Caring for Teeth, Toes, Ears, Face and other Areas
Some owners run a brush over their dog's coat and consider it groomed. The outside coat looks clean and smells clean, so there is nothing to dispute that view. But these owners, and the people who admire that "pretty dog", all ignore the other aspects of the dog that need to be considered.
A person who shows Border collies in conformation classes might tell you that a dog doesn't run on its coat. This apparently off-key comment simply means the dog's structure also needs to be considered, as does the movement and the temperament. The same holds true for grooming. A pretty coat of hair can only get the dog so far. Her teeth, ears, and feet also need attention to ensure the maximum health benefits.
Your dog's teeth do not need brushing every day, particularly if she has access to plenty of teeth-cleaning chew toys. Natural bones, chew hooves, and hard plastic or rubber chews all help keep your dog's teeth clean. Some toys may even keep her gums massaged, preventing gingivitis. You should brush her teeth on a weekly basis, however.
It is possible for you to brush your dog's teeth on your own. Prepare your dog's toothbrush by placing a small amount of dog-specific tooth paste on either end of the brush. Position your dog in front of you. Grasp your dog's jaws and gently open her mouth. Leave one hand on her upper jaw, keeping light pressure on the lips at the back of her jaw. That light pressure should encourage her to keep her mouth open, although she may move her head from side to side.
Dogs tend to chew at the back of their mouths, so the chew toys you provided may already have loosened or removed tartar there. Begin brushing at the front of her mouth making certain to lightly massage her gums with the toothbrush. Do not press hard on the very small teeth at the front of her mouth, since they may loosen easily. At first, you may only be able to brush her front teeth and canine teeth. However, she should soon become accustomed to having her mouth handled.
Your dog may alert you to a problem with her ears when she starts rubbing at them with her paws or shaking her head. You may notice a foul odor coming from her ears, or she may flinch away when you touch her head. Even if you do not see these symptoms, however, you should inspect your dog's ears on a weekly basis for ear mites or an excess of ear wax.
Visual inspection will often reveal the presence of ear mites or excess wax. Ear mites leave debris that has the appearance of coffee grounds, usually appearing in the opening to the ear canal. Use a cotton ball to wipe the visible mites from the opening. Ear mites can be treated with medication prescribed by your vet or available over the counter at your pet supply store. Treatment may take several weeks to be effective.
As with mites, your dog can alert you to excessive ear wax by shaking her head. Your dog's ear might feel hot to the touch or produce the sound of moisture trapped in the ear canal, if gently massaged. Ear wax can often simply be wiped away; however, if accompanied by a foul odor, it may be the sign of an infection, signaling the need for a visit to the vet.
Dogs with pendulous ears, folded ears, and ears with a lot of feather-like "furnishings" are more prone to ear problems than dogs with prick ears free of extra hair. Some examples of breeds with these kinds of ears would be Basset hounds, Collies, and Papillons.
You should not hear your dog's nails tapping as she walks across a hard floor. If you have clipped your dog's nails on a regular basis, her nails should be clipped right at the area where the nail begins to "hook". If you have not clipped your dog's nails on a regular basis, be careful not to cut into her nail's blood supply, called the "quick". The quick is visible in light colored nails, but can be impossible to see in dark nails. It will "creep" toward the tip of the nail if the nail is not clipped. In that case, you will need to slowly cut small amounts off the nail, trying to force the quick back.
Some breeds require that the hair between their toes be trimmed to prevent matting. Mats that form between the toes or under the pads open your dog up to uncertain footing, sores, and even infections.
Most dogs will benefit from regular grooming of their teeth, ears, and feet, as well as from having their coats shampooed and brushed. Master teeth, ear, and foot care and you can help your dog lead a happier, healthier life.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you are a business owner get listed at Best Dog Care Site, part of Localwin Network.