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Pet Wellness

Avoid These Common Mistakes When Grooming Your Dog

Photo: Courtesy of Autri Taheri

Regular grooming appointments are essential to your dog’s health. Regardless of breed, brushing, nail trimming, ear cleaning and teeth brushing are universal. The American Kennel Club offers some grooming tips to keep your dog healthy: 


  1. Obtain the right tools specific to your breed of dog. Brushing is required daily to clean debris, prevent matting and create a shiny coat. Use a damp towel to remove dirt, mud and other outdoor debris. 
  2. Check your dog’s coat daily for ticks a few times a day during tick season.
  3. Check your dog’s paw pads for cleanliness, cracks and dryness. Overgrown hair between the pads must be trimmed. 
  4. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed. Make sure you have access to a cauterizing product to stop bleeding. Nails should be trimmed regularly to prevent overgrowth of the nail and quick. 
  5. Wipe the inside of your dog’s ears with a moist cotton ball or washcloth. Check the ear canal for swelling, redness or brown/yellow discharge. A foul “yeasty” smell could mean an infection. 
  6. Daily teeth brushing is essential, as plaque can build up after 48 hours. If needed, wrap your finger in gauze to wipe the teeth and gums. 


  1. Do not use human beauty products on your dog, including shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste. Human toothpaste contains xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. 
  2. Do not clip or groom without being taught the proper techniques. 
  3. Don’t try to treat lacerations or wounds by yourself.
  4. Do not spray your dog with perfume, as it has harmful ingredients and can cause respiratory problems.  

Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer, American Kennel Club, [email protected]

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