Maintenance; our cars need it, our houses need it, our bodies need it and so do our dogs.  Maintenance is the little things we do to help avoid the big problems from popping up.  I know the whole idea of cleaning teeth; trimming nails and looking into those gross ears is a little overwhelming for some, but it should be done none the less.   Every couple of weeks I give my guys a good once over; I comb their hair and feel every inch of their body.  If there is something new on them I want to know about it.  I do nails about every two weeks; scrape teeth every month or so and pluck ear hair every couple of months. 

Not all dogs need hair plucked from their ear; but they all need to be cleaned.  Even my little Jack Russell get's a build up of dirt and gunk in there so they need to be cleaned.  Sure you may take your dog to the vet and the groomer but they could still use more a going over now and again.   Ears get dirty and they need to be cleaned out every so often.  Caution:  never clean or put tools further down the ear than you can see.  For dogs that have hairy ears inside they often need a plucking.   Poodles are notorious for hair growth inside their ear so I remove just enough so that the air can get in there.  Take out too much or pluck them bald and you can open up the ear for infection. I use a hemostat for this job; but you must be careful not to pinch the skin with them.

Yesterday my guys had RAW bones in the morning; a great way to clean teeth and a scraping in the afternoon.  None of the dogs are keen on maintenance but they put up with it.  Jessie probably hates it all the most; she tends to struggle a lot and grunt.  She finally gives up and just lets me do whatever I need to do.  Yesterday as I was scraping Jessie's teeth; I use an official dental scraping tool that gets the job done.  Jessie is tough because she has a big dog mouth in a little mouth.  Its very difficult to get those back molars but I got the job done yesterday.

Tilley tends to leave the scene when she sees that either teeth or ears are being done.  I found her out in the yard hiding after doing Luke's ears.  She does not stick around if she is next and high tails it.  Although when she is getting done she is just the best.  After ears it was nail time which I do with a dremel tool.  I use to use a clipper but Jessie started objecting as she got older.  With the dremel; I'm done all three dogs, 16 feet in less than 5 minutes.

Doing the little things helps to ensure that the big repairs won't arise.  It's just a few minutes out of the day and it can be a great time for bonding and trust building.