Taking care of your dog is more than just providing them with food, fresh water and regular exercise. They need general hygiene as well, to keep them happy, healthy and away from the vet. Dental care, grooming and keeping their eyes and ears clean from the start can have major health benefits as they grow older; and in addition to a happy pet that looks great, you could also save on vet bills.
Dental care is just as important for your precious dog as it is for you. Regular teeth cleaning will ensure their teeth are free from decay, plaque and tartar that can lead to infections and illness, as well as costly vet visits. Poor oral hygiene can cause gum diseases like Gingivitis, where eventually gaps will form under the teeth, and bacteria will grow. This could cause bone loss and tissue damage between the gum and teeth.
With toothbrushes and toothpastes especially designed for pets it is easier than ever to maintain a regular dental routine. Speak to your vet for advice on brushing and cleaning techniques if you are unsure.
For in between care you can think about their diet, there are a range of special pet foods available which are designed to reduce tartar and plaque. Dental chew sticks, pet mints and sprays will keep your pet’s smile sparkling clean and keep their breath fresh.
Your regular grooming routine should include brushing, trimming (including the nails), and also bathing.
Grooming your dog has many benefits:
- It keeps their skin and coat shiny and healthy and for dogs with longer hair it can reduce matting that can cause skin problems.
- It gets rid of bacteria and built up dirt and grime that can lead to a number of skin conditions like hyper-sensitivity and infections.
- It promotes healthy growth of fur and removing loose hair.
- Brushing will also promote blood circulation.
- Grooming gives you a chance to check your pet over to ensure there are no noticeable issues and that they are healthy.
- It offers quality time between you and your dog to create a special bond.
Depending on the size of your dog, the breed and their coat your cleaning and grooming routine should be adapted to these needs.
Dogs should not be bathed too often though as their skin can become dry and cause them to itch. Also take care when buying any grooming products as some dogs have sensitive skin. Cleaning wipes are a great way to help keep them clean in between baths.
Remember to include specialised treatments for ticks and fleas or other skin parasites in addition to your regular grooming routine. These treatments vary depending on the condition and the size of your pet, so consult with your vet on which treatments are suitable.
Ear and Eye Cleaning
It’s important to ensure your pet’s ears and eyes are kept clean. Vets recommend that you clean your dog’s ears weekly or fortnightly to keep them clear of dirt and build-up which can lead to infections, irritations and odour. Ear infections can start on the outside ear and make its way in to the middle ear.
Dogs will show symptoms like excessive head shaking and scratching which will cause injury to their outside ear and head. If left untreated the inflammation and scratching can lead to permanent damage to the ear drum and loss of hearing.
Irritants in the air like dust and pollens as well as other factors like chemicals, shampoos and injuries to name a few can cause eye infections. The most common eye infection is conjunctivitis; the cause will determine the treatment and a visit to the vet. Common symptoms include frequent blinking, redness, discharge from the eye and swelling.
Different eye types need different kinds of care, like dogs with skin folds or excessive weeping will need a daily clean and dogs with protruding eyes will be prone to dry eyes and may need daily moistening drops and others will only need a weekly or monthly clean.
Ear and eye infections can cause your pet great pain and discomfort; a visit to the vet is recommended with the first sign of an infection.
If you are unsure how to clean your dog’s ears and eyes ask you vet for advice.
Poor hygiene can lead to discomfort and serious illness for your pet, not to mention, costly vet bills for you. Just like you, pets need general hygiene to maintain good health and wellbeing. There are hundreds of different pet care products available for all species, breeds and budgets to make sure you can provide your pet with the best care.