All of the dog hygiene tips you need to know
No matter what dog hygiene tips you decide are important, the bottom line is that if your dog has good hygiene, it will be healthier over all. Some dog owners don’t think it is necessary to do a full grooming on a regular basis because dogs are naturally dirty. But, if you want to extend your dogs life, decrease potential for expensive vet bills, and have a higher quality relationship with your dog: read on. We have compiled the most important dog hygiene tips that you should consider adding to your routine with your dog.
When should you start a regular hygiene schedule?
As a puppy. Get them used to being bathed and groomed from an early age. This is similar to training and socialization: dogs are great at accepting routine in their lives. If you are regular with your baths, nail trimming, teeth cleaning, and brushing of their coats, they will get used to it and, even if they don’t like it, they will not put up a fight.
Dog Hygiene Tips for older dogs
If you have adopted or rescued an older dog, getting them to have good hygiene may be a bit of a challenge. Chances are, they aren’t going to be used to getting cared for properly. They will probably hate it, in fact. What you can do to help the process, though, is to sit on the floor with them and hold them gently, but firm. Start massaging their neck, back, belly, slowly move to their legs, and then eventually to their feet. If they resist or cry, stop what you’re doing, but don’t let them go. Start again: massaging their neck, back, belly, legs, feet. Repeat this as often and as many times until they stop resisting and crying.
Eventually, you will be able to touch your dog’s paws without them squirming away from you, as they will realize that you aren’t going to hurt them. Also, a good thing to do when you’re massaging their feet, is to massage their claws out. Don’t try and clip them or anything, just massage the pads so their nails come out. They will eventually get so used to this that you will be able to clip their nails!
How to bathe your dog:
A. How often should you brush a dogs hair?
Some dog hygiene tips depend on the breed of your dog, for example, how often to bathe and brush them. Most dogs will benefit from regular brushing though. Brushing dogs will help remove loose hair, dead skin cells, any dirt that may be stuck in their coat, as well as spread out their naturally occurring oils along their body. If your dog is prone to itchy skin, brushing them often will help relieve some irritation.
If your dog has long or curly hair, it would be a good idea to brush them on a daily basis; specifically, you must brush their hair before you bathe them.
Brushing often will get them used to this action (and in fact, lots of dog’s love getting brushed!), and more likely to accept baths and other grooming steps.
B. What temperature of water should I bathe my dog in?
Top 5 of all the dog hygiene tips: if you want your dog to be comfortable in a bath, use warm water. No one likes to shower or bathe in freezing cold water.
To start off, have your dog locked in the bathroom with you. Turn the tap on and get the water to a temperature that you think they will like; this action will help them get used to the noise. Get your hands wet and pet your dog with wet hands, so they realize that it is just water. You can do this one or two ways, and it depends on your dog, really. You can have them in the bath prior to turning on the tap, or get it all ready and then add them to it. We find that getting the bath ready first is usually easier.
Once the dog is in the bath, use a wash cloth to wet them, as dogs don’t tend to like showerheads right off the bat. Once they are used to the wash cloth, you can try to slowly introduce the showerhead to them, if you would like. Furthermore, it is important to only use a wash cloth on their head and around their eyes. Do not just dump water on their head; that is scary to them.
C. What products should I use for my dog’s bath?
Make sure that you don’t use human shampoo and conditioner on dogs. Their fur and skin needs are much different that ours. Preferably you will use an all natural product with little chemical ingredients; if this is outside of your budget (all natural products tend to be more expensive), then make sure that you find a product with the least number of chemicals. Also, once you have bought the product, test a small amount on your dogs back. This is to make sure that your dog doesn’t have a bad reaction or allergy to the ingredients in the product.
4. How often should I brush my dog’s teeth?
Dogs, no matter what age, can easily develop periodontal disease, which, in some cases, can be lethal. Like with all of our dog hygiene tips, make sure you introduce teeth brushing into your dogs lifestyle from a very young age. Get a special dog toothbrush and toothpaste, and get into a habit of brushing their teeth right after you brush yours at night. You can also get dog bones that help fight plaque and tartar.
