It's virtually impossible for every dog owner to know everything about grooming. Unfortunately, grooming mistakes can have consequences for your pet that can range from mild inconveniences to more dangerous problems like infection.
Luckily, many grooming mistakes are fairly common and easy to look out for. Here are some of the more common grooming mistakes you can make so you can avoid them or, if necessary, correct them.
- Not Grooming Enough
One of the most common mistakes that a dog owner can make is simply not grooming their dog's fur enough. Inconsistent fur grooming can cause problems like matted fur, irritation, dirt build-up and more. It's a common misconception that short-haired dogs don't need grooming due to their frequent shedding. Others believe that dog fur naturally cleans itself. However, neither of these things is true.
Determine your dog's grooming needs based on its breed, and create a schedule around those needs. For example, a long-haired Shih Tzu will need daily brushing and even professional grooming on occasion, while a bulldog will require regular skin fold cleaning. Be sure you have the proper grooming supplies on hand.
- Rushing Clipping Your Dog's Nails
Trimming your dog's nails improperly can cause them discomfort, pain and even bleeding. If you're set on clipping your dog's nails yourself, make sure to do so in a safe and unhurried manner, using the proper tools as well as knowledge of where best to clip the nails. If you do not feel comfortable clipping your dog's nails, make an appointment with your veterinarian or groomer instead.
- Washing Your Dog's Inner Ears
Baths are important, but chances are you might be missing some important information about exactly how to bathe your dog. For example, despite how often we clean our own ears, dog ears don't require cleaning at all, unless there's an infection or other issue present. In fact, cleaning your dog's ears can cause water to get stuck in their ear canal, which can cause ear infections. In addition to infections, washing your dog's ears can cause discomfort, irritation and swelling. Just like your dog's eyes and nose, its ears should be kept as dry as possible throughout bathing.
- Brushing Improperly Before and After a Bath
This might seem counter-intuitive, but there are specific instructions for brushing your dog's fur before and after a bath. For example, it's just as important to brush before the bath, as this can prevent tangled hair and loosen dead hair caught in your dog's coat. It's also important to brush after your pet's bath, but it's advised to wait until your dog's fur is nice and dry, as wet hair is more delicate.
- Bathing Too Often
It's also important to not bathe your dog too often. Dogs' coats contain natural oils that help keep them healthy and clean. While you might be wondering, "Can I bathe my dog once a week?", that's generally not advisable. In fact, no more than once per month is generally recommended (while keeping in mind that they should go no more than three months without a bath). Bathing too frequently can strip dogs' natural oils and proteins in addition to drying out and irritating their skin, which can cause major issues - especially when the air is dry. Instead, make your monthly bath count by using the right pet shampoo. Afterward, be sure to dry your dog's fur with towels, not a blow dryer.