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Essential Guide To Canine Care

Health & Wellbeing

Grooming DIY - Your essential guide to top to toe canine care.

From their teeth to their toes, your dog’s grooming schedule is essential to their wellbeing – keep on top of the little things in the comfort of their own home. By Stephanie Hollebrandse.

Being greeted by your dog at the end of a long day is undoubtedly one of the greatest parts of pet ownership. No matter what’s happened at the office, you know you’re going home to someone who is waiting with bated breath for you to walk through the door. But if that breath smells like the garbage bin, the welcome home hug isn’t quite so inviting.

Maintaining a grooming schedule is crucial to your dog’s health and cultivates communication skills – teaching your dog how to let you know if they’re in pain or anxious. This ‘how-to’ guide will help you pay particular attention to the little things, including your dog’s ears, eyes, teeth and nails.

The ears

Sonja Walsh from Heavy Petting in Balmain has been grooming dogs for more than 14 years. She recommends assessing your dog’s ears for odour and sensitivity before you attempt to clean them at home.

“If you come across any sign of excessive discharge, red inflammation or matting where the leather is covered – I’d recommend further investigation by a grooming professional,” she says.

 Dogs such as spaniels and bassets are prone to ear infections because their floppy ears prevent air circulation and drainage of any moisture in the ear canal. Other small, fluffy dogs like the Shih Tzu and Maltese are also susceptible as they have a lot more hair growing inside their ears.

Dogs with pricked ears have great air circulation so rarely suffer from any problems. This being said, it’s still important to simply wipe the ear clean with a swab of antiseptic ear cleaner on a regular basis.

The tool kit

The process

The eyes

Cleaning your dog’s eyes is especially important if they have long hair. Check for redness and sensitivity before taking on the task yourself. Sonja again recommends looking for discharge or inflammation – “especially in the corner of the lids, to ensure the eye looks healthy,” she says.

The tool kit

The process

The nails

Trimming your dog’s nails can be a tricky process, especially when you run the risk of cutting the ‘quick’. This is a vein that grows inside the dog’s nail and will bleed if cut. With this in mind, make sure you have some styptic powder on hand to clot the wound.

Deb Ryan from Dog Grooming Australia says that while trimming your dog’s nails is an important part of grooming, there are some instances when it may not be necessary.

 “A dog that is highly active on a hard surface may keep its nails short naturally – these surfaces act like a nail file and also keep the quick pushed back,” she says.

The tool kit

The process

The teeth

Like humans, our dogs can suffer from gum and teeth diseases. Brushing their teeth regularly will prevent any decay and disease from occurring. Be sure to never use human toothpaste in your dog’s mouth – since they’re unable to spit like us, dogs run the risk of ingesting some harmful chemicals if swallowed. 

The tool kit

The process

Assess the teeth by lifting the muzzle flaps – check for red gums and decaying teeth as these conditions will require professional attention.

It’s time for the vet when

Deb Ryan from Dog Grooming Australia lets us know when it’s best to seek professional help: