One large part of responsible dog ownership is to ensure proper grooming. Many pet owners may take their pets to a groomer or full-service pet salon. However, you can easily groom your dog at home, especially in between groomer visits. If your dog has never been groomed, you should first try to relax her. Talk to her in a reassuring voice and do short sessions, under 10 minutes. You need to get your dog accustomed to being touched and handled during grooming, especially if she will be going to a salon. Once you have calmed her, it's time to start grooming. Grooming entails several important things. You can ensure your pet's coat is well-maintained with a good brushing. Brushing begins with a nice solid brush. Your veterinarian may recommend a good one for your dog's coat and you may need to research how to brush your pet's coat for your dog's breed. Brush at the top of your dog's head, and gently groom the fur with the brush. Work your way down the chest, the body, the tail, around the feet if needed, and the back. Be sure to brush gently on the belly. If fur is thickly matted, you may want to let a professional remove it. Reward your dog with praise and treats once you're done brushing. Your dog grooms her fur, but she needs regularly bathing just like humans. The ASPCA generally recommends your dog receive a bath every three to four months. However, if you have an outdoor dog or a dog with a long coat, your pet may need baths more frequently. You can bathe your dog inside or outside, using a mild pet-friendly shampoo. Most pet owners bathe their dogs in a bathroom; but, outdoors means less cleanup. Whatever your choice, make sure all supplies are ready, use lukewarm water, and brush your dog before bathing. Use 3 to 4 inches of water in the tub and wet your dog's coat thoroughly. Be careful you don't spray water in her face or eyes. Work shampoo into the coat, moving from head to tail, and massaging it in well. Rinse carefully as if you would a baby, being careful not to soak the ears or face. Some dogs are scared of a hair dryer; avoid using it if this is the case. After the bath, rub your dog with a clean, large towel. Most dogs will shake off the excess water, so be prepared. Finally, be sure to reward your dog after her bath. It is a good idea to get your dog used to having her feet touched. This will help when it is time to trim her nails. You can ask your vet or groomer for advice about how often your petâ€™s nails should be trimmed. Holding your dog's paw carefully, gently trim a bit off the end of the nail. Be very careful not to cut the quick, which is the soft, tender flesh below the growing part of the nail. If clipped, it can bleed severely. After trimming, smooth the nails with a nail file. Your breed may require specialized grooming from a professional. However, these tips can help you keep your dog looking and feeling great between visits.
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