Hey there, fellow dog lovers! We get it, the messy but lovable furballs in our lives come with their fair share of hygiene challenges. Whether your four-legged friend is your loyal sidekick when hiking or your cozy couch companion, keeping them clean and comfy is a top priority.
From the dreaded nail-clipping sessions to the occasional 'bath time' battles, we've been there too.
That's why we've gathered these 10 essential hygiene tips for dog owners. Whether you're a seasoned pup parent or new to the game, our guide will help you keep your furry family member fresh and happy. So, let's dive into the doggy hygiene essentials and make life a little less 'ruff' for both you and your fur buddy!
1. Brushing With The Right Brush
It’s rarely ever fun, but it's so important that you are regularly brushing your dog, and you want to be using a brush designed for their coat as well. Regular brushing removes dirt and dead hair from your dog’s skin and coat, which helps cut down on how frequently you’ll need to bathe them. Which, in our opinion, is much more of an ordeal than brushing.
2. Dog Formulated Shampoo
In cases of emergency, it’s OK to wash your dog with a shampoo or soap designed for humans, but for their regular baths, you want to use a shampoo formulated for your dog. Where the pH of our skin is a bit acidic, our dog’s skin is close to neutral, and shampoos designed for us can easily irritate our dog’s skin.
So make sure to pick up a pH-balanced shampoo for your dog. They will really appreciate it, and you’ll love how shiny and luscious their coat is after using them.
3. Ear Cleaner
Dogs, especially ones with long floppy ears, are prone to ear infections, so make sure you always have a pet ear cleaner on hand that’s formulated to kill bacteria.
In a pinch, you can use warm water and a cotton pad, but you’ll want to really squeeze out any excess water because moisture getting trapped in the ear canal is often the reason their ears are dirty in the first place.
4. Trimming Nails
Now, I don’t like to play favorites between my three furbuddies, but it's hard not to especially love the one that tolerates their nails getting clipped. It’s usually not fun, but you want to be aiming to clip your dog’s nails at least once to twice a month.
Long nails are prone to snagging and it can be shocking how much a ripped nail bleeds. If you have a dog that hates having their nails clipped, consider trying out a cordless nail grinder — you’ll probably want to wear a face mask by the way and consider doing outside.
5. Bath Time
It’s recommended that we bathe our dogs every 1-2 months. There are several factors that determine just how often we should bathe our dogs, from their coat type to the time of the year.
It’s important that you don’t bathe your dog too often, however, because frequent baths can strip the oil from their skin and coat.
To help prevent this, remember to use a shampoo formulated for your dog. As well, wet wipes are great to have around the house.
Not only are they a great way to quickly clean your dog without stripping the oil from their coats, but they are also much less anxiety-inducing.
6. Brushing Teeth
Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth is a great way to avoid expensive dental cleanings at the vet. Now, while nothing beats the old toothbrush and toothpaste, we understand many dogs refuse to have their teeth brushed.
Thankfully, treats like bully sticks can help clean their teeth while giving them a fun snack to munch down on. As well, you can also look into teeth cleaning gels that mix with your dog’s saliva to help break down tarter while improving their breath.
7. Cleaning Bedding
While it’s a great idea to give your dog their own bed, make sure to choose one that can be easily cleaned. Pet bedding is a perfect breeding ground for fleas and ticks, and can additionally accumulate a lot of foul odors fast.
I like washing my dog’s bed right before bathing them because I know they are going to try to reclaim their stink fast by rolling around in it.
8. Clean Food And Water Bowls
It’s good to get in the habit of refilling your dog’s water bowl 2-3 times a day, especially before or after they eat. When filling up their water bowl, make sure to give it a quick, but deep rinse because they can get pretty nasty pretty quickly.
9. Flea And Tick Control
Along with giving your dog their regular heartworm medication, it's a great idea to have them on a flea and tick prevention. Fleas are a hassle to get rid of once they take hold, and ticks are just disgusting. And both carry diseases that can make your dog very sick.
10. Clean Their Toys
Cleaning our dog’s toys is a thing a lot of pet owners, even myself, forget to do, but it’s a great habit to form. Rubber and silicone toys are easy to clean, just wipe them down with vinegar, but even stuffed toys aren’t too bad to clean.
Again, we prefer vinegar to bleach or detergent to help eliminate chemicals that are dangerous to our dogs, since they will be putting these toys in their mouth.
A quick rinse cycle in the washing machine for about 15 minutes is usually more than enough time to disinfect their toys.
I like making a day of it and usually wash their toys when I wash their bedding, which I do right before giving my dog their bath.