Two women washing dog with shampoo.

Grooming for the Senses

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Any pet owner will tell you, “Dogs have feelings too.” Unfortunately, getting in touch with those feelings can be challenging — after all, they can’t tell us what’s on their mind. The best we can do is pay attention, whether it’s monitoring their sleep, appetite or general energy. We can also remember that we have something in common with our dogs – five senses.

By grooming our dogs in a way that enriches their senses, we’re helping them to enjoy the sweeter things in life while also enhancing their health and happiness.

Sight
Your dog’s eyes are the windows to their soul, so if you can’t see them, it may be time for a trim. Not all breeds require routine trimming of the coat around the eyes, but if they do, the right trimmer or a blunt-nosed scissors is recommended. Keeping hair from scraping on the eye will help prevent bacteria from getting into the eye. In addition to trimming, the eye should also be inspected for mucus or dried matter. These can be wiped clean with a lukewarm moistened, soft, clean cloth, cotton ball or tissue. Never use soap, and avoid rubbing or touching the eyeball.

Sound
The last thing your dog wants is to miss your call for a treat or walk. So whether they’re perky or floppy, keeping your dog’s ears clean is important, and a little basic routine maintenance is generally all that’s required to keep them healthy. The first step is to examine your dog’s ears for foreign objects. If you see something, contact your veterinarian and DON’T insert anything into your dog’s ear canal to remove it. If all is clear, moisten a cotton ball or cloth with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel and gently wipe the inside of the ears. If your dog sprouts excess hair within his ear use a blunt-nosed scissors or approved trimmer to remove it being careful to stay clear of the ear canal

Smell
A dog's nose print is as unique as a human's fingerprint, plus a dog can smell 1,000 times better than a human — needless to say, a dog’s nose is pretty important. Grooming your dog’s nose will keep it in tip-top condition, so if he has a lot of hair around his nose -- trim it. This way the hair won’t irritate the nostrils or get inside to cause more problems. Cleaning it will also help prevent bacteria from entering your dog’s sinus cavity. To do this, simply wipe your dog's nose with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge or dirt. If his nose is particularly dirty, a specially formulated cleaning wipe will do the trick.

Taste
There’s little in life that tops a dog’s wish list more than food. But to enjoy all his favorite delicacies he needs a healthy mouth and teeth. While humans have no excuses, our pets require assistance to maintain proper oral hygiene. Regular teeth cleaning can stave off bad breath, extra trips to the vet and even a life threatening bacterial infection, so the moral of the story is — just do it. Daily cleaning is best, but weekly can still be very beneficial. Start off by getting your dog accustom to the idea by gently massaging his gums with your finger, and put a small amount of pet toothpaste (never use human toothpaste) on his lips so he gets used to the taste. Once you think he’s ready, apply toothpaste directly to his teeth and use a small, soft toothbrush, or gauze wrapped around your finger, and gently brush.

Touch
For dog’s cuddling is an Olympic sport, one they are prepared to practice almost any minute of the day. But for humans, nuzzling and tummy rubs usually don’t come to mind when our pooch isn’t looking, or smelling, his best. Thankfully, there are some quick touch ups you can do to make your quiet time together as relaxing as can be. For example, if your dog brought home a smell from the evening walk, a deodorant spray will do the trick. Or if he got into something a little grimier, a no-rise waterless shampoo is the perfect refresh between baths.

As always, if you have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your veterinarian

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