Dog Hygiene: DOs and DON’Ts:
If you are a dog owner, you know that ensuring proper dog hygiene is one of the most important aspects of caring for your pup (and yourself, for that matter). According to the CDC, 60% of all animal diseases are zoonotic – meaning they can pass from animals to humans.
In this blog, we will discuss the dog hygiene practices that you should adopt (or continue adopting) as well as the things you should avoid (or continue avoiding).
Dog hygiene: DO Brush the Fur Regularly:
Ideally, you should brush your dog’s coat every other day. By regularly brushing the fur, you can keep knots and tangles from developing. You will also prevent the fur from matting; matted fur is rough, tangled, and hard to brush. This type of fur also puts the dog at risk since it causes irritation, hampers temperature regulation, and makes for a good hiding place for ticks, fleas, and other gross parasites.
DON’T Over-brush the Fur:
While regularly brushing the fur is important, it is just as crucial that you do it with a smooth and gentle hand. Brushing too hard can cause the coat to start thinning.
DO Use the Right Fur Brush:
Make sure that you have a brush that is suited for your dog’s fur type. Pin brushes are recommended for long-furred dogs while bristle brushes work best for dogs with shorter fur hair.
DON’T Use Scissors to Cut the Matting Out:
If you use a scissor to remove the matting, your dog may get scared and try to move away, resulting in accidental cuts or other injuries. For this reason, it is best to de-tangle the mat using a comb. If you are unable to address the matting yourself, we recommend visiting a professional dog groomer and letting them handle the problem.
Dog hygiene: DO Brush the Fur Before Bath Time:
Bathing tangled fur will cause the strengthening of existing tangles while also causing new tangles to develop. For this reason, it is best to de-tangle your dog before getting them in the bathtub.
Dog hygiene: DON’T Use Human Shampoo:
Avoid bathing your dog with a human shampoo: using human shampoo can disrupt a dog’s acid mantle and leave them more vulnerable to bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
Besides, it can also make your pup’s skin itchy, dry, and flaky, resulting in repeated abrasions and scratching. This, too, makes it easier for the bacteria to reside and attack.
For this reason, you must use a shampoo formulated particularly for dogs.
Dog hygiene: DO Use the Right Toothbrush:
When cleaning your dog’s teeth and mouth, make sure to use a brush that is suited to their size. We recommend buying a toothbrush designed specifically for the mouth of a dog. Some brushes also fit over the tip of the finger and make it easier for you to clean your pup’s teeth.
Dog hygiene: DON’T Use Human Toothbrush:
ALWAYS use toothpaste intended for canines. Under no circumstances should you clean your dog’s teeth with human toothpaste; these pastes often contain xylitol and other ingredients that can be harmful or even lethal for dogs.
DO Give Nylon Chew Toys:
These chew toys will help keep your dog’s teeth clean in between brushing sessions. Chewing on nylon toys helps get rid of plaque that may have accumulated in and around the teeth.
DON’T Use Baking Soda:
Baking soda is another thing to steer clear of. While it is beneficial for human teeth, it can damage a dog’s stomach or entire digestive tract, if swallowed.
Do Clean Your Dog’s Ears At Least Once a Week:
Use a moist cloth or cotton ball to clean your dog’s ears every week. You can also find ear-cleaning solutions designed specifically for canines. Wipe out the insides of the ears to remove any excess gunk or wav.
DON’T Over-clean the Ears:
Just like with the fur, overdoing offers little extra benefit and can do a great deal of harm. Over-cleaning can lead to irritation, which is why you should not clean your dog’s ears every day (or even every other day). Moreover, if you detect a foreign object in the ear, consult a vet before attempting to remove it yourself.
You should also avoid using Q-tips: far from cleaning the ears, they can push the debris deeper into the ear, and even damage the ear canal itself.
DO Trim Your Dog’s Nails:
Make sure to trim your dog’s nails regularly. Failure to do so can lead to serious injuries that can affect the dog’s posture and spine. Ideally, your dog’s nails should be trimmed once every two weeks (sooner, if your dog runs or walks a lot). As a rule of thumb, you should trim your dog’s nails as soon as they start touching the ground.
DON’T Use Human Trimming Tools:
Avoid using human scissors or nail trimmers; go for nail grinders, clippers, and other proper tools that have been specifically designed for dogs.
Do Start Slow with the Trimming:
When starting out, make sure to go slow and carefully – particularly if your dog is not used to having their nails trimmed or paws handled.
Dog hygiene: DON’T Trim if You Are Not Confident:
If you are not feeling sure or confident, it is best to avoid trimming your dog’s nails yourself. You will likely leave the nails too long, risking injury and bleeding. In this case, it is best to take your dog to a vet or professional groomer – they can either cut the nails themselves, or show you the proper technique before you make a self-attempt.
Dog hygiene: DO Check Your Dog’s Paws:
Assess your dog’s paws regularly to make sure that they do not have any thorns, rocks, or other pieces of debris stuck in them. Also remember to check the spaces between the toes.
If you live with pet dogs, maintaining their hygiene is essential for their health as well as your own. The above DOs and DON’Ts of dog hygiene can go a long way in keeping your dogs clean and healthy and steering clear of any viral, bacterial, or other diseases.