Oct 6, 2010

15 Minute Doggie Makeover!

Dog makeoverImage by Eric Bégin via Flickr

Your dog is having a bad hair day. Her long hair is matted, scraggly, and feeling all-around yucky. She isn’t nearly as confident when she strolls down the street for daily walks. Usually, she struts around your block like it is her personal red carpet. Her nails scratch on the kitchen floor when she walks across it. You blame the favorite chicken broth-soaked rawhides for her offensive breath, but the truth is you have been slacking on her oral hygiene.

You can clean up your dog’s act in fifteen minutes, and restore her queenlike confidence. Maintenance in between grooming appointments will keep her healthy as well. Clean fur carries fewer allergens and is softer to touch. Some dogs actually welcome the cleaning, knowing their reward will be more lap time. Follow this regimen for a quick makeover that will please you both.

Shampoo and condition – Wash smaller dogs in the kitchen sink if you have a handy spray attachment. Medium and large dogs must be bathed in the family bathtub or laundry tub. Always use lukewarm water so you don’t burn the dog or dry out her skin. Test water temperature on the inside of your arm before soaking the dog.

Towel off and blow dry – Absorb excess water from your dog’s coat with a bath towel or chamois. Long-haired dogs can benefit from a “blow out” with a special dog hair dryer. This tool speeds the drying process and allows you to simultaneously remove tangles with a comb.

Brush teeth – Using a dog tooth brush and toothpaste give your dog’s pearly whites a good cleaning. You can find varieties flavored like peppermint, beef, and chicken. (See Day XX for more details on oral hygiene.)

Clean ears and eyes – Squeaky clean ears and bright eyes are signs of a healthy dog. You can purchase prepackaged, presoaked ear pads and wipes for convenience (see Day xx for detailed cleaning instructions). Cleaning solution also comes in gels and liquids that you dispense and massage into the ear. Eye wipe pads also make the job of cleaning the “sleepers” that collect in the corner of your dog’s peepers. You may also use drops. Check with your vet for recommended eye and ear solutions.

Short-haired dog owners get off easy. A quick rinse, shampoo, and shake-off later and their dogs are “groomed.” Long-haired dogs require more maintenance, and because their fur tangles easily and takes longer to dry, you may opt to use a doggy hair dryer to speed the process. Never use a human hair dryer on your dog. An exception: when the blow dryer is on a cool setting and you are constantly moving it back and forth, dispersing the air along the dog’s body. Ideally, purchase a special blow dryer tool from a catalogue or pet store. Dog blow dryers are safe, effective, and especially designed to not burn the dog or dry out her skin.

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Wendy Nan Rees uses her 25 years of expertise to answer pet health questions and offer expert advice for pet lovers.

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