Dog Grooming: Caring For the Ears

October 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Dog Needs

Dogs ears are prone to infection as you might already have noticed if you have a dog with problem ears. If your dog keeps getting infections here is some information that might help you deal with chronic ear infections.

Dog ear infections are usually called Otits Externa; this means an infection in the outer ear. (Otis Interna means an infection of the inner ear). Outer ear infections account for 90% of the infections in dogs; making ear infection the most common infection for a dog to be treated for. Ear mites can often accompany ear infections.

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Dogs with allergies may experience more ear infections than other dogs. It can be caused by wax build up inside the ear. It can also be caused by long hair blocking the passage of air and creating a buildup of not only wax but also dirt and debris.

Regular ear cleaning will also get the pet used to having his ears handled which will make it easier to administer treatment.

You can prevent these infections by cleaning your dogs ears well and as part of your regular grooming regime. Cleaning your dog’s ears is simple and you only need a soft cloth and some ear cleanser. Lift the ears and massage some cleanser into the ear this should loosen the dirt.

Regualr ear cleaning is a powerful preventative measure; particularly if you have a dog who is at a high risk for ear infections. Ear infections are more common in dogs that swim often for example. Water inside the ears can be a problem for dogs who are essentially not designed for water.

You can spot an ear infection on your dog by looking for the following tell tale signs:

-smelly ears

-discharge

-excessive head shaking

-swelling

-redness in the ears

If your dog seems uncomfortable or is excessively scratching their ears it’s probably causing a great deal of distress. If you pet is scratching too hard this can even break blood vessels and cause swelling and bleeding.

You can try cleaning your dogs ears with white vinegar to remove dirt from the ear and promote the growth of good bacteria. Use the vinegar in the same way as the ear cleanser – pour it on and wipe gently inside the ear with the cloth or cotton. This might help ease the infection or even clear it up if the problem was not too severe to start. If the infection is serious its time to call the vet. It can be cleared up easily. Most often the dog will need some antibiotics to help clear the problem.

If your dog has recurring ear infections the vet might suggest that you clip the hair around the ear or the vet might clip the hair around the ear. This often helps. If the problem is more extreme than that the vet might suggest surgery to allow for easier drainage of the ear canal.

Some breeds are more prone to chronic ear infections than others any breed of dog with large ears or particularly small ears will get ear infections easier than some other breeds. Now that you know what to look for you should be able to detect ear infections before they become a serious problem.

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Dog Grooming: Clipping the Nails

October 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Dog Needs

If the thought of clipping your dog’s nails is frightening to you aren’t alone. Most people prefer to ask their veterinarian to do this fiddly task. There’s no reason why clipping your dogs nails should be a frightening task at all. There’s no need to regard it as any different to giving your dog a bath.

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Ideally you should start when your dog is young to get the dog used to having his feet handled regularly. Desensitizing your dog to having his paws handled will have a few other benefits too: it will make it easier for groomers or your vet to handle your dogs feet and will also mean if your dog is injured you will be able to examine his paws easier.

If it’s your first time clipping a dogs nails it might be a good idea to watch someone else do it first. Ask your vet or the groomer if you can watch while they clip your dogs nails.

You will need a special pair of clippers for the purpose. Human clippers of scissors could tear the nail and cause painful torn edges. Make sure you get the right size and type of clippers for your dog. You might find a nail file useful too.

You will also want to have some special clotting powder on hand just in case you accidentally cut the nails too short and it starts bleeding. You can find all these products at your local pet supply store.

You will want to clip the nails in a quiet place with minimal distractions. If your dog has never had his nails clipped or is particularly resistant you might want to ask someone to help you. You are after all poking at your dog with a sharp object and it could be dangerous !

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To avoid mishaps its best to slowly desensitize your dog to having his paws handled. this part should be easy. Take your dogs paws and massage them a bit.

