While it’s true that wild canids take care of their hygiene needs without human assistance, they don’t live in our homes. Sure, a wolf can swim in a stream and roll in the dirt to care for his coat. But that won’t control doggy odors. When your floor is the ground, muddy paws don’t need to be clean. However, carpeting or tile is a different story.
The fact is that pet owners have different expectations for cleanliness than their four-footed friends. So, it falls to us to brush teeth, give baths, and take care of other details to ensure our dogs meet our hygiene requirements for the home. And in this pandemic, it’s even more important.
We hear constant reminders to wash or sanitize our hands, wear clean facemasks, and sanitize various surfaces. What about our canine family members? Although there’s currently no evidence that dogs pass COVID-19 to people, some pups have become infected from their masters. That’s why during the coronavirus pandemic, proper pooch hygiene is even more important.
How to Practice Proper Pet Hygiene?
Proper hygiene for your pooch goes beyond controlling dirt and odors. It can also protect both your and Fido’s health. Let’s look at some things you can do to properly care for your special pal.
Give Your Dog a Bath
Regular baths help keep your furry friend’s coat clean and fresh smelling. When we fail to wash our pups, they can develop skin irritations or infections from dirt buildup. Cleansing Fido’s fur regularly takes on increasing importance if you a member of your household is COVID positive. It can help decontaminate your pooch before they stay with another person.
You may be wondering how often you should bathe your canine companion. The answer varies by breed, coat length, and lifestyle. A good rule of thumb is that any time your furbaby has visible dirt or a funny smell, you should give him a bath.
When it’s time to give your pup a shampoo, make sure you’re using a safe, gentle product that’s pH balanced for a dog’s coat like All Systems Clearly Illuminating Shampoo. A common mistake that many people make is picking a cleanser that contains potentially toxic chemicals like phenols, hydrogen peroxide, bleach, or alcohol. Check the ingredient list to make sure the shampoo is free of these harmful ingredients.
Brush Your Pup’s Coat Daily
If you have a pooch with a double coat, curly hair, or longer fur, regular brushing is a key component of proper hygiene. Failure to make grooming a daily routine can cause the coat to get tangles and mats. Thick, knotted hair is more likely to trap dirt and moisture that can harbor bacteria and other microbes like coronavirus.
To properly brush your pal’s coat, your first step is to invest in a quality brush like the Black Forest Large Pin Brush or a medium firmness Breezy Brush. You’ll want to follow the hair’s natural direction and use short, firm strokes. Work on all areas, but pay special attention to your pooch’s neck, back, and sides. If you encounter snarls or mats, use a detangler spray to condition the coat and make it easier to work out the snarls. With daily grooming, you can reduce the risk of your canine companion harboring any bacteria or viruses.
Keep Your Dog’s Nails Trimmed
Long toenails pose several health risks for dogs and their owners. For one, long nails press against your floor and create a backward pressure on the foot that’s painful. Longer claws also have a greater risk of catching on something and being torn off. And of course, long nails can collect dirt and pathogens like bacteria and viruses. So, if you let your pup’s claws grow, you could be at higher risk of bringing coronavirus and other disease-causing microorganisms into your house when you take your pooch for a walk.
To keep your pup’s nails an appropriate length, you should trim them every 2-3 weeks. There are two types of tools available for pet owners. Nail clippers work much like our manicure equipment. You use them to cut off the unwanted nail portion. Another option is a grinder, that’s like a Dremel tool. If you can train your pal to tolerate the procedure, do it yourself at home. Otherwise, you can pay a groomer or your veterinary clinic to keep your furbaby’s claws trimmed. Either way, you’ll be helping your pal stay healthy.
The Best Offense is a Good Defense
In the battle to keep you and your household safe from coronavirus infection, good hygiene should an important part of your preventative measures. Remember that this applies equally to your pooch. You can help keep all of your family members healthy with some common-sense defensive health practices.
What about you? How are you protecting your pooch from COVID-19? Let us know in the comments below.
Scarlett Gold is the head of content at FluentWoof. She is a Yorkie-Mixed mom and a true animal lover. Her primary focus is bringing readers the very best dog care resources and info to help owners better care for their canine companions.