You and your dog should get into a good cleaning and grooming routine as soon as possible. Here's why: regular grooming helps keep him clean and healthy - and looking and feeling his best.
  What to look out for with a new dog
Your new dog may not be used to you or being groomed, so be patient and gentle; he may be scared. When you first get him home, check the condition of his coat and skin and look for any abnormalities such as swellings, wounds, or evidence of parasites. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, call your vet for advice.
 Healthy coat, healthy dog

The condition of your dog's coat can tell you a lot about his health. If it's dull, brittle and lacklustre, it's likely that your dog is not getting the proper vitamins or nutrients he needs in his diet. Talking to your vet about your dog's diet, and spending a few minutes combing and brushing his coat, can make a huge difference to his appearance - and his overall well-being.

Regular grooming not only removes dead hair and dry skin, it also distributes your dog's natural oils and helps keep parasites and skin diseases at bay.

 How often should you groom?
Regardless of the length of your dog's coat, you should begin a brushing routine. Longer-haired breeds will need more frequent brushing than shorter-haired ones. And you may need to brush more often if your dog spends lots of time outdoors, because you'll have to remove any mats or burrs you find.
 Grooming basics
The type of brush or comb you use on your dog depends on his coat and what you want to accomplish. For instance, if you're just doing general purpose brushing, a comb or pin-head brush is recommended. You can also get brushes and blades that help remove dead coat and hair mats (but these are too harsh for general purpose brushing). There are even special brushes for making fringe hair look fluffy. When you purchase your grooming tools, be sure to read the packages carefully so you know their exact purposes and how to use them properly.

For short-haired breeds, start off by brushing in the wrong direction first, then in the right direction. If your dog has a dense undercoat, you need to work a bit more intensely. A long coat with dense undercoat needs to be combed and brushed gently but firmly. Some breeds, such as Poodles, for example, need to be trimmed on a regular basis. Most terriers, however, don't need regular haircuts. While you're brushing your dog, keep an eye out for any unusual lumps, bumps, or changes in the condition of his coat or skin.
 Check your dog's mouth regularly
Mouth care is a key component to the maintenance of overall canine grooming. Removing plaque and tartar on a regular basis helps protect him from bad breath, sore gums, tooth loss and even organ infections.

His teeth should be clean and free from plaque and tartar and his gums should be a healthy pink colour. As he ages, deposits may develop around the base of his teeth near the gums, which can lead to bad breath, mouth pain, gum disease and infections. Eventually this can cause his teeth to fall out. Brushing your dog's teeth on a regular basis helps prevent tartar from building up. Use a special canine toothbrush or a child's toothbrush, along with toothpaste designed for dogs. You can also give him snacks with an abrasive texture that are specifically designed to keep his teeth clean while he chews.

At the clinic, your vet can clean your dog's teeth to remove the tartar, remove any loose teeth and polish the teeth to slow down the return of deposits. Maintaining his dental health requires daily to twice weekly home care.
 Don't forget his nails
Dogs that regularly walk and exercise on cement and other hard surfaces are less likely to need attention, as their nails typically wear down to a good length. But if your dog exercises mainly on grass or soft surfaces, his nails may grow longer and need trimming.

Pay particular attention to the dewclaws if he has them, since they tend to grow around in a circle and may pierce his paw pad. This hurts and can cause infection and worse. You can trim the nails yourself, but you have to do it properly with canine clippers. If you don't know how to do this, ask your vet or a professional dog groomer for help.
 When's bath time?
Dogs only need bathing when they are dirty or on the advice of your veterinarian. If he does need one, make sure that you do it indoors or in nice weather to avoid chills. Only use products that have been designed for use on dogs. Never use a domestic detergent or disinfectant. Have a tub or other container half filled with warm water - not too warm - and have a ready supply of warm water for rinsing the dog. You'll need a mild canine shampoo, or your vet may recommend a special type for your dog.

Gently lift him into the container. (If he's too heavy, get someone to help you or bath him outside or in a walk-in shower.) Then use a clean bottle or shower hose, to pour the warm water over him, from the back of the neck downwards, doing the head last.

Apply shampoo to the body and legs first. Rub it well in to the coat to give a good lather and make sure his whole coat has been shampooed. Rinse the shampoo from him by pouring warm water on his coat or by gently hosing him down. Remember to rinse him thoroughly, as residual shampoo can cause skin irritation.

Your dog will probably shake himself vigorously, which will remove most of the water from his coat. Use an old clean towel to dry off the remaining water. When he's dry, give him a nice, gentle brushing.
Dog Coat Care & Grooming
Keeping Your Dog Warm
Dog Walks & Exercise
Diet for a Healthy Dog
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