- Making grooming easy for you
- Getting around certain grooming problems
Grooming is time-consuming — there’s no doubt about it. Lucky for you, I’ve got some handy tricks you can use to speed up the time you spend on grooming your dog.
The tips that I give you in this chapter are little tricks of the grooming trade that I’ve picked up through the years that I love being able to share with you. The tips focus on grooming your pet; if you want tips for grooming your dog especially for the show ring, check out Chapter Going Pro: Starting a Dog Grooming Business
Use No-Rinse Shampoo for Touchups
You’ve groomed your dog to perfection, but now your dog has pooped and left something hanging around behind. Or maybe he’s gone through the mud or picked up some dirt — from where, you don’t know. What to do? What to do?
Someone must’ve had this problem right before his or her in-laws arrived for a visit, because plenty of no-rinse shampoos (often called blue shampoo because of its color) are available for you to use to clean small areas of your dog’s coat in a pinch.
Simply use a sponge or paper towels to wet, apply the no-rinse shampoo, and scrub the affected area clean. Then you can use your comb or slicker brush to puff-up the hair so it dries (or use a doggie blow-dryer).
Keep a Rubber Basin Handy for Quick Cleanups
If you don’t already have a portable rubber sink or basin (like the kind people use to use while doing dishes by hand), buy one! It’s perfect for doing messy jobs like spot cleanings and clippings, and it localizes the mess and reduces the need for cleanup.
Having a rubber basin around is good when you have to clean off your dog’s paws, for example. You can pour blue shampoo or water and some regular doggie shampoo in it and stick your dog’s feet in, washing them one at a time — if need be. For small dogs, the rubber sink also serves as an emergency wash basin.
You can put a small dog in the basin when you’re clipping his coat. Doing so helps contain and capture the falling hair as it comes off. If your dog is larger, you can use your rubber basin as a catch-all as you groom your dog from one section to the next.
The basin also makes a handy-dandy catch-all for storing all of your quick cleanup supplies.
Grind Rather Than Clip Your Dog’s Nails
So your dog hates nail clippers. One solution that a breeder suggests is using a nail grinder (similar to a Dremel rotary tool) on your dog’s toenails. (I don’t know why some dogs prefer grinding to clipping, they just do.) A bonus is that you don’t have to file rough edges.
– Beware that you can grind too much. A friend who is a veterinarian told me how a client overused her grinder and ground her dog’s nails too far, eventually causing a serious infection. She ground the nails into the quick, and the grinder cauterized the bleeding nails, so the owner wasn’t alerted to the problem. The infection passed from the grinder into the nails and into the dog’s bloodstream. Regardless of how you trim your dog’s nails, always be mindful of where the quick is.
– Grinders can get caught in your dog’s hair and rip it out. Tools made especially for grinding dog’s nails are available. These grinders automatically stop when they get caught in the dog’s hair — before they rip it out.
Brush Regularly to Keep Fido’s Breath Fresh and Teeth Clean
If your dog has bad breath and hasn’t eaten anything rancid (like poop), you need to schedule an appointment with the veterinarian, because bad breath is a sign of more serious problems, including gingivitis or a bad tooth. In some cases, it’s a sign of a more serious disease, like cancer.
In any event, you need to brush your dog’s teeth at least once a week (preferably every day) and give him good toys made to clean his teeth — always. My dogs like hard rubber and nylon toys that have nubs or grooves on them for teeth cleaning. You can add a bit of doggie toothpaste to help keep them clean between brushings.
Employ Snoods and Hoods to Keep Clean
Many long-haired dogs experience problems with keeping their beautiful coats clean. Pet and show dog owners have come up with a solution called a snood. A snood is a type of wrap-around cloth that keeps the dog’s ears and hair from getting dirty. You can purchase or make your own snoods by sewing together some stretch fabric to fit around your dog’s neck.
