A few grooming questions
I wanted to be able to take care of Fletcher's grooming needs myself but I'm already feeling overwhelmed. He is only 5 months old so I'm not even dealing with full blown cavalier hair yet. I brush him every evening, I think it helps to get him used to it and also avoid any big knots too. I also brush his teeth every morning again to get him used to it.
Here's my questions.
Fletcher has been swimming in a pool a lot lately (its salt water) I rinse him with the hose afterwords. Make sure to dry under his ears too. Because he is swimming a lot, and then digging in the yard he needs a bath but I'm afraid to bathe him too much. I'm trying to wait every 3rd week but its not working...I use baby shampoo should I be using something else or is it alright to bathe him like once a week like I want to?????
Nail Clipping? Lucky for me all of Fletcher's nails are white so I can see the quick very easily, but when I cut his nails they are super sharp. Do you think that's because the clippers aren't sharp enough or I'm cutting them wrong? Remember its HOT here, we are all wearing shorts etc. and it hurt to have a puppy jump in your lap with sharp nails. Any suggestions?
The hair between his toes? I keep it trimmed (with blunt ended scissors) and free of knots, but it still seems like a lot of hair in between his pads and the floor. We have no carpet in our main living area, so he needs traction he does that funny puppy running inside and I'm worried he's gonna slip and knock into somethings and hurt himself. I walk him on concrete outside in the last evenings hoping it will help but....or am I being a nutty Mommy for worrying about this?
Inside his ears? So far I have pretty much left them alone and I plan in continuing to do that unless they have a bad/weird smell (which would be a sign of infection) I know with children you can do a lot more harm then good trying to clean their ears. I check them regularly for any sign of anything not right. So my questions is am I doing the "right" thing or should I be cleaning his ears?
I know I don't know what I'm doing but once again thank goodness I have CT where I can ask these questions. I have already found a groomer who cuts a few cavaliers and knows cavalier owners are particular in what they want. I'm hoping to leave Fletcher mostly uncut IF I can manage the hair on my own but I have a lot to learn as you can see.
It sounds like you are doing a great job getting him used to being groomed! :) I'm not sure about a lot of the things you are wondering about, but as far as the ears go I have heard that you should do regular maintenance with cavaliers because of their floppy ears. It is better to use preventative care rather than deal with curing an already existing infection, so in my opinion I would start using some sort of rinse. We use Epi-Otic ear cleanse one a week on Sonny. The first time we used it he squirmed around, but now he doesn't seem to mind it at all. Our vet sold it to us, but I think you can also order it online.
As far as the bathing goes, I was just like you and wanted to bathe Sonny once week when we first got him, but everything I have read and heard says to not bathe them that often, so we try to only bathe him every 4-6 weeks. I will say that I LOVE when bath day rolls around and I get a fresh, yummy smelling clean puppy. :)
I was told that any kind of human shampoo (even baby) is the wrong PH balance for a dog's skin and can dry or cause irritation to the skin. My vet recommended dog shampoo with oatmeal and its good for dry skin - which salt water might cause. But I dont think you should be bathing him more than once a month unless he gets REALLY dirty. I use pethead moist wipes for spot cleaning, I think there are many brands out there, they're just like wet wipes for dogs. I also have a grooming spray I use every few days to freshen her up. I love the CHI detangling one it smells really nice but I also like the pethead products.
As for ears, I use pre-moistened ear pads and just gently rub the opening of the ear but dont go digging too far in. I do it every 2-3 weeks. This just prevents the build up of wax but my vet has said that if there is a lot of wax build up its better to use the ear drops as it gently loosens it up.
And as for nails and pads....I gave up pretty quickly trying to do it myself. I started with Lady as soon as I got her at 8 weeks to get her used to it, but over time she became more and more adverse to having me play around with her paws. I never once cut the quik so I dont know why she squirmed so much, but I decided to bring her to the groomers for them to do it. She didnt budge at all for the groomer and was in and out in 5 minutes. Go figure! The groomer does a good job of getting into the pads and getting most of the hair out. Its a relatively small cost so Im going to save myself the hassel and just have them give her a manicure every few weeks.
Wrigley would take a bath every day if I let him !! He simply LOVES the water. But I too have heard not to give baths that often as it dry's their skin out and can actually cause more problems. Dogs need a bit of dirt and oil to keep their fur shiney...lol!!
