Licked Into Shape

Ears, teeth, nails and paws…nails and paws! They all have special needs and what better place to take care of them other than at home. At times like this it may not be an option to take Fido to the groomer so it’s time to hone in on your beautifying skills and pamper your pup at home! This is an opportune time to build memories with your furry friend and strengthen the bond with them all while saving a few grooming dollars in the process.

selective focus photo of dog on bed
Photo by sergio souza on

Doing any kind of grooming on your dog can seem like a stressful task especially if you are not used to it but luckily it is something you can do pretty easily and with items you probably already have in your home. Well Mannered Pets suggests having the following items on hand: towels, cotton balls, tissues and a veterinarian-approved ear cleanser. Treats, a leash and patience will help you along; pick a good spot in your home to do the cleaning, like the bathroom, and get to work! Be aware that some dogs are sensitive to touch especially when it comes to their ears, so proceed with caution! Touch your dog’s ears in 30 second increments to get him used to it. Once he is ready to move forward, hold your dog’s ear up or all the way over if possible so you can clearly see inside. Squirt some ear cleanser in as directed on the packaging. Massage the ear on the outside to make sure the cleanser gets all the way in, about 20 to 30 seconds. Use the cotton balls to wipe off any excess cleanser and ear wax. Repeat on the other ear. Hear that? Squeaky clean!

photo of belgian malinois
Photo by Samson Andreea on

Does your four-legged roommate have bad breath? Stains on their teeth? Break out the brush and toothpaste because it’a time for a good cleaning! The American Kennel Club agrees that dogs need to brush their teeth too! You can find many dog-friendly dental products like wipes to remove plaque, special doggy toothbrushes or finger brushes and toothpaste made especially for dogs. You only need a small amount of toothpaste on a brush or on your finger, whatever your dog prefers, and start touching and opening Fido’s mouth so he gets used to it. Patience is a common denominator when it comes to grooming as this could take days or weeks for your dog to get comfortable with it. Make sure to reach as far back as you can to ensure that the back teeth are equally as clean as the front and sides. If using a brush it may be helpful to hold it at a 45 degree angle. Eventually you should get on a schedule of doing teeth cleanings anywhere from 3 days to every day of the week if possible. If this routine isn’t something you will be able to fit into your schedule, there are plenty of chew toys and other products made specifically with dental hygiene in mind. Your dog’s smile will light up the room!

white and brown short coated dog lying on green grass
Photo by Jessica Nunes on

Nails and Paws
And lastly, we have those lovely nails and paws. It’s a shared feeling between human and dog that clipping nails is the least exciting grooming service on the menu. While you won’t be jumping out of bed in the morning to get this one done, it really is essential to prevent back and joint problems in your dog. If your dog’s nails aren’t trimmed at least every 3 weeks or so, they may become uncomfortably long and your dog may start walking differently to compensate for pushing his long nails into his nail beds – ouch! If you take your dog for regular walks, it is possible that their nails are getting trimmed naturally (an added bonus besides exercise), but you still have that pesky dew claw. It could be dangerous if dew claws are not trimmed because they grow into a hook shape and could get caught on virtually anything. Dog Toys Advisor’s number one suggestion is getting a good set of scissor style clippers. Next, pick the perfect time of day for the job, when your dog is all relaxed or tired after playing. Keep them calm and start with small baby steps by trimming just the tips. Cutting nails should not be done too quickly as to avoid the quick. Yeah, you don’t want to go too far and clip that. If your dog’s nails are white it should be pretty easy to see the quick; dark nails, clip with caution because the quick will bleed if you cut it. Proceed by holding the foot gently but firmly, giving lots of cuddles and kisses and taking a few calming breaths. Finally, file! It’s really no different than clipping your own nails…you want to keep your nails at a comfortable length, it hurts if you cut too far and you file afterwards to keep them smooth. See? You hit the nail on the head!

Paw-wise, always check for any wounds or infections, trim any extra hair in between the pads to prevent debris like grass seeds and burrs that may stick in there, and general matting.

Overwhelmed? Love Of A Pet offers these tips:
• Don’t rush and don’t stress
• Don’t restrain your dog by gripping his fur
• Don’t overwhelm your dog too by doing too many grooming tasks at once. Space them out and remember that these moments should leave a positive impression
• Don’t give up and try to make it as fun as possible!

If walking your dog in cold and hot weather conditions remember that Saltsox and Lavasox have your paws covered, literally! We are in between seasons right now but I’m never shocked to see a sudden snowfall in the forecast or an abnormally hot day coming up.

The best thing is to be prepared, especially if you are at home more often now…you never know what kind of weather is waiting for you and your dog out there!

For those colder days, keep those paws toasty and tidy in Saltsox available in Blizzard Black, Ice Fire Red, Winter Night Blue and IceBreaker Gray. For walks that require a bit of a breather, there’s Lavasox. They will keep paws cool and protected in bright colors like Flame, Citrine, Marina Blue and Pink Sorbet.

No matter how you spend your time at home, make the most of it and enjoy this gift of companionship you have been given with your furry pal. Lick them into shape with fresh, clean ears, sparkling white teeth, perfectly manicured nails and some booties to match! Happy Grooming! -Team Saltsox

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