Are you a dog parent? Do you want to learn the tips and tricks for grooming a dog at home?
Using a professional groomer can be expensive, especially if you have a dog breed that requires frequent trims. Within this simple guide, we will share with you all the useful tips we have found for grooming a dog at home. This will help your dog stay healthy, happy, and good-looking!
What you need to consider when grooming a dog
The dog’s breed and where you live can greatly affect his grooming needs. For example, Pugs and Shar Peis need their wrinkles cleaned regularly, while Basset Hounds need frequent ear cleaning. The breed of your furry friend can also dictate the types of products and tools to use for grooming a dog.
If you live in a city and take long walks, your dog will probably trim his nails on concrete. Otherwise, if you can hear your dog’s nails tapping on the floor, it’s time for a trim.
Where and when do you start?
Establish trust first and to get your dog feeling comfortable around you as soon as he becomes a part of your family. The dog needs to be okay with you touching even his ears, paws, and tail.
As for the grooming process itself, the first and simplest step is brushing the dog. The ASPCA advises owners to always brush the dog before giving it a bath.
Other than removing dirt, brushing also untangles hair in problem areas, removes excess hair, and helps spread the natural oils across the skin.
Tips for brushing/combing a dog
Short-haired dogs should be brushed at least once a week and every time prior to a bath. You can use rubber brushes, gloves, or soft bristle brushes.
Medium and long-haired dogs need frequent brushing and combing to prevent tangling and to keep the fur healthy. You should brush daily or every other day, using a steel comb, a pin brush, and a Furminator or another de-shedding tool.
Always brush and comb from head to tail, and from the top down. When you get to the belly, be more gentle, and don’t forget to brush the tail!
Trimming and clipping matted and tangled hair
After combing and brushing, if there are any mats you couldn’t untangle, you should cut them out.
This is also a good time for a little pre-bath trimming and clipping for long-haired dogs. You can use shears or scissors to trim the excess hair around the dog’s chest, feet pads, belly, or other areas.
When grooming a dog, make sure that he is calm and comfortable or restrained. Otherwise, all hell can break loose. You can accidentally hurt the dog, and he might bite you and run away.
Keep in mind that this is only pre-trimming. The actual haircut and trimming should take place when the dog is clean and completely dry!
Bathing the dog
You should always use appropriate dog shampoo and not human shampoo. Otherwise, the dog can get skin reactions or allergies.
If your dog doesn’t like bath time, try to stay calm and encourage your pet. Also, try to make the process less stressful by including his favorite toy in the routine.
Once you’re ready, set the water temperature. It shouldn’t be too hot nor too cold. Put a rubber mat in the tub to prevent slipping. You can even bathe large dogs outside, using a garden hose.
Water must never enter your dog’s ears. Place some cotton balls in your dog’s ears prior to the bath. It’s also important that the shampoo doesn’t get in the dog’s eyes. The safest way to bypass this is to only wash the dog from the neck down and use a piece of cloth to clean his head.
Soak the dog well before applying the shampoo. Then, pour the shampoo into your hands and thoroughly massage it in. Finally, rinse thoroughly using a hand-held shower head if possible.
To dry the dog, use a large towel first, and if necessary, a blow dryer. Use very low heat or no heat setting so you don’t burn your dog.
Cleaning the ears
If there’s any redness, smell, or other suspicious signs in or around your dog’s ears, you need to see a vet. These could be signs of an infection. Grooming a dog regularly helps prevent this.
Only clean what you can see and don’t use any long tools for deep cleaning. Instead, get some ear solution, pour it into the dog’s ears and massage at the base of the ear. This will help remove excess wax and dirt.
Trimming the nails
This is perhaps the most dreaded task when grooming a dog. If you don’t cut the nails, they can cause joint pain. If you accidentally cut too much, you can hurt and traumatize the dog.
Choose scissor clippers for large breeds, guillotine clippers for medium and small dogs, or go with the safest option – use grinder tools to avoid cutting too much.
Brushing the dog’s teeth
Brushing the teeth is an important part of grooming a dog. Unless you do this, tartar and plaque build-up can cause health problems by the time your dog is four years old.
Always use dog toothpaste and not human toothpaste! The fluoride in our toothpaste is toxic to dogs.
You can clean the dog’s teeth using a brush, a piece of gauze, or another cloth and toothpaste. All those chewy treats and toys are a great addition to dental hygiene, but they are not enough.
Grooming a dog key takeaways
You should always consider your dog’s age, size, breed, and environment when determining the grooming needs. This will also be a factor when choosing the tools and products to use. Remember to always stay calm and to reward your dog for being a good sport.
Here’s an overview of our dog grooming tips: