Apart from the usual fuss over diet, bathing, exercising, some owners may not pay so much attention to grooming. I send my dog for full grooming every 2-3 months, so in between each professional session, I have my own 'kit' to make sure her brows don't block her sight, her naturally-droopy ears wouldn't be infected so on and so forth.
Might be good for new dog owners who haven't gotten a clue! So here I go!
This is what I have at home:
(from left to right, top to bottom) Nail files x2, nail clipper, scissors for trimming and thinning, Tea tree oil ear cleaner, surgical alcohol, flea comb, tea tree oil medication, ear wash solution, short-toothed comb, slicker brush, cotton pads, mini battery-operated clipper, long cotton sticks
On first glance, you see many 'tea tree oil'! Haha because it is a natural ingredient which has antiseptic and healing properties. I consider it a safe option for my dog, who has typical (but not serious) schnauzer bumps (skin condition), and natural droopy ears that are prone to infection (because of the lack of ventilation).
The third bottle is an advanced purchase as a replacement for the 4th bottle, which is finishing!
i bought the alcohol from a neighbourhood chinese medical shop as someone from Pet Lovers Centre recommended that I swap the infected area of the bumps with it before applying the cream for effectiveness.
Other than that, I bought everything else from Pet Lovers Centre for around $15 - $25.
I apply the cream on my dog almost everyday (unless I forget) and clean her ears weekly.
I usually use 2-3 drops of ear wash around the ear flap before using the cotton sticks to clean as deep as what I can see in brightly-lit conditions only.
It's hard to damage the ear drums of the dog (see image below, it's slightly L-shaped) but it's better to be safe than sorry.
After using the cotton sticks, I will soak a portion of the cotton pads to clean the whole area of the ear flaps.
If it's dark yellow or black, please arrange for a check-up.
Your dog's ears might be infected already. Don't procrastinate as it will worsen and complications may develop soon after.
Battery-operated clipper that I bought from Petgamart at Pasir Ris Farmway 1.
Costs only $29, good for noobs like me!
I use it on Chloe whenever her brows are blocking her vision or if I need to shave off the fur at her belly (more airy that way).
There's no regular schedule I adhere to; as and when I notice a trim is necessary, I will do so.
What's in the package. Basically a double-end comb (3mm and 6mm) - sometimes I use it w/o the comb, you need to have a firm grip and control over the clipper.
If it seems to be weaker than usual, it's either (1) battery needs to be replaced, (2) too much clogged fur - may need to use the small black brush to sweep out as much as you can, (3) needs some lubricant, or (4) the device is stuck - you'll need to use your finger nail to push it back to the centre and try again.
Ok, let's add (5) YOU SPOILT IT WTF.
Chill okay, I thought I spoilt mine as it didn't work after I applied a bit of oil. Was okay after a few days - perhaps the oil has evaporated/flowed onto other areas that do not obstruct the mechanism.
3 different types of comb for 3 different reasons. I haven't been using the slicker brush (the red patch with the wooden stem) because I've been keeping Chloe's fur short and easy to maintain.
To be honest, I don't really know the exact functions of various types of brushes and combs so you can head to the websites I've provided below for more information:
I bought the blue flea brush from Daiso ($2), the others from Pet Lovers Centre.
It's good to brush its fur everyday or other day, but I do it only after I dry my dog after bathing - twice a week, that is.
Scissors for minimal grooming. The blue pair is to trim lengths while the pink pair is for thinning.
I bought them at Daiso - yeah, $2 each! /thumbs-up
Like the clipper, there is no fixed routine; I will use them as and when I think it is necessary.
Nail files (didn't realise I bought a set already) and the nail clipper
Filing a dog's nails are like filing yours.
Good to ensure that the nails remain blunt in case they scratch you out of excitement.
Good to monitor the length of their nails especially when you don't bring them out for walks or exercise often.
Overgrown nails can actually cause dogs to limp in the long run and may cause health complication.
As a general guide, when the nails are almost touching the ground surface when your dog is on all fours, they need to be trimmed.
Another case of as-and-when.
I would strongly advise you against clipping your dog's nails if you don't know how, especially if your dog's nails are black (where blood veins cannot be seen).
I caused my dog to bleed because I cut off too much at one go. It took me more than half a day to recover from the guilt. The blood will keep flowing. If you don't have proper medication, you need to press on to the wound for some time for it to stop bleeding. Your dog may not want its nails to be cut next time if attempts have been unpleasant.
It may seem a lot of work, in addition to bathing and walking your dog. It is, actually. Some owners opt for the more convenient method by sending them to the groomers more often.
There's nothing wrong with it. I just like to take this chance to bond with my dog, observe her development and identify if there's anything amiss.
In addition to all these external maintenance, I gently press against her belly area and the bones of her rib cage as a routine. I noticed that's what vets do during check-ups. I figured that if somewhere I pressed hurts her more than usual, she'll try to escape or whine, and if there's a lump growth I should be able to feel the difference. So, it's all about looking out (or in this case, pressing) for signs of discomfort, since they can't speak.
P/S: I may not be 100% right, so feel free to comment, suggest or discuss!