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I will never forget the day I got my sweet little furry dog. She was a six week old shih tzu, and when my husband walked up with the tiny ball of fur, I was instantly in love! She was a Mother’s Day gift, and was one of the best gifts my guys have ever given me. After mulling over names for a couple of days, we finally settled with Trixie, and the fun began!
One of the down sides to having a dog is the expense. Many times people don’t consider how much having a dog will cost them. There are normal things like food, toys, and a crate. But then you have veterinary expenses, such as getting the dog spayed or neutered, annual shots, flea and tick prevention, heartworm prevention, and the unfortunate incidents when sickness hits. Plus, you have to consider the aging dog, who will need additional care. And if you have a dog with long hair, you will need to consider grooming expenses.
This is where I find it easy to save money. For several years, I would take Trixie to a groomer. The groomer would bathe her and cut her hair, then send her home looking all adorable with cute bows in her ears. This does save time, but it costs money. For Trixie, it is about $30, which doesn’t seem like a lot. But she needs to be groomed every two weeks, and that adds up. So I decided that I would try my hand at grooming her myself.
This was rather interesting, to say the least. The first time I tried, I found myself taking her to the groomer to fix my mess! But after a couple of times, it became easier to groom her. The most difficult part of grooming Trixie is doing her feet. She really doesn’t like for me to mess with her feet, so it can sometimes be a challenge to get her to cooperate. But it is well worth the effort. Not only am I saving money, but grooming my own dog gives me an opportunity to bond with her.
Start by giving the dog a good cut with the clippers. Trixie usually loves this because it is a good massage for her, but in the beginning she was afraid of the clippers. If your dog is afraid, give him/her a chance to get used to them. It may take a little time, but stick with it and be patient. I usually cut most of her body hair a little longer than her tummy, but I still cut it pretty short since this allows for more time between full body grooming sessions. You can change out the guards that come with the clippers to find what length you like best for your dog. I try to cut her tummy and around her bum really short, as this helps with keeping her clean. Be very careful as you go around the face and ears, especially the eyes, as they can be easily injured. Sometimes it is easier to use scissors around the face, but it will depend on your dog.
I usually shave the underside of Trixie’s ears and pluck the hair from inside them. This helps prevent yeast growth and infections, as she is prone to getting ear infections. Follow your veterinarian’s advice here, as each dog is different in how they need to be cared for.
I hardly ever clip Trixie’s tail hair with the clippers. I have done it before, but only because she had some tangles that I couldn’t get out and cutting it gave me a fresh start. Usually, I stand her up and hold her tail straight out. Then I use my scissors to cut the hair all one length.
After cutting her hair, I clip her nails. You have to be very careful not to cut them too short, but sometimes accidents do happen. If this happens to you, place a paper towel on the affected area and apply pressure. Dipping the foot into a baking soda and corn starch mixture can also help stop the bleeding. I would recommend using some Styptic Powder, as it really is the best option to stop the bleeding.
Be sure to bathe your dog regularly, but not too often. Bathing a dog too often can dry out and irritate their skin. Not often enough can result in too much oil, matting, and a dirty dog. I recommend using an oatmeal shampoo, as this is soothing to the dog’s skin.
Grooming Trixie has been such a great experience for both of us! It gives us some good bonding time, and my wallet thanks me for saving so much money!