Facebook Instagram Yelp Youtube Google+ Google+
Bark All About It!

Bark All About It!

Nails, Teeth and Ears, Oh My!

Jun 30, 2013

I have a confession. I have a fetish with nails. No, not of the human type. One look at my nails and you'll know that's not what I'm talkin' about. I have a dog nail fetish. I like nicely trimmed nails that don't click, click on the concrete or hardwood floor. If I start to hear that sound coming from one of my four dogs, I get a little anxious. I feel a sense of responsibility to keep my dogs' nails well-trimmed, and that sound suggests that I'm falling behind. 30 minutes with a Dremel, some treats, and a steady line-up of dogs, and I feel instant gratification and relief--I can check that off of the canine health-care check list that continues to revolve.

Most people I know absolutely HATE to cut their dogs' nails. For whatever reason, I rather enjoy it. I'd like to help others learn, at the very least, not to fear the concept, so I've included a few helpful resources. Check out this link I found on the subject. It's very thorough, and walks you through the process, step-by-step. I also created a video at The Local Bark, showing you two different methods of nail trimming: the traditional method, using nail clippers, as well as a more modern method, with the use of a rotary tool like a Dremel. I hope you find these videos helpful in your learning process of taking on this totally do-able task.

How to Trim Your Dog's Nails

How to Trim Your Dog's Nails

How To Trim Your Dog's Nails with a Rotary Tool

How to Trim Your Dog's Nails with a Rotary Tool
Teeth are another important aspect of your dog's personal hygiene. Did you know dogs can suffer from tartar, gum disease, and tooth decay, just like we do? As with humans, these canine dental problems can actually lead to life-threatening infections and issues including heart, liver, and kidney disease. The good news? Cleaning your dog's teeth is really no big deal. The secret? Start while they are young, and keep it positive! I've included a great link with a walk-through how-to. Too busy to brush? At the very least, allow your dog some great things to chew that will keep much of the tartar at bay. Two of my favorites are knuckle bones (kinda gross--an outdoor engagement, for sure) and compressed rawhides. I steer clear of the regular rawhide in an effort to avoid a potential blockage or asphyxiation, but have never had trouble with the pressed bones.

Last on my healthy-dog check-list? Ears. It amazes me how often dogs are walking around with an ear infection, unbeknownst to their owners. A few red flags? Your dog shakes his head more than normal, seems to have a bit of a 'tilt' to his head when you look at him straight on, or rubs at his ear with his paw, in an effort to itch, or relieve the pain. His inner ear may also feel warm to the touch or look a little pinker than normal. But the biggest clue involves using your nose. Yep, you heard me. Get in close, lift your dog's ear flap and inhale. Does it smell sour or rancid? That's an ear infection. I'm known as the infection-detection expert around The Local Bark—since the birth of my children, my body has undergone some strange change in hormones or biochemistry which has enabled me with sniffing super-powers. I can often detect an ear infection just by being in the vicinity of the infected dog. I know. I'm special. Along with the smell you'll often see some black 'gook' in the crevices of the ear, but not always. An ear infection requires immediate attention from your veterinarian, as they can be very painful. You'll likely need your dog to be on a course of antibiotics, as well as about a two-week treatment with an external ointment.

So what's the best prevention? I landed on a product called BioGroom Ear Care Cleaner many years ago, and I SWEAR by it! I've tried many an ear cleaner over the years, and none have stacked up nearly as well as this one. It's a cheap investment, and in an ideal world, you're cleaning your dog's ears with it once a week. The payoff? There's a good chance you'll never have to make a vet visit for an ear infection. Here's a How-To on ear cleaning, again, with the help of about.com:

      1. Start by holding the ear flap up and squirting several drops of cleanser on the inside of the flap near the ear opening. 
      2. Before he can shake his head, begin massaging the base of your dog's ear (this is the bottom part near the jaw where cartilage can be felt). You should be able to hear a "smacking sound." By massaging, you are helping the cleanser to fill the ridges in the canal and loosen ear debris. After massaging for a few seconds (more for very dirty ears), you can let go and allow your dog to shake. You might want to turn away or hold up a towel for this part.
      3. Once your dog has a good shake, use cotton or gauze and your finger to wipe out the ear canal. You can put your finger in the ear canal as far as it will go without forcing it. You may wish to use cotton-tipped applicators to clean stubborn debris out of the ridges. IMPORTANT: never put the cotton-tipped applicators into the ear any further than you can see! Damage to the eardrum can occur.
      4. If the ear still seems dirty, you may repeat the process. Then, move on to the other ear. Finish by wiping away any visible debris and drying your dog's head off. Then, reward him with a treat!

So there you have it: my top three canine home health care must-dos. Keep up with this list on a regular basis and you, your dog and your checkbook will thank me. ;-)

Tags: nails, grooming
Category: Dog Care

Add Pingback

Please add a comment

You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »

Copyright © 2014 - The Local Bark 3201 Fitzgerald Road Rancho Cordova, CA 95742 | P: (916) 638-3880 | info@localbark.com

Facebook Twitter Yelp Youtube Google+ Google+