Whether you take your pooch to a grooming pro or DIY is more your style, here are some tips on how to keep your best friend happy and healthy.

1. Bathing. Do not wash your dog more than once a week, as too many baths can dry out their skin. Use shampoo and conditioner made especially for dogs. If your dog’s skin is often dry, itchy or flaky, talk to your vet about possible causes.

2. Brushing. Most dogs shed. Regular brushing helps ensure fur does not end up on your furniture, carpet and clothes.

3. Ear and eye care. Clean your dog’s ears monthly — more if they love to swim. Start by grooming around their ears. If there is fur in the ear canal and it seems to attract gunk, ask a groomer to trim it down. Then use an ear cleaner to flush out your pet’s ears. Ask a groomer or vet what kind of ear cleaner is best.

A lot of dogs get goo in their eyes and may benefit from daily “de-gunking.” Take a soft, damp cloth, cotton ball or tissue and gently wipe the corners of your pup’s eyes. If the eye gunk is crusty, soak it for a moment so it is easier to remove.

4. Cleaning teeth. All dogs benefit from a daily tooth brushing. If you cannot handle this chore every day, at least once a week is better than nothing. Use toothpaste made for dogs. Apply it with a pet toothbrush, a kids’ toothbrush, a gauze pad or a cotton swab. Be sure to pay attention to the problem areas, like the back upper molars and canine teeth.

5. Flea control. Banish fleas not just from your dog, but from your other pets, your house, your car and your yard. For example, Sentry Flea, Tick and Mosquito Control is a safe and effective way to eliminate most pet pests. Take care when using any flea-killing product. Read the directions thoroughly and use these products only as directed.

Want to outsource some of this to a pro? Visit a PetSmart grooming professional in retail locations across Canada.