Do you have a dog that sheds and requires a little personal attention regularly? I’ve learned that grooming your dog doesn’t require a trip to the local canine salon; you can do it yourself with four of your own tools. My basic styling kit consists of three brushes; the Zoom Groom, Double Row and Slicker, along with a set of nail trimmers.
One of the brushes I love for grooming any dog that sheds a lot is the Zoom Groom rubber brush. I would recommend it for short haired dogs (Labradors, German Shepherds, etc.) but is not good for breeds that have fluffy hair, Pomeranians, for example. It is great for loosening up and removing hair, using small circles as in the wax-on/wax- off motion. I like to use it first in the tub with my German Shepherd to loosen up his coat and then again when he is dry, to get more loose hair off. Brushing him once or twice a week cuts down on his shedding throughout the house and in my car. Unlike some other brushes, you can use this all over the dog’s body without causing them harm. The zoom groom is gentle and can either be used daily; or however frequently you like. When the rubber spikes wear down simply trade it in for a new one. Avoid brushing your pet too much in one area, or on sensitive areas, as this can cause a raw spot to form, which is painful.
When you start to see chunks of hair on your dog that you can easily pull out, it’s time for the Double Row brush. It has two rows of metal teeth and is used to remove undercoats for longer haired breeds. This is that time in the grooming cycle where it looks like your dog has enough loose hair to make another dog. I like using this brush mostly on their chest, shoulders, back and hip area. I have also found it works best once my dog is dry from his bath. As with all the other tools, be aware of sensitive areas such as their legs and face. If you run this brush up and down your shin a couple of times, you will understand why I mention that.
Another of my favorites is called the slicker brush. This one is great for untangling slight knots and getting out loose hair from the top coat of your dog. It is great for using on the ears, but can also be used all over the body. Simply brush the way their coat grows to avoid any uncomfortable tangling or pulling. Fluffing out the tail is another useful function; just make sure you section the hair and do it in pieces. I would also recommend it when cutting the hair between the toes. First, brush the hair upward and then trim the hair on the toes. You should avoid cutting too deeply or it becomes noticeable you cut their hair. And let’s face it, none of us like getting a botched haircut.
Lastly, I recommend dog nail trimmers or a dremel if your pet has long kwiks. When cutting white toe nails you can see where the kwik ends. If this makes you nervous, do a little bit at a time to avoid cutting your dog. However, accidents do happen and since this area tends to bleed so much, I suggest you have kwik stop on hand to apply if necessary. When cutting nails that are black, or dark in color, you can’t see the kwik. So, I bet you’re wondering, “ how do I know if I’m cutting too close to their kwik?” Trim a little bit at a time and eventually you will see a white dot on the nail that shows you are getting close and have cut off enough. So now, I am wondering, is this where the term “cut me to the quick” originated?
When using the dremel, press against the nail and it will file off a little bit at a time, depending on the speed and pressure you are using on their nail.
Having these four basic grooming tools will help you tremendously with your dog’s hygiene and appearance. Plus, grooming your dog is a great bonding experience between you and them… so it’s a win-win!
-Ashley Rodriquez, UberDog Trainer