Authored by: Dr. Lindsey, DVM
In addition to the dental hygiene and teeth brushing that I recently wrote about, today’s topic is grooming. Bathing and nail trimming are both part of the grooming regime of a pet and you can do both at home if you want. It may take some training to get the pet used to having those things done.
As far as bathing goes, once the pet is trained to be in the bathtub follow the instructions on the pet shampoo (don’t use human shampoo). The instructions usually will say how much to apply and how long to keep the shampoo on the coat. The length of time to keep the shampoo on the coat will also depend on how long you can keep your dog in the bathtub. I have had clients tell me they use peanut butter (not containing xylitol) and smear it on the walls of the bathtub. This keeps their dog busy and entertained during the bath. The peanut butter can be a good reward so that the bathtub can be a positive experience.
Nail trimming can be a bit trickier than bathing but is still very attainable to do at home. If you get your pet as a puppy, part of their training should be to hold on to and mess with their feet and toes so they become accustomed to it at a young age. It’s also important to trim puppy toenails because they can be very sharp! When they are puppies, it’s important to get them used to seeing the nail trimmer and hearing the clicking sound of it. Since puppies don’t have much of an attention span, I will tell owners to just try and get one foot trimmed per day and to keep it a positive training session for the puppy. If nail trimming is done regularly during puppyhood, the dogs usually think it’s no big deal for nail trims as an adult. In the vet clinic, we like to reward the dogs with treats as they get their nails trimmed. The treats can help to distract them as well as it being a positive experience.
Pet Honesty is coming out with a new shampoo, the Anti-Itch shampoo. The Anti-Itch Shampoo will contain ingredients like coconut oil, aloe, and vitamin E to cleanse, moisturize, and deodorize the dogs. Ask your veterinarian if the Pet Honesty products may be right for your pet.
Dr. Lindsey graduated from Colorado State University in 2009 and works in general practice, shelter medicine, and more recently as a civilian contractor veterinarian for the Army. She is also certified in acupuncture and resides in Palm Springs, CA.