By the time you get Ralph home from the park he may smell like the great outdoors. But unless he’s covered in mud, you probably don’t need to stick him in the bathtub. A simple thorough brushing should remove debris that may cause odor. Brushing the coat stimulates spread of oils in Ralph's fur, making him naturally cleaner.
Benefits of Brushing
Brushing gets rid of dead skin cells and hairs, dirt, dried saliva and other matter that can cause odors on your canine pal’s fur. Coat stench may emanate from the fur on his chest if Ralph is a messy eater. Brushing after meals removes food particles that become stinky later on. Sometimes odors come from excessive pools of the natural oils in Ralph’s fur. By brushing his lustrous coat, you’ll help spread the oils all over his mane and remove any surplus amounts of oil.
When to Brush
Frequent brushing won’t harm your furry prince, so don’t worry about overdoing it. He’ll come to love the one-on-one time he gets with you. Brushing him every time he finishes a romp at the park helps keep his coat clean by getting out grime that can eventually lead to smelly odors. If your four-legged pal has a short coat -- think Chihuahua, boxer or black lab -- you’ll need to brush him at least once a week. However, if he has medium to long hair, like a Yorkie or a golden retriever, you’ll want to brush him daily.
Type of Brush
The grooming aisle at the pet store is as varied as the food aisle. Finding just the right brush is a daunting task. If your pooch has medium, long or curly hair, opt for a slicker brush -- the one that has short wires poking out of it. Slicker brushes loosen up mats and keep Ralph’s fur tangle-free. Regular bristle brushes work beautifully for short-hair or smooth-coat dogs to get rid of loose strands while stimulating the skin. Meanwhile, pin brushes have bristles covered in little plastic bulbs. They remove loose hairs before they get stuck on your sofa but don’t do a lot to remove the hard-to-reach debris. If you’re not sure which type to choose, ask the groomer or glance through a breed-specific book to find out which tool is best. Sometimes you’ll need two or three types of brushes to get the job done.
Certain breeds need extra special attention on a daily basis. Pugs, shar peis and other wrinkle-faced breeds can develop smells if you don’t clean them each day. Clean out those skin folds with a clean damp cloth or cotton ball. Bacteria can build up in the wrinkles, causing odors as well as possible skin infections. If your pup is older, he might need help cleaning his rear end. Hardened fecal matter can get stuck in his fur. Since he’s in his golden years, he can’t quite reach back there and clean it up himself. Help him out and wipe his rear after he goes to the bathroom. Wet wipes are handy.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.