If you’ve been unable to visit one of our Grooming Salons during the past couple of months, your pup may be ready for an at-home spa day. Grooming is a key part of keeping your pup healthy and happy, so it’s important to continue with grooming upkeep as much as possible during shelter-in-place.
We sat down (virtually, of course!) with our Director of Services, Patricia Sugihara, to help us round up the best at-home grooming tips to keep your pup clean, happy and healthy right from your house.
Start with a little CBD
If your pup gets anxious during bath time, giving them a little CBD might help take the edge off. 15-20 minutes before you plan to give your dog a bath, administer a dose of CBD. Not sure what product will be best or how much to give? Check out our CBD article to learn about the products we carry or speak to a team member about the appropriate dose.
Put down a non-slip surface in your bath tub
Your dog may be a little squirmy while you try to bathe them, so it’s important to make sure they have a safe surface to stand on to prevent slipping and to make it easier for them to stay in one place. A bath safety mat will work if you already have one, but if not, you can put a towel at the bottom of your tub.
Use treats as a distraction
Make bath time fun and rewarding by using positive reinforcement. Sometimes dogs will not be interested in treats during a bath, but if they are, it is great to associate grooming with treats to create a positive experience. One of our favorite tricks is to use a LickiMat (available in store) on the wall of the tub and put peanut butter on it to distract your dog while you bathe them. They get snacks, you get a clean dog! It’s a win-win!
The quality of your shampoo matters
Not all pet shampoos are created equal. Many of them are packed with artificial colorants, parabens and sulfates, which are all bad for your pup’s fur and skin. Pick a shampoo that fits your dog’s fur needs and is as natural as possible. Healthy Spot’s Signature Spa Line has 3 shampoos that are all safe, non-toxic, vegan and smell great! Check them out here.
Dilute Your Shampoo
One of the tricks that the professional groomers use is diluting shampoo with a 10-to-1 ratio of water to shampoo. This helps to spread the shampoo much easier on your pup and will rinse out more thoroughly. Patricia says a good rule of thumb is that if you think you’ve rinsed your pup enough, rinse again! If shampoo residue is left in your pup’s coat, it can irritate their skin. This is an easy way to avoid that!
Safety tip: Avoid shampoo around their eyes. It’s also important to make sure you don’t get too much water in their nose or ear canals.
Dry Your Dog As Quickly and Thoroughly As Possible
All dogs should be towel dried straight out of the tub. Most dogs tend to like this process because it feels like a vigorous massage. It’s crucial to do it directly after their bath and to explain why, Patricia compares leaving your dog damp to leaving a wet towel on the floor. The longer a towel or your dog stays wet, the sooner they will start to smell. If you choose not to blow dry your dog, spend even more time towel drying your pup. If you do blow dry your dog, it’s ideal to have a partner help you hold your dog still. Should this not be an option, tether your pup to the spot you are blow drying them. Patricia suggests putting your pup on a sturdy, raised surface while blow drying them, or else they may try to escape.
Safety tip: Never leave your pup tethered on a surface without supervision. Additionally, when blow drying, use the low temperature setting, since dogs have more sensitive skin than humans.
Don’t forget the ears!
Keeping your pup’s ears clean is an important part of their overall health. Use a product meant for dog’s ears specifically. After bathing, put the product on a cotton ball and gently clean inside their ear. This will remove debris and help eliminate any water that got into their ears during the bath.
Safety tip: Never use a Q-Tip to clean your pet’s ears. You should not go any deeper in their ears than you can see.
Be cautious with their nails
Patricia suggests that you do not cut your pup’s own nails unless you’ve been taught by a professional because it is easy to hurt your dog in the process. A safer option is to file your pet’s nails with a coarse nail file. If you are not comfortable doing this, call one of the Healthy Spot salons currently open to schedule a grooming appointment. You can view all of our locations here.
Think twice before you cut
Unless you have done some serious research, had proper training on how to cut your dog’s hair, have a pair of grooming shears and know that your dog will remain calm during the process, we recommend you do not cut your dog’s fur. Why? One wrong move could lead to potential injury for you or your pup. If your dog is in desperate need of a haircut or is severely matted, call your local Healthy Spot to schedule an appointment.
Manage tangles before they happen
To avoid matting and knots in your pup’s coat, brush your dog every day. Patricia tells her clients that it is better to brush your dog for a few minutes every day than for hours one day a week. To make the process a breeze, use our Signature Spa Enhance Conditioning Spray, a leave-in conditioner that works like a detangler. It will also strengthen your pup’s hair fibers and reduce shedding on double coats. When brushing, use a gentle hand and brush their whole body thoroughly.
Fur-eshen up in between bath time
To keep your pup smelling and looking clean between baths, try using grooming wipes. They will gently cleanse your pet’s coat, removing dirt and odors. Our go-to wipes are our Signature Spa Refresh Grooming Wipes. They’re plant-based and are free of synthetic fragrances, chlorine and alcohol, plus they leave your pup smelling fresh and clean!
We know that this shelter-in-place may be ruff on your pup’s grooming needs, but we hope these tips help you keep your pup clean and healthy while staying home. Have questions, need more tips or have your own to share? Leave us a comment!