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K-9 Grooming

and Inspection

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          Grooming and Inspection are different procedures although they are grouped together due in large part because they are usually done at the same time.  The following are the simplest of tips for the two.   Always consult with your veterinarian before trying anything new or different on your canine.  Also, grooming and inspection is no time to be embarrassed or shy about your dog's body.  It is important to know about your dogs body and what is normal for it.  As it as your knowledge of such that can determine if you catch diseases, injuries and illness early enough to be treated.
Grooming
          Most dogs have a double coat of hair; the undercoat is soft wooly hair and the outer coat is stiff and water resistant hair.  Daily grooming is essential to the proper care of the dog's coat and skin.
Bullet; Moving Blue Ball.gif (3556 bytes) The first step in grooming is to give the dog a brisk rubdown with your fingertips moving against the grain.  This will loosen dead skin, hair and dirt.  It brings it all to the surface and massages the skin.
Bullet; Moving Blue Ball.gif (3556 bytes) Next, use a brush and brush against the grain of the hair.  This helps to remove the dead skin, hair and dirt the fingertips brought to the surface and missed.  The type of brush used depends upon the type of hair your dog has.  See your vet or local pet store for help with this.
Bullet; Moving Blue Ball.gif (3556 bytes) Then brush the hair with the grain to return the hair to its natural position.  This too helps to further remove all the bad stuff.
Bullet; Moving Blue Ball.gif (3556 bytes) Finally rub the coat with your fingertips with the grain.  This distributes the oil and gives the coat a glossy appearance.  I find that a rubber glove gives a real nice shine and helps to continue removing hair.
Bullet; Moving Blue Ball.gif (3556 bytes) An occasional bath may be necessary but try not to bathe too often.  Excessive bathing may remove oils that keep the skin and coat soft, prevent drying and keep the coat water repellant.  See you veterinarian for advice on the frequency of bathing, type of soap and how to protect the canine's eyes and ears.  Always ensure the dog is fully rinsed of soap as some soap if left in, may cause hair loss and irritation.
Bullet; Moving Blue Ball.gif (3556 bytes) Brushing you dog's teeth is also recommended to ensure tarter buildup is minimized.  Once again see your vet to help you determine the frequency.  I recommend a Milk Bone once a day to help minimize the amount of brushing.  I like to use it as part of training so the dog has to earn it.   Trust me they will do almost anything for them.
Inspection
          Daily inspection can be done during the grooming.  During the inspection check each part of the dogs anatomy for signs and symptoms of illness and injury.  After a short period of time you will know how your dog should look and act when she is healthy.  You will know what is normal for your dog, how the coat looks, frequency of bowel movements and eating habits.  It is also important to know simple terms to better explain to the vet what is going on with what part.  Always check with your vet to insure what is normal for your dog and what is not.
Bullet; Moving Blue Ball.gif (3556 bytes) Eyes:  Usually the dog's eyes are bright and clear with the surrounding membranes being a healthy pink color.  The small wedge shaped membrane in the corner of the eyes are the nictitating membrane or third eyelid.  It is normal for a small portion of the third eyelid to cover a small portion of the eye.  Many illnesses are frequently accompanied by changes in the eyes and some only affect the eyes.  Check the eyes for red or yellow discoloration of the membranes and whites of the eyes, paleness of the membranes, excessive white or yellow discharge, cloudiness and discoloration of the clear part of the eye, puffiness of the surrounding tissue and lids, lids partly or completely closed and nictitating membranes that are covering more of the eyeball than normal.
Bullet; Moving Blue Ball.gif (3556 bytes) Nose:  The nose is usually shinny and moist.  If is persistently dry and dull it could be an early sign of illness.   Also look for sneezing, snorting, pawing at the nose and a watery, yellowish or reddish discharge.  These are also possible signs of early illness.
Bullet; Moving Blue Ball.gif (3556 bytes) Ears:  A small amount of a brownish wax is normal.  A reddish discoloration, large amounts of discharge or swelling of the ear or ear canal should be reported to your vet.  Also a good indicator is when your dog constantly shakes his head, holds the ear flap with his paw, holding the head to one side twitching the ear or evidence of pain when the ear is touched.  Also check the ear for a foul odor coming from the canal.  If there is a foul odor this could be a sign of ear mites.
Bullet; Moving Blue Ball.gif (3556 bytes) Mouth, Teeth and Gums:  The normal color of the interior of the mouth is a healthy pink.   The teeth are firm and white.  Signs of illness are paleness of gums, sores, continuous drooling, bloody saliva, gagging, pawing at mouth and foul breath. (Worse than usual)  Look for loose or broken teeth and objects inside the mouth.
Bullet; Moving Blue Ball.gif (3556 bytes) Coat:  If your dog is fed and groomed well her coat will usually be glossy and the skin soft and pliable.  The coat changes in appearance and texture during different climates throughout the year.  Symptoms of skin trouble are reddening, scabbing, moist discharges, scratching, abnormal shedding, loss of hair in spots, dryness and loss of pliability.
Bullet; Moving Blue Ball.gif (3556 bytes) Feet and Legs:  Inspect the feet for cuts, foreign objects, bruises and abrasions on the pads and between the digits.  Nails should not touch the ground.  Pay special attention to the dew claws on the side of the paw.  The dew claws are not worn down by natural wear.  Lameness is the most common sign of foot or leg injuries.
Bullet; Moving Blue Ball.gif (3556 bytes) Genital Area:  
Male dogs; the penis is located in a fold of skin called the prepuce.  A small amount of greenish yellow discharge is normal.  Large amounts of discharge or bleeding should be reported immediately.  The scrotum should be checked for swelling, reddening or scabbing.

Female dogs; the external genital opening is the vulva.  Usually there is no discharge.  An unspaded female may have swelling and reddening of the vulva and surrounding tissue with a red discharge.  This is more than likely a sign your dog being in heat.  To ensure this is correct visit your local veterinarian.

Bullet; Moving Blue Ball.gif (3556 bytes) Anal Region:  See your vet if there is any reddening, swelling or constant discharge.  Watch you dog for scooting or biting at the anal area.  This could be a sign of full or infected anal sacs.  They are also signs of parasitic infection so do the norm, see your vet.

If you ever have any doubt of the dog's health or well being then see your vet immediately.

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