Here are some common grooming supplies that you should keep close for your pet.

Ear Cleaner

Be sure to use cleaners that are specifically made for your dog or cat’s ears. Do not use alcohol, which can dry and irritate the delicate skin inside the ear, or mineral oil, which can create a greasy mess in your pet’s hair.

Ear Powder

This is a chalky white resin that is only used on breeds that need to have hair plucked out of their ears due to overgrowth or recurrent ear infections. It aids grip and makes the hair brittle and easier to grasp, making the process easier and less painful to the dog.

Antiseptic Coagulant

If you cut a nail too short and cut into the quick, it will bleed. The “quick” is simply the vein and nerves inside the nail. Although it may seem to be a lot of blood, applying an antiseptic coagulant such as “Kwik-Stop”, or silver nitrate can promptly stop it. Have this on hand before you start cutting, just in case. Unlike flour, cornstarch or tissue, an antiseptic coagulant will stop the bleeding immediately and prevent infection in the nail, which is now an open wound.

Shampoo & Conditioner

Never use human shampoo or conditioner on your dog. It is not pH balanced for your dog and may cause irritation and dry, flaky skin. Have you heard the old wives tale that bathing your dog too often can “strip the natural oils” or “dry out his skin”? Before the formulation of products specifically pH balanced for a dog’s skin, this was true. Now, high-quality and properly balanced shampoos can safely be used as often as you would like to keep your dog smelling and feeling clean and fresh. The number of different shampoos & conditioners available to the consumer today is advantageous, but how do you select the one that is right for your individual dog? First, understand that the right shampoo or conditioner is based on each dog’s skin or coat, not its breed. There is no shampoo specifically for poodles, for example. Be careful to follow the dilution guide on the label, for two reasons. Firstly, it can save you significant money, as you will have to buy fewer products. Secondly, some products should be diluted up to 16:1, meaning 16 parts water to 1 part shampoo or conditioner. Even the mildest product can be irritating at a strong concentration.

By determining the condition of your dog’s skin and coat, you can select the right shampoo and conditioner. If your dog’s skin is normal with no history of problems, you can’t go wrong with most of the regular products available.

In addition to “regular” shampoo products which do not have any special additives or properties, there are many other types available, some of which are:

Whitening – Usually blue in the bottle, a shampoo that claims to whiten or brighten a coat is good on both white and light colored dogs. To be most effective, it should be left on for several minutes.

Dark Coat – Shampoos formulated for black or dark coats is also designed to brighten and bring out the sheen. Like whiteners, it should be left on for several minutes for the best effect.

Puppy – Shampoos and conditioners made for puppies are designed to be gentle and nonirritating. Since youngsters can be sensitive, it’s a good idea to use puppy products until a dog grows his adult coat. Puppy shampoos are also tearless, as most dog products should be.

Medicated – Medicated shampoos are designed to treat a variety of skin conditions. With the exception of tar & sulfur shampoos that are used to treat dry, itchy skin and seborrhea, most medicated shampoos are used under the direction of a veterinarian. Please note these shampoos are specific to their purpose, and generally do not do a very good job of cleaning your pet’s skin and hair.

Moisturizing – These products are formulated to aid dogs with flaking skin and itching due to dryness. Oatmeal shampoos and conditioners are excellent for dry itchy skin.

Natural – “Natural” shampoos and conditioners are popular and often contain ingredients such as pennyroyal, comfrey, tea tree oil, or citrus. Citrus is particularly good on greasy coats, but can be irritating to skin.

Hypoallergenic – For dogs with highly sensitive skin, or known allergies, hypoallergenic shampoo and conditioner is recommended. They don’t contain potential irritants such as fragrances or dyes.

Deodorizing – There are two types of deodorizing shampoos, those that are scented and those that contain odor-neutralizing ingredients such as enzymes. There are specific shampoos for skunk oil. If your dog has been “skunked”, understand that tomato juice does not remove the scent and will only succeed in turning any white dogs pink!

Flea & Tick – Insecticidal shampoos are designed to kill fleas and ticks. Read the label carefully to ensure the product will kill the particular pest you are dealing with. Lice can be killed with commercial lice shampoo from any pharmacy. These shampoos are designed to kill pests, and generally do not do a good job of getting a dog clean. Do not bathe too often with these shampoos, as they are harsh on the dog’s skin. Don’t forget to purchase a room and furniture spray at the same time, as your dog will only become re-infested if these areas are not cleaned too. (Don’t forget to do the inside of the car, if the dog has been in there!)