Grooming your dog is essential to keeping them happy, healthy, clean and manageable. Here are 7 gorgeous grooming tips to remember.

File claws with sandpaper

Most dogs don’t like having their claws filed, but doing so will keep them in good condition and avoid splitting in cold weather. To ease your dog’s stress about the nail-filing devices used by groomers, cut a small round of medium-grit sandpaper, wrap it around your index finger and gently work at it, stopping frequently to praise your dog and reinforcing his good behaviour with a treat.

Use tube socks for post-shampoo itchiness

Many dogs have skin that is sensitive to shampoos, leaving them scratching and irritated after their bath (which they no doubt didn’t want in the first place). Keep a larger dog from scratching his neck and face by putting his back feet in cotton tube socks and pulling them up asfar as you can; if you have a smaller dog (with shorter legs), try a pair of cotton baby socks.

Use olive oil on matted hair

Loosen your dog’s matted hair by rubbing a little olive oil into the knot. Then gently comb through the matted area with a wire brush until the brush teeth glide smoothly through his coat.

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Oil away tar

Remove tar from your dog’s foot pads by gently rubbing them with baby oil or petroleum jelly. Then wash away the residue with a mild solution of soapy water. To keep tar pick-up to a minimum on your walks, carefully trim the hair that grows between your pet’s toes.

Dab off tear residue with baby oil

Some dogs’ tear ducts create a residue that collects in the hair below the corner of the eye. This may stain the hair of light-coloured dogs and, despite products sold to ‘whiten’ it, vets say there is little you can do – so it’s best not to fret. Still, you should remove the gunk. Pour a little baby oil onto a cotton ball and gently work it into the area to loosen the residue and make it easier to dab off. You could also use a very mild face-freshening toner, but take great care to keep it out of your dog’s eyes.

Vinegar ear cleaner

All floppy-eared dogs – especially water dogs such as labradors and retrievers – should have their ears gently cleaned at least once a week to prevent waxy build-up and infections, which result in both pain and odour. Mix 1 part white vinegar to 1 part water; dip a cotton wool ball into the mixture and carefully wipe out your dog’s ears, but without inserting the cotton wool ball into the ear canal. Use a separate cotton wool ball for each ear to avoid cross contamination in case of infection.

Prevent dog-hair blockages with a kitchen scouring pad

At bath time, you can keep your dog’s hair from clogging the bath drain by placing a nylon scouring pad or a snipped-off section of kitchen sponge over the drain. This porous barrier will collect hair, which you can then easily remove and discard.

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