Common Sense Dog Hygiene

Your dog may not have much of a sense of proper hygiene, so you'll have to take care of that for him. Better hygiene will improve your dog's quality of life.

Dental Care for Dogs

With 90% of animals diagnosed with periodontal disease every year, keeping your dog's teeth clean helps to make sure your dog won't become another statistic. You already brush your own teeth as part of your daily ritual; why not add your dog's teeth to the schedule?

CET dog toothpaste comes in five flavors for your dog's enjoyment: beef, malt, poultry, vanilla and seafood. The toothpaste uses ingredients the prevent gum disease, helping you prevent periodontal disease. The earlier you begin brushing your puppy's teeth, the better adjusted your dog will be to a tooth-brushing regimen.

Dry kibble is a simple way to improve your dog's dental hygiene. The abrasive texture cleans teeth while being eaten. Avoid canned food, which contributes to periodontal disease and plaque build-up.

You should schedule your first dental exam visit with your vet when your puppy is six months old, then at one year. After a year, annual visits are highly recommended.

Tail Hair May Collect Fecal Matter in Some Breeds

Docking is recommended for some breeds of dogs, although it is a controversial issue. Though docking is hygienic for long-haired breeds, like Yorkshire Terriers, and can promote better health by preventing waste matter from accumulating in the long hair, as well as protect working dogs from tail injuries, you should consider the feelings of your pet.

If you choose to dock your dog's tail, do so in the puppy's first week. Using a rubber band to constrict the supply of blood to the tail will cause it to fall off. At this age, the puppy is less likely to feel pain, as its nervous system is not fully developed. Docking the tail later in life will be painful and slow to heal.

Keep Your Dog's Nails Short and Healthy

Damage to toenails arising from cracking and tearing invite infection to your dog, causing illness and bleeding.

A simple way to keep your dog's nails healthy is to provide him or her with lots of exercise. Walking and running on abrasive floor surfaces, like concrete, wears down the nail to maintain a healthy nail length.

For further nail hygiene, practice regular nail clipping. Start when your puppy is young by getting him or her accustomed to being touched on the paws by stroking his nails.

Sit with your dog on your lap if you can, and use guillotine or scissor trimmers to cut at a right angle to the toenail. Avoid cutting the quick, which is the dark area visible in light nails by cutting only a little at a time

Regular Grooming to Deter Fleas and Minimize Shedding

Grooming prevents dogs from illness related to parasites and helps to keep your house clean from long hair shedding. Pet dander is reduced and your pet will have a healthy, shiny coat.

Find the right brush for your dog based on their coat. Use bent-wire bristles on long-haired breeds, metal bristles on curly-haired breeds, and soft bristles on short-haired breeds.

When brushing your dog's hair, focus on removing tangles and debris with a dematting comb first. Brush with short strokes, from the end inwards, in order to pull out matted hair and foreign objects. Then, use your brush to loosen hair by brushing against the grain, and then removing the loosened hair by brushing with the grain.