It makes the process easier if the dogs nails are softer. You can do this by bathing the dog beforehand, massaging some baby oil into the paws or even just dipping the paw into warm water. This has the dual effect of both softening the paws and cleaning the dirt out from under the nails.

Examine the nails closely and try to locate the cluster of veins. This is called the ‘quick’ and cutting this can cause your dog to bleed. If your dog has dark nails this can be difficult. The best policy here is to trim the nails bit by bit over a longer period of time. The quick will retreat over time.

Try to cut with the right hand and hold the paw firmly. Use a calm soothing voice while you do this. You don’t want your dog to become afraid and make the clipping more difficult. Try to cut at 90 degree angles.

If you do cut too far – don’t worry! You can use some of the powder to stop the bleeding. Just sprinkle the powder over the affected area or dip the paw into the powder. There are some other household items you can use to slow the bleeding. You can use cornflower or normal powder in the same way you use the styptic powder. You can also press the dogs nail into some soap. If the bleeding is not too bad – just simply applying pressure should slow the bleeding.

If you have cut your dogs nails too far and they bleed – this may make the dog scared of the nail clipping all over again. You will need to desensitize your dog again.

If your dog is very afraid of having his nails clipped you should gradually get the dog used to the process and the tools. Start again by praising and treating the dog while you handle his paws. Then get the dog used to the clippers. Step by step desensitization coupled with positive reinforcement should ease your problem.

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Dog Grooming – Maintaining A Posh Pup

October 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Dog Needs

Dog Grooming – It’s Not Just for Poodles Anymore

Dog grooming is not simply an aesthetic bonus for our canine friends. Maintaining a regular grooming schedule will help to keep your dog both happy and healthy. Routine dog grooming will ensure that your dog is free of parasites, has healthy skin and a shiny coat, and has good dental health. Of course, the aesthetic benefits are also a plus. Only a true dog lover wants to be around a dirty, stinky dog with bad breath. Proper dog grooming will bring out the best in man’s best friend.

What’s Involved in Dog Grooming?

While dog grooming can be performed at home, the best results can be achieved via a professional dog groomer. A thorough dog grooming session takes care of all the hygienic needs of your dog. The grooming process generally takes a hour or two to accomplish, but the results are well worth the time spent. A typical dog grooming session consists of the following treatments for your dog:

* A thorough bath including flea dip (if applicable)
* A complete coat brushing to eliminate tangles and matted hair
* Styling as requested (can include accessories such as bows, rhinestones and bandannas)
* Nail trimming
* Ear cleaning and examination for parasites
* Teeth cleaning

How Often Should Dog Grooming Take Place?

The frequency with which your should groom your dog is dependent on the breed and coat quality of your dog. Some breeds are considered high maintenance in terms of dog grooming, while others need only periodic care. Before you purchase or adopt a dog, it’s a good idea to find out how much grooming it will require. A basic guide to dog grooming by coat type is as follows:

* Curly-Coated – Dogs such as Poodles have a dense and curly coat that is fairly resistant to water. These dogs will require dog grooming at least once every two months, or six times a year.

* Short-Coated – Dogs with short dense coats, such as Corgis and Boxers need a weekly brushing, but do not need to be bathed more than once or twice a year unless a problem arises.

* Long-Coated – Long coated dogs, such as Collies and Sheepdogs, require a daily brushing to keep their coats in good condition. Additional dog grooming including regular bathing, should be administered once every other month.

* Silky-Coated – Afghans, Cocker Spaniels and Pekinese dogs belong to the silky coated dog group. These dogs require daily brushing and a thorough dog grooming session four times a year.

* Wire-Coated – Wire coated dogs require considerable dog grooming. Dogs such as Terriers and Schnauzers should be bathed every three months and have their coat clipped every six to eight weeks.

* Smooth-Coated – The smooth-coated class of dogs includes Labrador Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers and Dachshunds. These are very low maintenance dogs and require only weekly brushing and bathing as necessary.