Basic Care of your pet, from nails, to bathes, to grooming, and everything in between!
Basic Care Tips
There are some things you should do just about everyday with your puppy, just to keep a close eye on their health and well being. As well as developing a great relationship between you and your puppy, you will also be able to notice if something goes wrong almost immediately - and can start treating or helping your puppy feel better that much quicker. Problems in any puppy / dog are always easier (and cheaper) to handle if you watch for early "warning signs" - before complications set in.
A daily routine is also good for early basic training. It should also be kept short so it stays fun for the puppy and is a HAPPY/FUN time and not something the puppy learns to dread. Ten minutes daily is better than an hour once a week. Don't forget, puppies have very short attention spans.
Eyes: Signs of eye problems are winking or squinting or excessive buildup in the corners. If you think that it is just sand or grit use a plain saline solution to wash them out. If the problem persists or the discharge changes color, have your vet check them out. Eye problems left to linger too long can lead to infections; ulcers or worse yet, eye sight loss.
Skin / Coat: Visual contact is probably the best method to see any signs of problems. Iowa weather is usually humid and it is not common to see white flakes on the dogs skin in our region. A moisturizing shampoo can be used however excessive bathing can also dry out your dogs coat which can lead to scratching and sore spots. You should also wash out the puppy's / dog's wrinkles on his face often. Trapped moisture in the folds can lead to sores and infection - not to mention a really bad smell. Keeping the folds dry and clean will also make him a lot more comfortable. A grooming mitt or soft bristle brush should be used on the dog's coat daily. It helps keep the shedding down and helps the circulation around the hair follicles - not to mention it just feels good.
All puppies/dogs love the human contact as well. Short-coated breeds need just as much grooming as long coated. It just takes less time on shorthaired. Frequent short grooming sessions also help your puppy to learn to stand still and tolerate you poking and prodding at them. It will also make it that much easier when it is time for a vet check. It makes for a well-mannered dog.
Nails: The joy of nail trimming. Breeders will show you how to cut the nail without hurting the puppy. The more you handle a puppy's paw, the easier it will be to cut the nails. Pick up the puppy's paw and examine them, tap them with nail clippers or grinder even if you don't intend on using it. This will help them get use to their feet being handled. On white nails (or clear) it is easy to see the "quick". This is the vein that runs from the top of the nail. If you cut the quick, the nail will bleed and they puppy will probably yip in pain/surprise. You want to cut just below the quick. If you do nick it, you can buy a commercial blood clot called "Quick Stop" or you can use a homemade recipe of cornstarch and water. Mix water with cornstarch until you have formed a paste. Dab it on the end of the nail and hold it there for about a minute. The bleeding will stop. If you are uncomfortable with cutting the nails (for instance they have dark nail and you have no idea where the quick is) your vet can do it or you can take the dog to a grooming shop or some pet stores will provide this service also.
Bathing: Like I mentioned above excessive bathing in a dry climate can damage your dog's coat. It can also make them itchy. If you do have to bathe, find a moisturizing dog shampoo or use Baby shampoo. (Baby shampoo is a lot cheaper and is very mild on the coat - and lasts longer). If your dog is shedding a lot another trick you can do is put them in tub, shampoo them, rinse it out and soak fleecy into their coat. Leave it on for about 5 minutes and rinse it off. Fleecy is very mild and it helps to soften the dead hairs. The hair will just come off. Works like a charm. This is a secret that grooming shops don't want the general public to know.
With all the above grooming/maintance, your pet will look and feel its best, which then in return makes you happy!