Having a dog at home as a pet is always a delight as they undoubtedly turn out to be your best and most loyal friends. The puppy is one of the most adorable things that you may come across but parenting it properly is no cake walk. It needs the same attention and care as your own child and will be a life-long commitment for as long as it stays with you. The following basic guidelines will give you an idea about dog care and grooming. Body grooming: There are different grooming techniques for different breeds because there are short-haired and long-haired breeds. Get the right advice from your vet on this issue and act accordingly. However, no matter what breed your dog is, grooming is compulsory. The grooming process starts at the puppy stage and the pup may not like it initially. However, your gentle perseverance will help it get used to the procedure, including difficult tasks such as ear cleaning and nail clipping. Brushing is the most common form of grooming and helps even distribution of natural oils in the dog’s coat that makes it glossy and beautiful. Also periodically wash your dog to eliminate dead skin and to check for abnormalities like tumors, bites, ticks, wounds or cuts. Once you’ve got your grooming tools like combs, shears, and clips together, begin by combing out the dog’s coat. This prevents matting. Begin with the head, working down the body to the tail end. Tangles should be gently handled with a brush. Your dog will love you for this, certainly a female dog. They love being taken care of and combed. They want to be pretty! Don’t brush for too long in one place as it may lead to brush burn. Short-haired dogs are best brushes with curry brushes or combs. For medium to long-haired dogs, the right tools would be a steel comb, pin brush, slicker, or undercoat rake. The more loose hair you remove, the more successful your grooming is. Cut or shave off mats that can’t be brushed. But do be careful with the scissors or shears to prevent nick and cuts. Cut parallel to the hair growth to avoid a scraggy look. Secure professional help if you can’t manage yourself. Mats may get close to the skin causing bacterial infection. Take the veterinarian’s advice on this as soon as possible if the skin turns red and secretes pus while the dog keeps biting or scratching the area constantly. Eye care: Cleaning your dog’s eyes is as important as its body grooming. This is more critical with breeds that are white-haired breeds or have large eyes that water a lot as is commonly seen in Pugs, Pekingese, and Pomeranians. You need to soak a soft, clean cloth in sterile water and wipe off any eye debris, particularly from eye corners. Tear stains are common in long-haired dogs and need to treat with special solutions for removing them. Remember that a healthy eye is always clear and shows no signs of any unusual discharge or irritation. As a novice, don’t try to clip any eye hair as this might result in an injury. Ear care: Ear cleaning is an essential part of your dog care regimen and cannot be ignored under any circumstances. If there’s any smelly wax in it, consult your vet. Use an ear cleaning solution and a cotton swab to remove wax and dirt from the inner ear, without rubbing too vigorously. This might lead to sores and aural ulcers. Don’t prod too internally either. The golden rule is to clean out only what’s visible to you. The solution applied must be brought down to body temperature before use. Dry out the ear with a cotton swab or soft cloth after the procedure is over. Any swelling, redness, dark ulceration, or undue blackening and sores or discharge need immediate medical attention. Excessive discharge and one ear being dirtier than the other as also a bad odor are symptoms of ear infections that need proper medication. Taking care of your dog is beneficial to you and your dog. Your dog will love you for it and even do a better job at working with you and watching out for you. Dental care: Brushing your dog’s teeth daily with a dog toothpaste results in healthy gums and teeth. Don’t use normal toothpaste as some dogs are allergic to fluoride. If the pet is getting abnormally excited at the procedure, take a break to help him calm down. Begin the procedure by placing a tiny amount of the dog toothpaste on your fingertip and massaging it gently across its teeth for a few seconds. If the pet permits you to work your finger in his mouth for 20-30 seconds, you can take the toothbrush and start working. For plaque and tartar removal, consult your vet. Swollen or red gums usually indicate a dental infection and may make home brushing painful for the dog. Therefore, don’t attempt to brush his teeth until a vet’s seen him. Also be ever vigilant for symptoms such as bad breath, sudden appetite loss, sensitivity around the mouth, brown or yellow deposits on teeth, inflamed, bleeding & withdrawn gums, missing or loose teeth, attempts to paw at the face or mouth or sudden difficulty in chewing. Nail clipping: Like human nails, dog nails too, require regular clipping to prevent nails from curling under the paw pads leading to joint damage. Thus, regular clipping is required and the typical symptom of long nails is a clip-clop sound when he walks. Use scissor type dog clippers to trim about 1/16th of an inch of nail first and then clip the clear and hard nail, avoiding any pink parts which have the blood vessels. Dremeling may be done to clip dark nails so that the blood vessels don’t get damaged and the shaving off happens gradually. Should bleeding happen, apply corn starch, styptic powder, or flour with pressure to stop it. Flea Treatment & worming: All dogs are susceptible to parasites, worms being the most common among them. Either vaccinate your dog to immunize it from them or take the vet’s advice for proper anti-worm medication should you suspect worm infection. Furthermore, use flea collars to prevent ticks or give them vaccines that strengthens and immunizes their system against ticks and fleas.