You can help your dog get comfortable with being touched and handled by making a habit of petting every single part of your dog, including such potentially sensitive areas as the ears, tail, belly, back and feet.
Regular grooming with a brush or comb will help keep your pet’s hair in good condition by removing dirt, spreading natural oils throughout her coat, preventing tangles and keeping her skin clean and irritant-free. And grooming time’s a great time to check for fleas.
Always use a mild shampoo that’s safe to use on dogs, give your pet a good brushing to remove all dead hair and mats. Use a spray hose to thoroughly wet your pet, taking care not to spray directly in her ears, eyes or nose. If you don’t have a spray hose, a large plastic pitcher or unbreakable cup will do.
Gently massage in shampoo, working from head to tail. Thoroughly rinse with a spray hose or pitcher; again, avoid the ears, eyes and nose. Check the ears for any foul odors or excessive debris; if you choose to use a cleansing solution on a cotton ball, take care not to insert it into the ear canal. Dry your pet with a large towel.
Most people really don’t handle their dog’s feet until they are about to clip the nails and some animals can get very upset at this totally foreign feeling. That’s why it’s a good idea to get your dog used to having her feet touched before you attempt a nail trim. Rub your hand up and down her leg and then gently press each individual toe—and be sure to give her lots of praise and some food treats as you do this.
Use dog nail clippers to cut off the tip of each nail at a slight angle, just before the point where it begins to curve. Take care to avoid the quick, a vein that runs into the nail. This pink area can be seen through the nail. If your dog has black nails, however, the quick will not be as easily discernible, so be extra careful. If you do accidentally cut into the quick, it may bleed, in which case you can apply some styptic powder to stop the bleeding.
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