How To Groom Your Dog in Your Yard
Whether you pay for a groomer or not, there are still a few grooming tasks you’ll want to carry out at home to help keep your dog healthy and happy. From regular brushing to dental care to nail trimming, there are several ways that you can support your dog daily and weekly, so grooming your dog at home in your yard is a great habit to develop.
You know your dog best, so don’t shirk your duty to help keep them healthy! Touch, pet, and carry your dog regularly to get to know their body—that will help you notice if they have a growth, a mat of hair, or some other issue that needs to be addressed.
By following these simple tips, you can keep your dog healthy and looking their best all through their lives.
Tips To Prepare for Yard or Bathroom Grooming Sessions
There are several dog grooming tasks to think about, including bathing, brushing, teeth care, nail care, and foot care.
Dog Bathing Tips
The biggest task you may think of when it comes to grooming is giving your pup a bath. This is indeed one of the more difficult tasks as many dogs don’t like bathing or prefer to spend their bath time playing instead of getting clean. However, most dogs should get a bath at least once every three weeks.
Here are a few tips to help bathtime go smoothly:
- Gather your supplies ahead of time—shampoo, conditioner (if necessary), towel, brush/comb, etc.
- Provide your dog with a toy if they like to play while in the tub.
- Get help, if necessary, to keep your dog in place and relatively still during the process.
- Brush your dog’s fur first to get rid of any mats and excess dead skin or hair.
- Wet your dog thoroughly with a hose, shower head, or large pitcher/cup of water. Be careful to avoid their eyes, nose and ears—stuffing cotton balls gently in their ears can help protect the ear canals from water damage.
- Lather your dog with a dog-specific shampoo (human shampoos can cause skin irritation or dryness).
- Rinse your dog thoroughly.
- If your dog has sensitive skin, you may want to consider adding a conditioner to their routine to soften the skin after a washing.
- Dry your pet as thoroughly as possible with a large towel.
Keep your dog’s face out of the water as much as possible—you can use a damp, warm cloth to wipe around their eyes (starting from the inner corner and wiping around) nose, and ears, paying special attention to the underside of their ears where they may carry wax or dirt. If you notice any pus or discharge in their eyes or ears, be sure to check in with your vet. Symptoms of eye and ear infections include things like:
- Redness or swelling
- Cloudiness or unusual pupil size in eyes
- Odor or scaly skin in ears
- Unusual eye movements or closure
You can find out more about eye and ear infections online or from your vet if you notice anything unusual about your dog that causes you concern.
Dog Brushing Tips
Take your dog outside for a good brushing session if you want to avoid lots of shedding and hair in your house! For most dogs with short coats, a weekly brushing is perfect, though dogs with long coats (Yorkshire Terriers, for example) will likely need a daily brushing.
To brush your dog’s fur effectively:
- Use a rubber brush or comb to loosen dead skin and get out tangles and mats.
- Gently brush with a bristle brush all over your dog’s body—if they have longer fur, be sure you don’t neglect their tail.
- For short coats especially, using a chamois cloth can add some shine!
Your dog is likely to shed regularly, but brushing can help keep that shedding to a minimum. Don’t be surprised if your dog sheds more in the summer, especially if they spend most of their time outdoors!
Dog Dental Care Tips
Keeping your dog’s mouth healthy is important. In fact, dental disease is one of the most common causes of illness in dogs! To avoid issues like periodontal disease or gingivitis, take consistent care of your dog’s teeth and gums.
- To get your dog used to dental care, start by gently massaging their gums with your fingers a few days before a dental care session. You can also introduce dog toothpaste a few days before by letting them taste it.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or a finger brush for your dog’s mouth—they can be sensitive.
- Place your finger or the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and massage the gums and teeth in small, circular motions. Lift your dog’s lips as the area where the teeth meet the lip can get the most tartar buildup.
- Brush your dog’s teeth at least two to three times each week.
Dog Paw Care Tips
While not particularly noticeable, dog’s paws are important to their health! The padding on their paws will protect their bones and joints on jarring walks/runs and give them an extra level of support wherever they are.
Keeping your dog’s paws healthy is part of the job. Be sure to check them regularly for pebbles or other debris that may have gotten stuck in the skin. Also, clip the hair between the toes to keep it level with the paw’s padding and avoid matting.
If your dog’s paws suffer a minor injury or burn, wash it with an antibacterial solution and wrap it lightly in a bandage. Avoid taking your dog walking on hot pavement where they could get burned. In winter, you may want to wash your dog’s paws after a walk if they’ve been walking in or near a bunch of rock salt, ice melters, or even bitterly cold snow.
If your dog’s paws are seriously injured, take them to a vet right away! And if they’re especially dry and cracked, ask your vet for a good pet paw moisturizer.
Dog Nail Care Tips
Keeping your dog’s nails clipped is just as important as keeping their paws clean. If your dog’s nails are getting long, it’s time for a cut. Take them on a run or out to play so they wear themselves out, then ask for help from a family member or friend to ensure your pup stays still.
To clip your dog’s nails, you’ll need to choose clippers—there are two main types, either a guillotine style or a scissors style. Then:
- Take your dog’s toe and hold it firmly. Starting at an angle along the natural curvature of the nail, make a cut.
- Continue trimming the nails until you can see the outline of a circle (the quick, or nerve that connects from the toe to the nail).
- Smooth any rough edges with an emery board.
If you cut the quick, your dog’s toe may begin to bleed. Simply using some corn starch or a styptic powder should stop the bleeding quickly—if it doesn’t, reach out to your vet!
Keeping Your Dog Fully Healthy
There are many steps to keeping your dog healthy and fit. Take them for regular exercise, provide consistent baths and grooming sessions, and feed them a healthy, well-rounded diet. And remember, you know your dog best! Keep an eye on them and if you notice anything out of the ordinary, don’t hesitate to talk to your vet.
If you enjoy taking a grooming day or two out in your yard and would like extra help keeping your yard clean, our team may have just the solution! We can scoop the poop from your yard to give your dog a clean, safe space in which to play. Check out our services to learn more!
If you can provide your dog with these regular services and give them a clean yard to play in, they will be your happy, healthy companion for years to come.