Basic skills in Dog Grooming are necessary for every small breed dog owner. Grooming includes care of the eyes, ears, teeth, skin, coat, and nails. Your dog needs daily grooming. Don’t wait until it’s time for a trim and your monthly trip to the groomer’s.
Small breed dogs vary in the amount of daily and professional grooming needed. The texture and length of the coat, the dog’s natural hygiene habits, and several other factors play a role. There are several types of small breed dogs , so learn as much as you can about your breed’s dog grooming needs.
EYES, EARS, & TEETH
Daily dog grooming should include care for the eyes, ears, and teeth. If hair or debris is detected in the dog’s eyes, gently remove it using eye drops if necessary. Some small breed dogs are prone to tearing and tear stains, especially the Poodle and Maltese breeds. Gently cleanse this area daily to minimize staining and keep the eye areas clear.
Inspect her ears daily. Look for ticks, ear mites, wax build up, and excessive hair. All of these conditions can cause her to scratch her ears, have an odor, and be uncomfortable.
If you see a tick, have it removed by a veterinarian unless you have been instructed by a vet on how to remove a tick. Ticks embed themselves and parts of the tick can be left under the skin and lead to infection if the tick is not removed properly.
Ear mites and wax build up will cause a slight odor. The inside of her ears will actually look dirty. Use a wet cloth to gently wash the external ear only. Visit your vet for dog grooming that involves the inner ear.
Do NOT use a Q-Tip or other projectile to clean the dog’s inner ears. This could cause pain and further damage. Leave it to the professionals. Your dog may need an ear flush or ear medications.
As far as excessive hair, your comfort level will tell whether you can do this task at home or whether to have a professional groomer to do it for you. I prefer to leave this one to the groomer!
Excessive hair isn’t present in all small breed dogs. I have a Papillion that never has hair in his ears to remove even though he’s a long haired dog. On the other hand, I have two poodle-mixes and a Maltese who do get the hair build up.
Dog grooming doesn’t have to be hard. Yes, the hair needs removed. It isn’t hard to do if you have the patience. You will want to use a powder designed for use in hair removal. This makes the job easier.
The powder should have instructions to follow. Basically, you’re going to put the powder in her ears and then, manually pull out the hair. Did you just go OUCH or have visions of your dog hiding the rest of the day? Well, you’re not alone. Like I said, this is one of the grooming tasks that I won’t do myself.
With a few dog grooming supplies, you should be able to take care of your dog’s teeth at home; however, I would recommend an annual cleaning at the vet’s office. Studies have shown that oral bacteria leads to disease as well as tooth decay. Proper dental care improves your dog’s quality of life and lifespan.
There’s an array of dog grooming supplies available to help keep the teeth clean. My dogs do not like me to use a tooth brush, so I rely a lot on dental toys and chews as well as a dental rinse. I schedule them once per year for a professional cleaning.
Talk to your vet about brushing your dog’s teeth. It’s probably best to start when they are young. Like anything else, they will adjust to the grooming.
One thing to remember about brushing your dog’s teeth is to use a tooth brush and tooth paste designed for dogs. Dog toothpaste has a special enzyme that cleans the teeth.
Human toothpaste can be detrimental to your dog’s health if swallowed, and canine and human teeth are really quite different and thus require different brushes to thoroughly clean.
SKIN & COAT
Daily dog care grooming of the skin and coat will depend once again on your dog’s breed and special needs. A short-haired breed may not need brushed daily; however, a long-haired breed may need constant attention to keep the coat flowing and shiny.
Breeds like the Poodle and Maltese, require regular skilled grooming for the skin and coat. Breeds like the Papillon and Dachshund may never need to see a professional groomer.
Inspect the coat and skin for signs of ticks, fleas, and injuries. Treat affected areas as appropriate. Bathing is usually only necessary if an odor is present. However, if you bathe a long-haired dog, dry its coat with a hair-dryer to ensure she doesn’t catch a cold.
FEET & NAILS
Daily dog care grooming should include an inspection of the paws. Look for foreign objects such as glass or splinters that need removed. Observe the paw pads for cuts that may need treatment. Finally, check the length of the nails. Is it time for a trim?
My recommendation for nail trimming is to let your vet or groomer do it for you. It should be included as part of your normal grooming fee. If it’s done at the vet, you may have to pay a nominal fee but it may be worth it.
This is another one of those tasks that I don’t like doing myself. If the nail is cut too short, your dog may yelp and bleed. I like to leave it to the professionals, especially since this is a task that can generally wait until a regularly scheduled vet or groomer appointment.