EARS: Your dog's ears should be cleaned approximately once a month, or more often if he is prone to ear problems. Smell your dog's ears and make sure they smell clean. Many times a bad smell of the dog comes from the ears.
Clean the ears by using a cotton ball with a cleaner especially designed for the dog's ears or mineral oil. Hold the ear flap up and carefully wipe out the ear canal, removing all dirt and wax out of all folds. Do not insert the cotton ball into the ear. Do not clean out an infected ear. If the ear has sores, looks inflamed, omits a strong odor, or seems sensitive or painful call your veterinarian.
Small dogs (Lhasa's, Shih-Tzu's, Poodles, Maltese etc.) need to have the hair inside their ears removed. Hair inside the ear holds moisture and can make your dog more prone to ear infections. It is best to let a professional groomer remove this hair.
TEETH: Dogs develop plaque and tartar just like people, which can lead to gum disease, causing pain and possibly tooth loss. Tartar is a hard yellow-brown or gray-white deposit on the teeth which can't be removed by brushing. Once present, tartar should be removed by a veterinarian. Because tartar begins as plaque, regular cleaning can prevent many harmful problems. You should clean your pet's teeth once or twice a week by using a tooth brush or gauze.
To slow down the build-up of tartar, use dry dog food and give your pet something to chew on such as Nyla bones. You will slow down the build-up of tarter on your pets teeth and they will have healthier nicer smelling gums and teeth as they mature.
EYES: Most puppy’s eyes will tear in the inside corners. Every few days, wipe the inside corners of the eyes and face gently with a warm, damp cloth. In long-hair puppies, the tears can accumulate and dry, causing mats around the eyes. If mats develop, be extremely careful not to poke or damage the eye when removing.
BRUSHING: Brushing a few minutes each day will help to keep your dog free of skin and hair problems. Establish a routine and try to adhere to it. If grooming a puppy, keep the sessions brief and make it a pleasurable experience. When brushing, brush all the way down to the skin, letting the massaging action stimulate blood circulation and also loosen and remove flakes of dandruff. Use extra caution by the eyes, ear edges, and bony areas. When using a slicker brush, do not press too hard or you could scrape the skin and cause irritation.
MATS: Mats (solid masses of hair), most often behind the ears and under the legs, are a common problem. Before brushing mats split them by using special dematting tools found at supply stores or use scissors by placing the scissors point carefully next to the skin and cut away from the dog’s body. If a mat must be cut out be extremely careful not to cut the skin at the same time. You can slide a comb under the mat and cut on top to protect the skin. A dog comb can be used to check through the coat to see if you have missed any mats. Never bathe a dog until all mats are removed. Matted hair tends to "set" when wet.
NAILS: Toe nail clipping is very important for your pet. Some dogs are active enough to keep theirs worn down but other dogs need some help in keeping their nails short. They should be clipped at least every 6-8 weeks. If you hear your dog's nails clicking on the floor when he's walking, they are too long. Don't allow too much time to go by because the quick (or vein) will grow with the nail and by the time they get clipped they can only be cut to the quick or they will bleed. It is possible (although rare) for a dog to bleed to death by cutting too far into the quick. If you cut your own dog's nails, keep something on hand that you can use to stop the bleeding if you cut it too close. There are a number of medicines available at most pet stores to help stop bleeding. It is best to let a professional dog-groomer cut your dog's nails.
SHEDDING: Contrary to popular belief, short-hair dogs shed more often than long-hair breeds. Expect shedding if you have a dog with short hair. Daily brushing can help reduce the amount of hair you accumulate in your home. Many dog-groomers also offer shedding treatments that, when done regularly, can help reduce shedding (i.e. Shed-X treatments).
BATHING: Long-hair breeds may need to be bathed monthly because their coat tends to collect and retain dirt.
Short-hair breeds tend to distribute more oil than longer coated breeds, which can cause a "doggy" odor. They can be wiped down with a baby wipe weekly to remove excess oil and odor. Also, most stores that carry pet supplies offer a dry-bath powder, or waterless shampoo for “in-between” baths.
PUPPIES: Begin grooming puppies at eight weeks old. Train your dog to accept grooming, just like you train him to sit and stay. Don’t make grooming a wrestling match - make grooming a pleasurable experience for your puppy. You and the puppy will both enjoy it much more.