5. Should I be cleaning my dog’s ears?
You bet! Although not as necessary to do so on a daily basis, like brushing teeth, cleaning your dog’s ears is essential to their overall health. Make sure you are checking inside their ears for ticks, redness, inflammation, and unusual odors. If your dog is incessantly shaking their head or rubbing their ears on things, this is a sign of ear infections or discomfort. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your dog to the vet for professional advice.
To clean your dog’s ears by yourself, wet a washcloth with warm water and oil. You can then remove any dirt inside their ears, but don’t go too far into their ear canal. Never use Q-Tips on your dog.
6. How do I clean my dog’s eyes?
Dog hygiene tips, no matter how silly you may think they are, are incredibly important; this includes cleaning their eyes. Eye infections are incredibly dangerous, so you will want to make sure you clean your dog’s eyes regularly. Take a warm washcloth to remove any dirt or eye-goopies from their eyes. Wipe from the inside corner to the outside. If you notice any yellowish discharge coming from their eyes, take your dog to the vet, as this is a sign of eye infection.
7. Take things slow, and practice often
Don’t expect that your dog is just going to jump into a bath right off the bat, or be eager to have you cleaning their eyes and ears. These things will take time and a lot of patience on your end. You will need to communicate to your dog that you are meaning no harm, love them, and that you are doing it for their own good. Give them lots of treats, hugs, kisses, and pats. But also be stern with your routine. Your dog will come to expect a bath after going swimming in a lake. They will know that Sundays are hygiene days. If it’s regular, they will expect it and mentally prepare for it.
8. Should I be washing my dogs bed and toys?
Absolutely. And often. Dog beds are riddled with dirt, fleas, ticks, germs, and allergens. It doesn’t matter how often you bathe your dog; if their bed is dirty, so are they. When purchasing a bed, it is a good idea to buy one that has a removable fabric cover; you can throw it in the wash on a regular basis (with dog friendly detergent!). In between washes, you may even want to vacuum it.
As for toys, these dog hygiene tips are incredibly important. Do not use typical house disinfectants or cleaning sprays. These can be lethal to your pup when they ultimately put the toy back in their mouth! An all natural option is to soak the hard toys in warm water: half water, half vinegar. This will clean your dog’s toys like a charm!
Also, fun fact, half water and half vinegar is also a good all natural way to make fruits and vegetables last longer, while getting rid of the pesticides on them!
For all soft and fabric toys, you can just throw them right into the washer with the dog bed! So easy.
9. Should I be washing my dog’s paws?
Dog’s paws track through dirt, pesticides, pollen, molds, dust mites, and any number of other irritants. On a monthly basis, you can give your dog a paw soak. Other options, however, would be to wipe down their paws with a warm washcloth whenever they go to a new location, or get particularly dirty. You can do this on a weekly basis too, if you’d like. By cleaning your dog’s paws, you will significantly reduce any paw chewing that might bother you and your dog!
10. Should I wash my dogs collar, leash, and harness?
Of course, why not? Although you do not have to wash these quite as often, it is still good to have on your radar for dog hygiene. It makes sense, if you’re cleaning everything else that touches your dog (including your dog), why put a dirty collar and harness on them?
Also, sometimes dogs pee on their leashes by accident. You will want to wash that so that you don’t accidentally touch it.
Dog Hygiene Tips Summary:
Ultimately, no matter what you do in effort to keep your dog with good hygiene, you are doing a good job. There are an endless number of things you can do and extra steps to make sure that they are the cleanest and healthiest that they can be. However, you also want to make sure that your dog is still exposed to a healthy number of germs so as to keep their immune system strong and active.
If there are any other dog hygiene tips that you use, leave us a comment and we’ll add it to our list!