Dog Grooming at home: Brushing, Washing, Drying & Removing tear stains. Tricks & Tips for keeping your dog groomed home, in between the visits to his hairdresser.
I recommend you to remove any tangles before you leave your dog to the hairdresser. It's not their dog and they have another dog's appointment in some reasonable time. They will not have time to get into a fight with your dog's nodes If your dog is a mess, they will simply cut his hair short.
Do your part of the job before you leave them your dog!
I started to brush Gucci's hair when he was still a baby. I wasn't really necessary: he had three hairs!
However, our vet insisted on brushing him from the day one was very important even though I laughed, “But there's nothing to brush!”
“Not yet, but get him used to the feeling of brushing and touching his body wherever you want or he won't allow you once when he's older.”
The truth is, Gucci has an incredibly soft, cotton ball type of hair. I don't know if it’s genetics or it’s the result of that rigorous brushing.
First, when he was still a baby, I got the softest brush in the world, like the one for babies' hair, so I wouldn't pull on his hair. It tickled him, he was trying to play with it and to bite it. The worst part was the paws and they still are. If he could, he would laugh like crazy, his paws are so ticklish.
Later on, I bought many different brushes.
The one I usually use is the typical brush for dogs, the one with metallic bristles (it detangles even the worst nods) and without the little balls at the ends of the bristles! Gucci hates the brushes with those little balls. It seems the hair enters between the ball and the bristle, so he jumps in panic till I throw away the damned brush and use again the plain metallic one.
The best detangling brush
I always brush Gucci's hair before I wash him. It's easier to detangle dry hair then the wet one.
Frequent washing wasn't such an issue with the big dogs I used to have, they didn't get so dirty, their bodies were 50-60 cm away from the floor and they didn't sleep in my bed. I washed them once every three months, as recommended.
But a small dog, with those short little legs…
About the legs… 😀
Before Gucci, we had an English Pointer; a tall, slender, elegant dog, with long, Heidi Klum kind of legs.
When Gucci, a two-month-old Maltese came to our lives, my mom laughed whenever she would see him trotting around: “Look at those little, short legs. He runs like… a hedgehog, hahahah!”
I would jump like every offended mother in the world:“His legs are NOT short! He has LONG legs, like… a gazelle!”
She was laughing so hard, she was bending till the floor with her hands on her stomach, and I would angrily squint at her, sounding ridiculous even to myself while looking Gucci's tik-tik-tik-tik trot.”
So, if you have one of those “not too long legs” kind of dog, you are practically mopping the town's street with your's fluffy dog little body! And then you kiss him and you put him in your bed (obviously, because who buys a micro dog to make him sleep on the floor!) It’s gross! I'm always so sorry for the dirty small dogs whose owners think they may wash them only every three months.
From the very beginning, I used the shampoo our vet recommended: a medical shampoo for dogs with skin problems (although Gucci doesn’t have any skin problems). You may use that kind of shampoo every week and if the dog has eczema or allergy, you should even use it three times a week.
It's especially important if you live in a hot climate, without real winter, like we do. In climates with four seasons, the majority of the mites die or at least hibernate. In climates without winter, they never do. They just reproduce and multiply, especially on the paws, in between the toes.
That's one of the reasons why dogs start licking or even chewing their paws, they became reluctant to walk on hard floor, they get wounds, their white hair becomes dark red-brown or they even loose hair on the spot they lick…
Very often, it could have been prevented with the correct hygiene.
White baby Gucci in dirty Barcelona
Gucci is always so white and fluffy that, especially when we were living in Barcelona, dirty as all big cities, random people on the street would point at him and laughingly asked me “Mit Perwoll gewaschen?”
(the famous TV advertisement “Washed with Perwoll”)
Many white dog owners ask me what I use to make whiten his hair.
“Gucci’s hair is not whitened, it’s just clean! Because we have that special shampoo that we use every week…"
“No, no! You can't wash him so often!”
“Oh, yes you can. It says on the shampoo I could to it even more often.”
“No, no, no, I don't wash my dog that often…”
I look at the grey doggy next to them and think sadly, “Yes, I can see that…”.
Usually, I wash him once a week, but it also depends on what have we been doing for the last week, where were we. If we walked a lot through the city, I even wash him before the seventh day.
The hairdryer is not our friend, so during the summer, I leave his hair to dry out naturally. In that case, his hair doesn't get any volume, it looks very “Cher in the seventies”.
If I do blow dry it with a hairdryer, he gets that luxurious “Krystle Carrington vibe”.
He moves around all the time like if I was shutting at him with a weapon and not with a hairdryer, which is fine, that way I can blowdry him from all sides, without any effort.
While drying, I brush him with a pig bristles hairbrush and it gives his hair incredible volume. I'm ashamed to admit sometimes I use my own Mason Pearson brush because I simply have it closer than his own brush. Gucci doesn't mind, he seems to like Mason Pearson. High-maintenance little butty.
Baby Gucci in Monaco for the first time with a blowdried hair for that luxurious “Krystle Carrington vibe”.
Oh, the stains… it's a constant fight but in the end, it's very simple. The eyes zone has to be:
- clean (disinfected)!
Sometimes it works for months but then, suddenly, he gets more active or nervous or whatever, he starts to tear more, the zone gets humid all the time and immediately it gets infected and inflamed and you can't do much about it… except of giving the antibiotics for a few days like for any other infection.
When it's gone, you continue with the cleaning and drying.
At the moment we are trying the latest recommendation: cleaning the eye zone with full-fat milk (room temperature) and when it's starting to get irritated: antihistamine eyedrops. He drinks exclusively bottled water. Let's do it for a month and then I'll comment on it.