Grooming your dog regularly is a great way to strengthen the bond you already share. It's also a way to become familiar with your dog's normal skin and coat as you may notice any changes such as fur loss or a mass that may need to be investigated by your vet.

Top Tips

1. Start with knowing your dog's breed requirements, for example long coated border collies and golden retrievers will need a thorough brush out at least twice weekly. Where as shorter coated breeds such as staffies will require less brushing and more regular baths.

2. Grooming on the outside will be easier if your dog is healthy on the inside. Invest in a diet that is complete and balanced and you will see the difference in your dog's coat. This simple change can turn a dry, flaky coat with reddened skin into a shiny, luxe and easily managed one.

3. Use quality, natural products if your dog hasn't been prescribed a medicated one from your vet. Dog's skin is sensitive and it's different to our own so using a natural shampoo that is designed especially for dogs is a must. The Dr Zoo Natural Shampoo and Conditioner uses Glucose and Coconut based cleansers rather than one harsh product that can irritate the skin. 

4. When bathing, try not to allow water to go down the ears, this sets up infection and the next week you may be at the vet with a very sore and uncomfortable pooch. Use instead an ear cleanser specifically for dogs, purchased from your vet or pet store.

5. Set aside time to make it an enjoyable experience for both of you. This will help your dog relax and if you are trimming fur around the body then there will be less chance you will accidentally injure your pet.    If you don't have time, as we are all busy in our lives, then consider using a dry shampoo that week and not rushing through a full groom at home. Dr Zoo has one that acts like a dry bath since the formula cleans the dirt and the bacteria that causes that doggy smell.

What tools are essential?

A non-slip mat if you are using the laundry sink or bath to wash your pet in. Dog's can easily injure themselves on a slippery surface and it adds to their anxiousness if they are losing grip whilst trying to bathe. Other essentials are The Dr Zoo Natural Shampoo and Conditioner, a good quality brush, a shammy to cut drying time in half, or a blow dryer if your pet is used to it. I do suggest trimming or shaving be done by a professional.

How often do dogs need to be bathed and what do you use?

Frequency of bathing depends on the skin condition of the dog and the breed. However, a general guideline is a fortnightly wash with a natural shampoo and conditioner. The Dr Zoo range is my number one go to! The products are free from harsh chemicals and use a combination of coconut-based cleansers, aloe vera and colloidal rice bran to create a nourishing shampoo that also gives a deep cleanse. They have been specifically formulated to work with the dog's skin, recognising the differences in pH levels compared to ours.

What should you do if you have a dog that is resistant to the grooming process?

Start young! Getting your new puppy familiar with regular bathing, grooming and nail trimming can save you a lot of worry down the track. The best thing to do is to play with your puppy's paws, rub their gums with your forefinger, touch around the eyes and face and make bath time enjoyable. If you have an older dog, try doing frequent and less time-consuming grooms. A few minutes at a time each day with a treat reward can really help. Go back to basics if you have to with 'sit' and 'stay' and then incorporate brushing and eventually bathing will become easier.

Dr Andy