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Looking paw-fect Groom to improve: Top tips for lockdown pet care

A good shampoo, brush and lots of TLC is all you need to keep your pooch looking pawfect

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Don't forget to give your dog lots of treats and praise for positive reassurance!

Don't forget to give your dog lots of treats and praise for positive reassurance!

Don't forget to give your dog lots of treats and praise for positive reassurance!

Pet beauty parlours may be closed - but groomer has it you can still keep your best pal looking grrr-geous in lockdown.

Fur parents across the country were tearing their hair out after dog groomers were forced to once more close their doors in the fight against coronavirus.

But a good quality shampoo, brush and, of course, lots of cuddles are all you need to turn your home into your very own 'Peter Bark' salon, advises expert Karen Murphy.

"Making brushing a regular part of your dog's life is the best thing you can do to ensure your pet won't be shaved off at the salon next month," says the professional dog groomer who runs The Grooming Boutique at Rivendell Boarding Kennels in Navan, Co Meath.

"A matted dog is a very uncomfortable one and we all want our pets to look and feel their absolute best during these times. Don't forget to give your dog lots of treats and praise for positive reassurance!"

Here are her top tips to pamper your pooch at home.

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Odour Muncher, €25

Odour Muncher, €25

Odour Muncher, €25

⬤ BRUSH UP ON BRUSHING:

"Regular brushing at home is the best way to keep your dog in tip top condition until their next grooming appointment. You will need a slicker brush and a good comb. When brushing your dog, it is best to divide it into sections. The ears, legs, tail and neck usually mat the most, so these areas should be brushed thoroughly and carefully every day. The chest, back, bum and belly should be done every other day. Using a good conditioning or detangling spray can help make brushing easier and will protect the hair. If you don't have any spray, mix a small amount of your dog's conditioner with water in a spray bottle."

⬤ GET INTO A GRRR-OOVE:

"Try to follow the same steps when brushing each time. This will help speed things up and get your dog into a routine. Start by lightly misting the area with your spray. Brush through with your slicker brush making sure to reach the skin and not just the top layer of coat. Then comb through. If your comb snags on a mat, hold the mat, remove your comb and use your slicker to gently tease it out, starting from the tip and working your way in towards the root. Never attempt to pull or tug a mat or tangle with your comb as this will cause pain to your dog."

⬤ SKIP THE SNIP:

"I do not advise clipping or scissoring your dog at home, as groomers are trained in the correct way to handle your dog safely while using dangerous sharp equipment. You can always use a child's hair clip or bobbin to tie back any hair that may be in the dog's eyes. Your dog's hair will be long - but they will be fine until professionally groomed again. If your dog suffers from tear staining, use a cotton pad in lukewarm water to clean the area. You can also use a small flea comb to remove any sleep or build up from this area. Walking your dog on concrete paths and roads will help to keep their nails down."

⬤ LATHER UP YOUR PUP:

"Bath your dog using dog-specific shampoo and conditioner. Humans have a different PH level to dogs, so I do not advise using regular shampoo on your pet as it can really dry out the skin. Most dog shampoos have a dilution rate. I like to mix a small amount of shampoo in a jug or mixing bottle with water and use a loofah or sponge to get a good lather. Apply directly to the dry coat, then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water. Your dog will find this massage very relaxing too. It is so important to ensure that the coat is rinsed clean, with no residue remaining, and never get any shampoo in the eyes."

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⬤ DRY AS A BONE:

"After bathtime you must really brush the coat out to prevent matting. Mist the coat with conditioning spray before and during drying to prevent heat damage, and always use a low, cool heat to prevent burning your dog's skin. Once dry, run your brush and comb through the coat once more to ensure it is tangle-free. To help keep your pet smelling fresh, use a dog friendly cologne, perfume or deodoriser. My favourite is Plush Puppy's Odour Muncher, as it neutralises odours and kills odour-causing bacteria instantly. It can also be used on bedding or anywhere around the home that your dog may have left an undesirable scent!"

⬤ See rivendellkennels.com

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