Doggy Hygiene Basics

If your pooch stinks – WASH 'em!  You’ll be happier and so will he.  Giving your doggy a bath is important for you and your doggy if he or she enjoys the outdoors, lounging on your sofa or sleeping with his litter (on your bed and with you!).  Bathing your dog is a good bonding experience and a critical health and hygiene responsibility of all dog owners. Most dogs will appreciate the contact and attention they get from their owner during the bathing and hygiene experience.

Bath time is an excellent time to perform basic but important "maintenance" tasks that we often neglect such as ear cleaning, brushing of teeth, and checking for fleas and ticks.   Let's go into further detail about these maintenance tasks to make sure your doggy stays healthy, happy and clean for a mutually enjoyable long time.

To clean your pooch’s ears, check your local pet store for special solutions designed specifically for this purpose. It is common for dogs to attract ear mites, which are small insects that live in the ear’s waxy secretions. As time goes by, the mite gets larger and you will start to notice a dirty black substance in your dog's ear. Take a cotton ball and dip it in the ear cleaning solution, and gently swab the entire ear - it won't take long.  And when you're done, he'll have clean ears and be much less likely to get earaches or infections.

One of the most overlooked maintenance tasks is brushing your dog’s teeth.   Many dog owners only do this once or twice per year. Can you imagine how gross your mouth would feel, look and smell if you didn't brush for six months – never mind your gums? Your pooch feels the same way. It's never too late to start doing this. You will need a special toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs.  Be certain to brush the back teeth, and use small circular motions like your dentist tells you to do.  Your pooch may enjoy this task as dog toothpaste is designed with a dog’s palate in mind.

The last thing to check for is fleas/ticks. Ticks are nasty little bugs that dig themselves into your dog’s skin and live by leaching his blood.  Be especially careful if you live near wooded areas where ticks are most common (they appear to love the desert as well). However, no matter where you live, check for ticks often as they carry several harmful diseases. Ticks are the transport method for Lyme Disease, which will slowly destroy your dog’s joints and drain him of energy.  Many dogs with Lyme Disease are in such pain that they must be euthanized.  So check often!  Pay special attention to the most common hiding areas - under the collar or along the underbelly.  If you find one, simply pull it off with tweezers or use a flea and tick shampoo to rid your pooch of the disgusting little critters.

Fleas aren't as potentially harmful as ticks, but they are much more of a nuisance. If you don't catch them quickly enough, your other pets can catch them, your kids can catch them, and your home may require fumigation. You’ll find them under the fur in the same places where ticks hang out.  Look out for flea droppings; they look like specks of pepper on your dog’s skin and coat.  The actual flea will be dark in color and about the size of a grain of rice.  If you do find one, use a flea and tick shampoo and apply flea deterrents like Frontline periodically. 

Remember, if your pooch stinks – WASH 'em!