Going for a walk in the park with your dog can be fun, until you get home and realise that Rufus needs some grooming – especially if the walk was in tall grass and mud. But don’t despair, if you follow these tips, Rufus will soon be squeaky clean again.
1. Patience is a virtue
Our dogs are supersensitive to our feelings, and if you’re going to feel rushed or anxious before you start with the process, your dog might react to that and start acting up. Make sure that you’re calm and then try to stay calm and be patient throughout the process. Try to make a game of it so that you both can enjoy the experience.
2. Take a break
Cleaning your dog’s coat after a walk can be a lengthy process, especially for a high-energy dog. Don’t force him to sit through the entire process, give him a few breaks in between. And use the break for yourself too – stretch your back and allow yourself to remain calm.
3. Sticky debris
While walking in tall grass, your dog will most probably have black jacks, grass and other seeds stuck to his coat, especially if he has a long coat. He might even have mud on his paws and coat as well. You will need to remove these from his coat, and it can take a painstakingly long time. Don’t try to brush out the grass, rather take off the blades one by one.
Before you enter the house, wash off any mud from his paws. Use a container with water and dry off the excess moisture before you go inside.
4. Remove ticks and fleas
The next step is to remove any ticks and fleas before you continue. If you don’t remove the fleas that you can see, they can infest your house. And unremoved ticks can cause diseases like tick bite fever or biliary in your dog and family.
Tip: How to remove ticks
Use a sterilised tweezers and place it as close as possible to your dog’s skin. Be careful not to pinch your dog. Then gently pull the tick off in a steady motion. If a part of the tick is left behind, it can cause an infection. If you don’t want to remove the tick yourself, you can ask the vet to do it for you. But you’ll have to get to the vet as soon as possible.
5. Brush the coat
Once grass and parasites are removed, it’s time to brush or comb your dog’s coat to ensure that there are no knots in the fur. This will be a quick process if your dog has short hair but can be another long process for longhaired dogs. Be patient, take breaks when necessary and give your dog a small treat after each process.
Try to get rid of all the tangles in his coat. Use a comb and take it slow. Gently start with each knot and loosen the knot, bit by bit. Do a section at a time until his coat is free of knots. If you don’t get rid of the knots now, they might become mats and will be extremely difficult to get rid of.
7. Bath preparation
If you realise that your dog needs a bath after the walk, give him a break while you get everything ready for the bath. Make sure that you have everything you need, including doggy shampoo, towels and his brush, before you get his bath water ready.
8. Luxurious bath
Some dogs just don’t like baths, and others love the pampering that goes with them. Keep the bathing session short if your dog is energetic and wants to get out of the tub. Make sure the water is the right temperature by using the skin on the inside of your elbow as a guide. Wet your dog thoroughly, apply shampoo and rub it in gently. Be sure to rinse all the shampoo from his coat, as any left-over shampoo can irritate his skin. Don’t forget to also clean his ears and eyes with a damp cloth.
9. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise
Once you’re finished bathing your dog, you can apply some doggy moisturiser to his paws, nose, coat and tail.
10. Preventative treatments
Preventative tick and flea treatments will help to keep those nasty parasites away, especially if you regularly go for walks in the park and in areas with tall grass. There are a variety of treatments available, including spot-ons, collars, shampoos and powders. Do some research and figure out which ones work the best for you and your dog.