Good Hygiene for Your Dog

photoOne of your most important responsibilities as a dog owner is to keep your pet clean. Your dog depends on you for his general hygiene. Clean teeth and ears, and a coat free from ticks and fleas are all indications of a healthy dog. Bath time is not only a time to clean your dog but a great opportunity to bond with him as well.

Most dogs don’t enjoy being washed, but they appreciate the attention and contact they receive from their owner during a bath. This is also a good time to do other maintenance tasks such as brushing the teeth, checking for ticks and fleas, and cleaning the ears. Since a lot of canines don’t like to sit still for these activities, you should do them all at the same time.

Brushing Teeth

Most vets recommend brushing your dog’s teeth at least twice a week to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Your pet should have his own toothbrush and toothpaste especially formulated for canines. You can buy these things at your local pet supply store.

Brush your dog’s back teeth in small circles as you would your own. Brush up and down the length of pointy canine teeth. Dog toothpaste tastes nice to dogs and should make your pet more cooperative. If for some reason you cannot brush his teeth, you can give him teeth cleaning dog biscuits. However, brushing is still more preferred.

Checking for Ticks and Fleas

Ticks are small, nasty arachnids that will latch on to your dog’s skin and feed off his blood. They are most commonly found in wooded areas, but you should check for them regularly as they can carry several diseases. The best places to look for ticks are under the collar and in underbelly fur. If you find one, use tweezers to remove it by the head.

Fleas can also be found under the fur. Their droppings, which look like flecks of pepper on your dog’s coat can indicate their presence. Fleas can be of various sizes, from tiny infants to bigger adults, which are about an eighth of an inch long. Unlike ticks, fleas can’t be simply picked off your pet, as they will jump before you can get them. If you spot fleas or their droppings, it’s time to put your dog on a flea elimination program.

Cleaning Ears

Canines can get ear mites easily. These tiny creatures live inside the ears and feed off the waxy secretions in there. Over time, the bodies of these short-lived insects accumulate and form a black, dirty substance.

You should be able to find dog ear cleaning solution at your local pet supply store. Dip a cotton bud in a bit of solution and swab the inside of your pet’s ear. You may not be able to get your dog to hold still for this, but the process doesn’t take very long. It’s important to clean his ears to prevent infections and earaches.

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