We do baths about once a month. Oh.. and I have "always" used baby shampoo. Don't have to worry about it getting in their eyes..and it's gentle to their skin.
I wipe just Wrigley's ( and Zeb's) face & feet on a daily basis though w/ a damp cloth or baby wipes.
Far as the ears... I trim just a tiny bit of the hair away from his ear cannal.
If you use a cotton ball and wipe gently ( but make sure you get down into the ear cannal) & do not see yellow or brown gunk...then ( JMHO).. I'd leave them alone. I only use cleanser in my dogs ears if there is any sign of yeast infection.
I do have to admit that we let the VET trim Wrigley's nails. He squirms so much when we do it..and for some odd reason he lets them. They do it for next to nothing..and I usually have to take both dogs in to have their anal glands squeezed every month or two anyway.
The hair on the feet thing?... again...trim only slightly on the bottom of their feet so he don't slide on the floor.
From everything I have read..no need to touch or trim in between the toes or on top. Cavaliers feet are supposed to look like they have house slippers on !!
For getting the hair between the pads there's a technique. You comb the hair against the grain so it comes out above the paw, then trim with scissors. (I hope that makes sense.) I think it's called "poodle feet", but avoid cutting the hair on top of the foot, because poodle feet are a very undesirable look, so you'll want to keep that hidden.
Originally Posted by Soushiruiuma
Its so funny you say that because our other dog is a poodle and we have him shaved naked!!!!!!!!!!:yikes Yes, my full grown hunk of a man husband came with a cute little white poodle. But because he was raised as a "shop dog" (read manly) he was never brushed as a puppy. So his Daddy just shaved him when he got hairy. He doesn't even look like a poodle, but whatever....
Bathing...too much can wreck their coats I know but a lot of show dogs get washed a lot .... If you could find a really mild puppy oatmeal shampoo, you might be able to do it more often. Just watch so if his skin starts looking dry or off you can stop.
Originally Posted by MomObvious
Nails--you might look into a Dremel, which is a mechanical nail file. You'd need to train him to get used to it. But a lot of people just have someone else trim their dog's nails (I do. :))
Hair between toes--my vet wanted me to keep it short so I think you're right.
Ears--I use a vinegar and water solution (1 part V to to 10 parts water). I soak a cotton ball and gently put it into the ear canal, but not deeply. Then I massage the ear,remove the cotton and wipe everything. Tess gets wax coming down the inside of her ears. If Fletcher gets that too, you can wash just the ear leathers in between the full body shampoo.
It sounds to me like you're doing great. If you keep it up you may not need a groomer at all. :)
Came ba k to add that if you try the vinegar solution be sure to use organic vinegar with the "mother" in it. it helps prevent yeast infections.
I use a dremel for Luke's nails. I never quicked him, but he always yelped like I was killing him, and would climb on my head when I cut his nails. So, I just got a dremel. He stands in the bathroom sink, and I do a few nails every night. I keep his really short because he does pet therapy at a nursing him, and I don't want him to scratch. I have the mini mite dremel. I use the high speed on his front nails, and the low speed for his dew claws and back nails. I will say that for a cavalier, you have to be more careful than with some other breeds, because you can catch the hair. Luke hasn't found it to be a big deal. It doesn't seem to bother him, and I just shut it off and free his hair from it. I try to avoid doing the back nails and dew claws just after I charge, because those are a bit more difficult to do. So, I wait until the battery is used a bit and it is a bit slowed down. There is a good tutorial on how to teach your dog to use a dremel if you google for it. It's on a doberman site. I think some people have more sensitive skin to dog scratches. My friend would complain about him scratching, and I'd have nothing after I cut his nails. I figured it was especially important for him to have smooth nails for therapy, so that was another reason I invested in the dremel.
I only wash Luke if he stinks, or he feels dirty. Otherwise I just rinse him off. Luke swims a lot in the summer, and he swims in lakes and creeks, so dirty water. His car crate is quite muddy.
I've never touched his hair between his toes. I do his ears right now every time he swims, because I noticed him scratching after he was swimming. I got some stuff from the vet. He didn't have an infection last time he went, but she noticed something that suggested he might develop one from all his swimming. He never started swimming until last year, and this is the first year he is swimming a lot. I never treated his ears before this, so I will probably only do it for the summer while he is swimming. Unless maybe just to do it once a week so he stays used to it for next summer.