Sometimes your dog needs to be cleaned up a bit between baths. It could be a nice brushing, cleaning up the ears, or getting out those stubborn knots.
Doing these quick grooming sessions not only make your dog look fresh and clean, but it’s also a chance to closely examine your dog and make sure everything is as it should be — looking for bumps, scratches, and bites. (Plus, who doesn’t love a good excuse to pamper their pup?)
Professional dog groomer and contestant on Pooch Perfect Gabriel Feitosa shares his best tips with This Dog’s Life on how to quickly spruce up your dog.
1. Brush Your Dog the Right Way
We know just how painful it can be to have knots in our hair, which is why brushing is a must for our furry friends!
“It’s important for you to brush your dog every other day or every three days,” Feitosa says. “It should be very thorough.”
Using a slicker brush, Feitosa says to brush your dog to open up her hair. Start by lightly brushing from the skin up:
- If you see a straight line to your dog’s skin, great!
- If you don’t see your dog’s skin, Feitosa says that’s either because the fur is matted, or there’s a lot of undercoat to be removed.
Follow up with using a metal comb. “If you get a metal comb and try to run it through the hair and the comb gets stuck, it’s because there’s mats and they need to be dematted,” he explains. “If you’re not comfortable doing it because you don’t know how to, it’s time to go see a groomer.”
He adds to avoid using a human comb, as it is made from carbon or plastic and not the most efficient for combing dog fur.
2. Use a Dematting Spray for a Smooth Coat
In case you would like to demat your dog at home, Feitosa says you can either buy a dematting spray or make one at home with just:
- A spray bottle
- A teaspoon of pet conditioner
- A drop of apple cider vinegar
- Warm water
To work through any tangles and mats:
- Begin by separating a line of hair — starting with your dog’s feet.
- Next, hold the hair and spray the dematting spray.
- Then brush, making sure you’re brushing fully, all the way around.
- Using the metal comb, check to see if your dog has any mats.
- If so, avoid pulling the mat with a comb. Instead, spray and brush through layer by layer.
- To remove mats, apply a lot of spray, part the mat in half and use a slicker brush to remove it.
The above homemade spray is perfect not just for detangling your dog’s fur, but also for when you want to help your dog freshen up after a potty accident or a walk on the street. Feitosa says you can make this spray and lightly spray on your pooch’s paws to help remove any smelly odor. The vinegar, he says, is also a “great, natural conditioner for the coat” if you have dogs with dry, sensitive skin.
3. Clean Your Dog’s Ears
Much like our own, dogs’ ears should be cleaned often. This is to prevent bacteria, mites and fungus from building up.
Feitosa says you can use a solution using half apple cider vinegar and half water. “Apple cider vinegar is a strong antioxidant, antibiotic, and antifungal,” he says. “It’s very helpful to put in the ear and is non-toxic.”
To clean your dog’s ears with a DIY recipe:
- Dip a cotton ball (never a Q-tip!) in your ear-cleaning solution to clean the area well.
- Open your dog’s ears.
- Put your finger as far as it can go into your dog’s ears naturally, avoiding the ear canal.
- Using a dry cotton ball, wipe your dog’s ears dry to prevent leaving any moisture in the ears, as it could lead to infection.
- Optional: Warm coconut oil on a cotton ball and gently apply in your dog’s ears to soothe the skin.
4. Keep Your Dog’s Eyes Booger Free
Are your pup’s eyes a little crusty or goopy? Feitosa advises cleaning your dog’s eyes with a cotton ball and distilled water.
“Clean up their eyes and make sure that the eye goop doesn’t get so thick that it starts burning the skin — because that happens,” Feitosa says. “Sometimes, the slime from the eye stays on the skin for too long and it hardens.” Ouch!
Taking just a little bit of time out of the day as often as needed not only helps your dog look his absolute best, but also save your pup rom feeling any discomfort or pain.