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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Home Pet Grooming

By Anton Hout, author of The Guide to Aussie Training & Care

Basic home pet grooming should be done a couple of times a week. Although if you live in an area where fleas and ticks are a problem a daily check should be part of your routine. A good thorough brushing and an overall check of eyes, ears and paws to make sure she has no cuts, sores, fleas, ticks, rashes, bumps, or other undesirables in her coat or dirt in her ears. More info on fleas here.

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If you do find fleas remove them with a fine-toothed comb and drop them into a container of soapy water. Fleas should be removed as soon as possible to prevent them from spreading to other animals, furniture or even you!

Remove embedded ticks with tweezers making sure to get the head. You may have to rock it back and forth to loosen it then give it a firm pull. Remember that ticks can cause Lyme Disease.

Brushing Your Dog

Brushing can be done anytime. Choosing the right brush is the key. I find Slicker or Pin brushes work well along with a de-matting comb. Always be gentle with those hard ones. If matting gets too bad you may have to cut the matted fur out so it's best to stay on top of things before it gets to that stage.

One of the best home pet grooming tools available is the Furminator deShedding Tool. You can read our review of the Furminator here but basically it is a grooming tool that helps get rid of an amazing amount of fur released by shedding. It's not only good for your dog but it will also help keep the levels of fur floating around your house to a minimum.

Other Home Pet Grooming Articles

Dog Grooming Equipment
Having the correct dog grooming equipment is important for making sure your Aussie looks neat and presentable. A proper grooming regime is also key for keeping away parasites like fleas and ticks.

FURminator Dog Grooming Supplies
If dog shedding is a problem for your family FURminator deShedding tool and dog grooming supplies can help.

Cleaning Your Dog's Ears

To avoid the trauma and expense of the vet clinic you should maintain good ear health my regularly cleaning your dogs ears. An indication of an ear infection maybe constant shaking of her head or scratching the ears.

Ears should be checked for dirt and redness and anything that you can't remove easily or anything that is out of the ordinary you should see a vet about.

Cleaning Around Your Dog's Eyes

Australian Shepherd Pyro

Derek Hung

Pyro is a 2 month old black tri male puppy with one blue eye. It was his very first time to go outside for pictures.

Your dogs eyes should look clear and bright. If suddenly there is a problem like leakage or redness you can clean the area and gently remove tear stains.

If problems don't clear up or seem to be a chronic condition please go to the vet.

Check Your Dog's Paws and Pads

Paws should be checked for prickles, pebbles, sturdy grasses, thorns which can get stuck between or even in the pads. Also some chemicals used on lawns or on ice in the winter contain chemicals which can cause irritation.

If you live in a cold snowy climate you will want to trim the hair between the pads on his feet to prevent ice from building up and causing pain or injury.

The pads themselves should also be properly cleaned and maintained.

Clipping Your Dog's Nails

Clipping your dogs nails is something that not everyone is comfortable doing. However, it needs to be done fairly frequently either by you, a dog groomer or your vet. If left too long it can become uncomfortable for your dog. For those of you who wish to do it yourself here are some tips:

It should be done every couple of weeks. Dog nails have what is called a 'quick' it can be seen on lighter colored nails as a darker part. This quick is actually a nerve and blood supply. If you accidently nick this it will injure your dog, cause a lot of bleeding and may make the dog leery next time it sees those clippers come out. If you do cut into the quick have some styptic powder ready to apply to help stop the bleeding.

Learn more about the types of nail clippers and How to Properly Use Dog Nail Clippers here.

Maintain Your Dog's Teeth

Yes our four legged friends can benefit from brushing too. However there are a couple of things to know. First get him is own toothbrush!! ;-)

There are toothbrushes available that are designed to work for dogs. They are built differently, smaller, softer and are shaped differently. Some come as a finger sleeve that slips over your index finger.

Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

DO NOT use your toothpaste. These contain chemicals which can upset your dog's stomach. The toothpaste made for dogs has yummy flavors just for them like liver and beef! You can get special toothpaste made for dogs as well as toothbrushes and fingerbrushes at the Only Natural Pet Store here.

It maybe a slow process getting your dog used to having her teeth brushed. Get her to like the toothpaste first, then introduce the brush... have patience and a sense of humor and it won't be long before there is another set of canines to deal with everyday. And the earlier you start the better.

There are also treats available on the market which are meant to help control tarter and plaque build up. These are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.

Bad breathe and a yellow or brown build-up along the gum line can be the first signs of trouble.

Give Your Dog a Regular Bath

Australian Shepherd

Dawn Slabodkin

3 1/2 month old Aussie Jack after having discovered the fun of sprinklers 'n' mud!

Generally dogs don't need a bath any more than once a month unless of course they have been up to no good and smell like the garbage dump. I would generally wait for a nice warm or hot day to give the bath and do it early so she has the whole day to dry off.

Basic Home Pet Grooming Tips for Bathtime:

Have at least two towels ready, one for you and one for them. I found that Levi did not like the slippery surface of the tub so I always used a rubber mat in the tub to make him feel more comfortable and as an added bonus it cut down on the scratches. If you don't have a rubber mat handy you could also put an extra towel in the tub.

I always found it easier on both of us if he had a good brushing first.

I position him closer to the front of the tub so that the sprayer reaches him so the rinse water is always clean. And just to make him feel more relaxed I will typically roll-up my pants and sit on the edge with my feet in. This also helps me reach to all those hard to get at areas.

Soak her down avoiding the eyes and ear areas a using a specifically formulated dog shampoo is best as it's PH is better suited for our furry friends because it won't dry out their skin and and hurt their eyes.

I give him a good rub down, making sure to get all the, um, bits and pieces. The Tub Nub Bathing Brush is a great tool that lets you work in the lather while saving your fingers. It's part of the quality Furminator line of products. You can find more info about their excellent home pet grooming tools and supplies here.

By this time I can tell Levi is getting ready to do the big shake so I close the curtain and tell him “Okay!”. He shakes and then we start the rinsing process. Be sure to rinse all the soap off as any left on can irritate the skin.

I don't know about your Aussie but Levi is always very excited after a bath and barely lets me dry him off before he is racing around the house like a lunatic, it's really kinda funny but nevertheless the job is done again for another month.

Final Thoughts on Home Pet Grooming

It's important to remember that home pet grooming begins with good nutrition. Many of the problems that affect the coat, skin, eyes, etc. are really problems that are caused by a poor diet. Once you have the foundation of good health your home pet grooming regimen serves to maintain that health rather than as an attempt to compensate for health problems. In other words a nice shiney coat begins with good nutrition not a good shampoo.

To ensure the health of your Aussie make sure to always provide the highest quality dog food and nutritional supplements. We also recommend using 100% natural remedies from suppliers like Only Natural Pet to maintain good health whenever possible.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! icon

Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

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