In addition to brushing, some dogs may need their hair trimmed from time to time. Your local veterinary clinic can advise and show you how to trim your dog’s hair safely or you may like to organise for the vet clinic or professional groomer to assist. Some professional groomers will work from a vet clinic.
Common body areas that may require regular hair trimming for some dogs include:
- Around the eye area, if the hair is starting to obscure vision or cause irritation.
- Hair growing around the anus which is trapping faeces.
- Hair around the chin and lower jaw trapping food or to help prevent lip and chin fold infections.
- Areas where debris (grass seeds, burrs) are trapped in hair.
- Areas where there are hair mats and tangles.
- Ask your local veterinary clinic for advice.
- Blunt-nosed safety scissors should be used.
Never point scissors towards the dog, extra care must be taken if trimming any hair around the eyes to avoid contacting the eyes.
Use food treats to reward for calm behaviour so your dog associates hair trimming with positive things and rewards.
Brushing Different Breeds or Types of Dogs
Moreover, different types of dogs can require different brushes. It’s important to use a brush that is comfortable and suitable for your dog. Make sure the brush does not cause any physical discomfort to your dog.
Brushing should be a pleasant, soothing and relaxing activity for your dog. Talk to your local vet clinic and professional groomer for advice. Always watch your dog’s reactions. Change brush types and decrease the pressure applied if your dog seems at all uncomfortable.
Short-haired smooth coated dogs may suit a soft grooming glove or soft brush to remove loose hair. Dogs with medium to long-hair coats may require combs and brushes with longer bristles/projections (please make sure the bristles don’t cause any discomfort).
For more specific information on caring for your dog’s paws, nails, ears, teeth, and eyes, read on below.
You can keep your dog’s paws healthy by:
- Monitoring your dog for any limping.
- Checking their feet and footpads regularly to ensure there are no wounds or infections.
- Some dogs can have extra hair between their footpads which can become matted or catch debris (e.g. grass seeds). Carefully trimming that extra hair can help.
- Removing any debris such as grass seeds and burrs around the paws.
Follow these steps to best trim your dog’s nails:
- Follow these steps to keep your dog’s nails in good condition:
- Dog’s nails should be trimmed as required and this tends to vary between individual dogs.
- Basically, if the nails are getting too long they can be trimmed. Trim a small amount off the tip.
- Talk to your vet about how to trim nails. They can show you how to do it safely, what length is suitable and what type of clipper to use. It’s very important not to trim too short as this can cause bleeding and pain.
Note: Adequate daily exercise should help to keep nails in good condition and at a good length as nails are naturally worn down. However, nails which don’t touch the ground surface such as the ‘thumb’ nails higher up on the feet, may need to be trimmed occasionally to prevent them from getting too long, curling over and digging into the skin.
- For nails that are transparent you can usually see a pinkish area, which is where the blood vessel runs. When trimming nail tips, it is important to stay well away from the blood vessel, if the blood vessel is cut then the dog will bleed and feel pain. For opaque dark nails it can be harder to know where the blood vessel is, so check with your local vet.
- Sometimes a nail file can be used to smooth rough edges.
Here are some tips for ensuring your dog’s ears are healthy:
It’s helpful to know the signs of an ear problem. These can include head shaking, ear discharge, ear scratching, rubbing ears along the floor or furniture, redness/swelling around the ear opening; sensitivity around the head area; a head tilt and an unpleasant odour.
- Talk to your vet if you think your dog has an ear problem and they can check.
- Vets usually do a routine ear check using an otoscope when doing annual health check-ups. If they see an issue they may prescribe medicated ear drops or ear cleaner.
- If your dog is not showing any signs of an ear problem then for most dogs it is best to leave their ears alone. This is because putting ear products into healthy ears can potentially cause a problem.
- If your dog has long, droopy ears that hang over their ear openings, skin allergies or recurrent ear infections, monitor them regularly for any signs of an ear problem and follow your vets advice.
To help keep dog’s teeth and gums healthy:
- Provide safe chew items daily.
- Chewing is a basic and natural behaviour for dogs and they need regularopportunities to chew on appropriate items.
- Chewing also helps to keep teeth and gums healthy.
- Chew items include dog chew toys and dental chews.
- You may also offer a raw meaty bone once or twice a week. Always talk to your vet first to check raw meaty bones are suitable for your particular dog. Remember, bones must be raw and human-grade.
- Monitor your dog’s eye health.
- Healthy eyes generally appear clear and bright and they are usually symmetrical (including symmetrical pupils). Squinting or holding an eye closed also often signals an eye problem.
- It’s helpful to know the signs of an eye problem such as eye discharge and redness. Squinting or holding an eye closed also often signals an eye problem.
- If you notice any eye changes take your pet to the local vet as soon as possible. Eye problems can worsen rapidly.
- Hair around the eye area that is obscuring vision to help prevent irritation should be trimmed. Blunt-nosed safety scissors should be used, always pointing them away from the eyes and taking extra care not to touch the eyes.
- Check the paws and footpads regularly for any cuts/abrasions.
- Carefully trim any excess hair in between the footpads and remove any trapped debris such as grass seeds/burrs.
- Check the condition and length of the nails including any ‘thumb’ nails, also known as ‘Dew claws’ higher up on the front and back feet.
- If the nails are too long carefully trim a small amount off the tip as required (ask your vet to show you how to do it safely).
- Monitor your pet for signs of an ear problem such as head shaking, ear scratching/rubbing and consult with your vet.
- Dogs with healthy ears should generally have their ears left alone.
- Dogs with long droopy ears, allergies or recurrent ear infections should be monitored closely and owners should follow their vets advice.
- Provide suitable chew items for your dog on a regular basis such as dental chews and chew toys.
- Talk to your vet about raw meaty bones and their suitability for your particular dog. Any bones offered must always be raw and human-grade.
- Consult with your vet about dental care and procedures.
- Monitor your pet’s eye health.
- If you notice any problems such as discharge, redness or squinting, consult your vet as soon as possible, eye problems can worsen rapidly.
- Hair that is obscuring your dog’s eyes should be carefully trimmed to prevent irritation. Use blunt-nosed safety scissors and avoid touching the eyes. Your local vet clinic can help.