While practicing staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important to do what you can to care for your pet at home and limit visits to the vet clinic as much as possible. Keeping a daily grooming routine can help with this, as well as with noticing signs of illness early on.
Professional Groomers are not seen as an essential service so we have our dog’s hair care to manage these days alongside our own!
All dogs will benefit from daily brushing and combing to remove dead hair and dander from the coat and to check their skin for parasites, itching, rashes, lumps etc. Report anything of concern to your vet and get their advice.
Long haired breeds need more attention, especially in warmer weather. Comb out as much dead hair as you can and keep your dog in the shade with plenty of water to drink.
Frequent bathing of dogs (more than once a month) is not recommended as it can remove natural oils from their coat and in long coated breeds can cause more tangling of their hair. Only use specific dog shampoos and rinse them out very well, or use medicated shampoos provided by your vet if your dog has a skin condition.
Groom when your dog is tired and relaxed and get help with holding them, rewarding them regularly with small treats and praise and doing short sessions only.
Don’t expect to groom like the professionals do. Your main purpose is the comfort of your pet. Pay particular attention to the area under the tail, around the eyes, the ears and the penis where faeces, discharges and urine may cause soiling and matting. If hair needs cutting in these areas use a small round tipped scissors, placing a comb between the scissors and the skin and cutting away from the skin.
If your dog becomes very matted and it is causing soreness, skin rashes, etc. contact your vet. They may need to be sedated and trimmed down for their health and comfort.
Eyes and Ears
Gently clean around your pet’s eyes and ear canals with cotton wool that has been soaked in warm water and squeezed out. Use a different piece of cotton for each eye and ear. Look for any discharges or redness and seek advice from your vet if these persist or look infected.
Check for overgrown claws, including the dewclaws which are higher up on the insides of the legs and may grow into the skin nearby.
If you have a nail clippers suitable for pets, you can trim away the overgrown, curved part of the claw carefully, avoiding going too close to the sensitive quick at the centre of the claw. The quick is the central nerve and blood vessel running down the centre of the nail, and if it is cut it will be painful and will bleed. Only cut claws if you are confident to do so.
Be patient and stop if your dog is getting very upset. Be prepared to just cut one claw each day.
Dental care is important from the beginning. Your puppy will lose all of its baby or ‘milk’ teeth by the age of 6 months. Help your dog get used to you opening their mouth and gently brushing their teeth daily from an early age using a toothbrush and toothpaste supplied by your vet or pet store.
While brushing, look for the early build-up of tartar (a yellow, hard substance) on your pet’s teeth and any sign of inflammation in the gums or pain or swelling.
Look for signs of tooth pain by noticing if your dog is off form and slow to eat, and there may be a bad smell from their mouth. If you do notice these signs, phone your vet to arrange an appointment.
These are two glands on each side of the anus in dogs which can become blocked and infected. This leads to your dog rubbing his bum along the ground or turning to lick and bite at his rear end. Check this area regularly to remove any matted or soiled hair and get used to feeling the glands to assess if they are over full. If your dog is prone to this problem, your vet will have shown you how to empty the glands at home. Always use plastic gloves and wash hands well after handling your dog.
If the glands are blocked and become infected, an abscess may form and your dog will be in a lot of pain. Watch for early signs of irritation and contact your vet for advice.
Dogs are affected by a range of both internal and external parasites and need regular treatments to prevent infestations. Parasites can affect you too! Some are zoonotic, meaning they can be spread to and cause illness in humans, so prevention is very important.
Regular doses of medication from your vet can treat and prevent the following parasites:
• Mange mites
Your vet or vet nurse will advise you over the phone about the best products to use on your dog and you can pay online or over the phone and collect at a pre-arranged time from your vet, or by prescription at a local pharmacy. Home delivery may also be possible if you are confined at home.
Taking time to groom and examine your dog will help keep them happy and healthy and will help detect early signs of illness for a better chance of effective treatment.
Please note: Always wash your hands well before and after handling your dog. If you have respiratory symptoms and are self-isolating it is important to keep contact with your dog to a minimum, so let someone else in your household look after them. Your dog’s coat is another ‘surface’ on which a virus such as COVID-19 may survive in droplets for some hours after contact with an infected person.
This guidance is for general information purposes only. Allianz accepts no responsibility or liability for any losses that may arise from any reliance upon the information contained in this guidance.