is relaxed. Also examine the bottom of every paw. If you see tufts of fur poking out between the pads, hold your scissors flat against the bottom of each foot and trim it away.

Divide and Conquer
To minimize anxiety, break up grooming tasks into shorter stints. For example, brush the full coat and trim the potty area on Tuesday. Reserve Thursday night for a bath. On Saturday, trim the face and tidy up other areas. Keep a supply of healthy training treats handy, like matchstick carrots or Zuke’s Mini Naturals. This helps your pet associate grooming activities with something yummy and positive.

With a little practice, you can get the hang of at-home dog grooming in no time. Think of it as a bonding opportunity, and don’t pressure yourself. You and your pooch may eventually learn to love it. Got a friend who could use these tips? Feel free to share them. And if you’d like even more animal companion insights, subscribe to our Sparky Steps e-mail list!


by Mary Bittel for Sparky Steps





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