Whether a purebred pet or a pound pup, grooming a dog will help him stay clean and healthy. Grooming a dog is not difficult, but some pets are easier to groom than others. Those selecting a pet should take the time required for grooming into consideration. In general, grooming a dog is a faster and easier process when the pet in question has short, straight hair. Long- or curly-haired breeds like Golden Retrievers or Poodles require more care than their short-haired counterparts.
Those who already own a dog can research the breed to learn more about particular grooming issues to expect. Considerations include coat length and type, ear shape, and breed characteristics. Pets with long or dense hair may take a longer time to bathe and brush than short-haired pets, while dogs with long, floppy ears or drooping flaps of skin may require more facial cleaning and grooming. Before you begin grooming a dog, consider his overall structure and size as well. Some pets may need to be bathed outdoors — you won't be able to fit an unwilling Great Dane into a bathtub.
Choosing the right vessel for bathing a dog can help make the bath a pleasant experience. Most breeds do well on a once-a-month bath schedule, but dogs that are very active or often get dirty may need to be bathed more frequently. Older or infirm dogs may need less frequent baths, thanks to lower activity levels. When bathing or grooming a dog, canine products should be used; shampoo designed for humans is not ideal for dogs.
While bathing is a big part of grooming a dog, daily brushing is the key to maintaining a healthy coat. Brushing a dog daily will remove debris from his coat and will help the owner notice problems like fleas or ticks in a timely manner. Grooming a dog with a brush does not have to be a lengthy process. Using a slicker or fine-toothed brush and going over the body in the direction the hair grows will speed the process along. Long-haired or very large dogs will take longer to brush than small ones.
Other things to consider when grooming a dog include ear cleaning, tooth brushing, and nail care. Special ear-cleaning solutions are available through most vets and pet stores and can be used after a bath and as needed to keep a pet's ears clean. Weekly use of a pet toothbrush or crunchy tooth treats will keep any breed's teeth in great shape year-round, and a simple pair of trimmers can be used on nails after each bath.