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Keeping Your Dog Clean: Tips & Tricks from a Groomer

Reading Time: 4 MIN

Tear Stains

White puppy having obvious stains on its eyes caused by eye discharge.

What are tear stains and why do they happen? Tear stains are stains around a dog’s eyes. The stains are visible on light colored dogs but can be seen on darker colored dogs as well. Usually, the stains are red or brown in color.

Causes can range from a shallow eye socket, dirt or allergens, or minerals in the water. Check with your veterinarian in the case the tear stains may be allergy related as this will require additional treatment.

To lessen tear stains at home, use a warm towel and apply a tearless shampoo. Take the towel and gently wipe away the tear stain. The stain might require some massaging to break up and remove. Using distilled water instead of tap water in your dog’s water bowl will also help lessen the severity of the tear stains.

You can also use tear stain wipes. Nootie Tear Stain Wipes are easy to use to wipe the stains away. These are great to use after a bath to get more of the staining out.

Ear Maintenance and Cleaning

Hand to the ear cleaning of dog

Ear cleaning is very important. If done irregularly or not enough, your dog can develop irritation or infections. Ear cleaning is easy and only takes a couple of minutes. It’s best to do it during or after giving your dog a bath, multiple times a month.

Dirty ears can be caused by debris that sits in the ear. If your dog has dirt in his ear, most cleaning will remove the debris easily. With an ear infection, you will see a red or swollen ear. Sometimes, there is also a foul odor.

Cleaning dirty ears in the bathtub is recommended. You will want to use a dog specific ear cleaner and cotton balls or cotton pads. Soak the cotton balls with a cleaner and gently rub the debris out of your dog’s ear. Then, take your ear cleaner and pour a little down in the ear. Grab the base of the ear and massage the cleaner in well. This will break up all the dirt left in the ear, and your dog will shake his head to remove the rest of the dirt.

If your dog has an ear infection, it’s best to just clean the top part of the ear and not clean the ear canal. Your vet will want to examine your dog’s ears to recommend the best treatment.

Cleaning your dog’s ears can also prevent infections so it’s best to work ear cleaning into your regular cleaning maintenance for your pet.

Tips & Tricks on Nail Trims

Owner cuts nails jack russell terrier puppy dog with scissors

Keeping your pup’s nails trimmed can keep them happy and free of any discomfort. Trimmed nails lead to less breakage and overall healthier nails. When trimming nails at home, make sure your dog is comfortable. You can use treats to keep your dog happy as you trim the nails. It’s also important to have styptic powder on hand in case you cut the nail quick as this will quickly stop the bleeding. It’s best to trim a little at a time to avoid cutting the quick, and this allows you to see when you need to stop. To watch Chris’s tutorial on the proper way to trim nails, check out his step-by-step guide at the 23 minute mark here!

Prepping Your Puppy for the Groomer

Getting your puppy groomed for the first time is a fun experience. There are things you can do at home to ensure it’s fun and not stressful for your pup. The more you play with your puppy’s feet, the more comfortable she will feel when the groomer does the same. The same goes with brushes and combs. Using these early on with your puppy will ensure that she isn’t stressed by them. Also, play with your pup using a spoon or other shiny object around her eyes. This is a great way to help her get used to the way a groomer’s scissors look.

Mats, Tangles and Brush Recommendations

Young dog enjoying while owner combing it

Regular brushing can prevent mats and will keep your dog’s coat looking great. Mats are formed when your dog’s hair begins to knot into itself. Chris breaks down mats into 3 separate grades. Grade 1 is more of a tight curl and can be removed easily in most cases with a brush and a comb. Grade 2 are tangles and loose matting. This is where the hair starts to knot into itself but is still loose enough to be pulled apart with your hand. If it’s just one of these Grade 2 mats, it’s easy to remove, but when there are a lot of Grade 2 mats, removing them becomes much more difficult. Grade 3 mats are hard, rocky mats that are often chained together. There is sadly only one way to remove these, and that is by shaving.

How can you determine which type of mat your dog has? Typically, the higher the mat is on the coat, the easier it is to remove. Most Grade 1 mats are towards the top of the coat and tend to come out with minimal brushing. Grade 2 and 3 mats fall lower on the coat and are sometimes right against the skin. This can make them more difficult to remove, and it’s important to ask a groomer for help with these. A slicker brush and a regular brush like the Bass brush are important to have at home to make sure you brush your dog regularly and avoid mats. However, matts do happen. To watch Chris’s tips on how to de-matt your dog, check out the video at the 26 minute mark here!


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