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My dog is a rescue, I don’t even know what breed she is! But she has some lab and hound in her. So her fur is very low maintenance. Despite this, all dogs require minimal grooming to keep them in tip top health.
1. Deshedding tool: Izzy does shed a little bit twice a year, in the spring and fall. Cue the Furminator.
This tool is amazing. When you schedule a deshedding service at a dog groomers, they just use this tool. I’m sure it’s definitely worth paying someone else to do if you have a thick fur breed like a husky, but for lower maintenance shedders, this is easy to use at home. The tool gently cuts out the soft undercoat that is ready to shed, so you get it out all at once, rather than slowly letting it fall throughout your house or onto your fingers every time you pet your dog.
They sell vacuum attachments to help clean up the fur, and they make these for cats! They come in a variety of sizes depending on how big your dog is.
2. Nail trimmers and file: I trim Izzy’s nails at home. Every dog needs their nails trimmed. Long nails create problems in your dog’s gate and, subsequently, can cause premature joint problems. You don’t want their nails to touch the ground when they walk. You shouldn’t ear a clicky noise when walking on hard floors or concrete. If your dog gets a lot of exercise, especially on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt, you may not need to trim their nails very often. You can always have the vet trim their nails if they’re every sedated, or take them to a groomer. But if you start desensitizing your dog to having their nails touched and trimmed as a young puppy, they should tolerate it no problem. These are the nail clippers I use. They’re easy to hold and have an adjustable back plate to make sure the nail doesn’t go in too far (see my instagram highlight for a video tutorial) I also file Izzy’s nails after trimming, just to make sure there aren’t any sharp edges. If your dogs nails get worn down from exercise enough, you may be able to just occasionally file their nails instead of cutting them. Here’s the tool I use.
3. Toothpaste and brush: If we don’t take proper care of our dog’s teeth, we may end up paying for it in the long run. Vets recommend comprehensive dental exam by 1 year for small dogs and 2 years of age for medium to large dogs. Without regular dental care, dogs can develop serious teeth problems. A comprehensive dental includes anesthesia, x-rays, and often, tooth removal. If you regularly clean your dog’s teeth, they are less likely to require extractions, which greatly increase the cost of a dental.
Start desensitizing your dog to teeth brushing as a puppy. Begin by running your finger along their gums and teeth, and opening their mouth and lips. The more you do this, the more comfortable your dog will be with having their teeth brushed. You can then begin to add touching a toothbrush to their teeth. I personally like the finger toothbrush, because I can brush quickly and have a better feel for what I’m doing.
Next, let your dog taste the toothpaste. Then place the toothpaste on the brush and let them lick it off. Then touch the toothbrush to their teeth. Gradually increase the amount of time you brush. At first, brush one tooth and reward your dog, then stop. Eventually you will be able to brush all their teeth while they calmly sit.
Some canine toothpastes (never use human toothpaste for your pets) have brushless options that you just squeeze onto your dog’s teeth, and them licking it activates the cleaning properties.
4. Water Addative: Izzy is currently on prednisone, which makes her hungry. I don’t give her extra food, so she satisfies her hunger urges with chewing. She was chewing so much, she fractured two of her molars! I learned my lesson about letting her chew on bones. Read the full story here. Dogs can’t undergo anesthesia while taking prednisone, so she can’t get a dental to remove the teeth. The vet recommended this water additive as another layer of protection on her compromised teeth until she stops taking prednisone. It helps prevent bacteria growth and reduces plaque buildup.
Even if you don’t have a dog that needs regular haircuts and grooming, it is important to maintain their physical health with a few grooming basics. These 4 essential products are simple and easy to add to your dog’s health regimen to keep them in tip top shape!