If you’re concerned about your dog’s legs getting icky with under brush or piddle, you can either sew some simple leg protectors that wrap around your dog’s hind legs or find some inexpensive stretch socks and snip the toes out of them so you can slide them over your dog’s legs. You obviously must gauge the size of the sock to your dog’s legs. You can buy leg cuffs like these at pet supply stores; they prevent male dogs from wetting on themselves and cover Poodle bracelets, the unclipped fur around that breed’s feet.
You can also prevent long hair from dragging along the ground when your pooch goes outside for a potty or play break. Simply wrap a towel or cloth loosely around your dog’s waist and clip the ends of the towel together with a potato chip bag clip (found where kitchen supplies are sold). Use the small bag clips and be careful not to catch any of the dog’s hair or skin in them.
Keep Your Pooch in a Pet Cut
Although you should never be in a hurry while clipping your dog’s coat, you may be looking for the best way to tidy up his fur coat without much hassle. Use the pet cut that I describe in Chapter Spiffing Up Short- and Medium-Coated Breeds for occasionally cleaning up or trimming your dog’s coat between major clippings.
Before you do that, however, invest in some snap-on guide combs for your clippers. Using guide combs is an easy way to make sure you have an even cut without much muss or fuss. Choose the hair length you want, snap the guide onto your clippers, and you’re off!
Add Beautiful Shine to Your Dog’s Coat
Is your dog’s coat dull and drab? If you have a dog with a short coat, you can perk it up with an oil-based coat conditioner. Sometimes lanolin or mink oil works well. Spread a small amount in your palms and rub them together before rubbing your hands all over your dog’s coat. Then, finish up with a hound glove, which is a grooming mitt for short-coated dogs (see Chapter Training Your Dog for Grooming
If your dog’s coat is long, spray the conditioner liberally throughout the hair and then comb or brush it through the coat.
Use common sense when applying conditioner. Be sure to use a conditioner that’s made for your dog’s coat, and check the package for recommendations on its use. There is such a thing as too much, particularly with regard to spray conditioners. You can overspray and cause a big mess, because it can streak or stain clothing or furnishings if your dog likes to rub up against them.
Enjoy a Refreshing Blast
Sometimes your dog doesn’t, well, smell like a rose. When you can’t bathe him, or company is due to arrive any minute, you can make him smell good anyway by using any one of the doggie scents sold at pet supply stores. Bodifier and coat dressing often work in a pinch, too. This quick fix for a smelly dog won’t get your dog clean, but it will make him a little nicer to be around.
Always follow label directions. Don’t spray in the face or near the eyes of your dog. When applying any products to your dog’s face (if the product is safe for that purpose), first spray it on a cloth and then gently wipe around your dog’s head, avoiding the eyes, nose, and mouth. Note: Scents, bodifiers, and coat dressing will do nothing for skunk odor. Check out Chapter The Skinny on Hairy Health Issues for how to get rid of that funky problem.
Perform a Quick Hair Pickup
After you clean your dog, you may wonder how to clean up all that dog hair. Have no fear; pet-hair pickups can help you. Try using the rollers equipped with two-sided tape rather than the ones that you have to rinse to clean and reactivate. My own experience has been that the rinse-and-use rollers lose their stickiness after a while, so it’s better to go with the more reliable peel-off, tape-type rollers.
Substitute in a Pinch
What happens if you don’t have the right shampoo and conditioner for your kind of dog? Can you substitute other kinds?
In a pinch, yes. You don’t want to use other shampoos and conditioners that aren’t meant for dogs too often because they also don’t have the proper pH-balance for their coats. You can occasionally substitute the following:
– Human shampoo for dog shampoo.
– Human conditioner for dog conditioner.
– Plain Ivory or Dawn hand-dishwashing soap for dog shampoo.
Don’t use any other dishwashing soap except plain Ivory or Dawn hand-dishwashing soap on your dog’s coat, and when you do, use it sparingly.
– A blow-dryer intended for human hair as long as it has a “no-heat” setting, which can be used as a substitute for a dog blow-dryer.
by Margaret H.Bonham