Dog grooming isn’t just for fancy show dogs. It’s something that all dogs need. Baths, haircuts, and nail trimmings help keep dogs healthy and happy. The good news is that you don’t need to visit a dog grooming salon or be a professional groomer to beautify your pup. You can do it all yourself. Read below to learn how to groom a dog at home.
Why Dog Grooming Is Important
Dog grooming is about more than being the belle or beau of the dog park. It’s actually very important for your dog’s health and well-being.
Brushing your dog helps remove dead hair and dirt from their coat. Additionally, it releases the natural oils in your dog’s fur to keep a healthy sheen. Keep in mind that a dog’s coat is what keeps them warm in the cold months, so it’s important to keep it healthy and strong.1
Consistent grooming and bathing also facilitates regular check-ups. As you brush and bathe your dog, you can examine their body for any abnormalities or injuries. Be sure to report anything you find to your veterinarian.2
How To Groom Your Dog At Home
You can easily groom your canine at home with the right tools and a bit of patience. Check out the dog grooming tips below to get started. Before you know it, you’ll be your pooch’s very own professional groomer.
What Grooming Tools Do You Need?
Before you start that bath water, organize your dog grooming tools. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A high-quality dog shampoo
- A bathing area (the sink will work for a small dog, but probably not a big dog)
- Dog clippers for trimming fur
- Dog nail clippers for their paws
- Towels and a blow dryer to dry them off
- A slicker brush for removing loose hair, debris, and matted hair
- A dog hair brush for post-grooming brushing
- Plenty of treats
A Nose-To-Tail Cleaning Routine
Bathing is an important part of your dog grooming process. It cleans their hair and removes dirt and dead skin.
Make sure your dog is comfortable. Use warm, not hot, not cold water to get their fur wet, then add a mild dog shampoo. Scrub from the neck back. Then, rinse the shampoo, being careful to keep it out of their eyes.3
Your dog should have regular baths, but not too often. Bathing a dog too frequently can dry-out their fur by washing away the natural oils. Consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s breed to determine just how often to give them a bath.4
Dry Off Your Dog
Some dogs don’t like the smell of shampoos and will try to remove the scent by rolling in the dirt. You can help avoid this by drying your pooch off as soon as their bath is over. This can also help you stay dry, just in case they decide to give a big shake right after their bath. Throw a big towel over them and dry from their head down. You can also use a blow dryer on a cool setting to avoid irritating their skin.5
Brush Their Fur
Time to comb out that fur. Use a grooming table if you have one. If not, have your dog stand up so that you can brush their entire coat.
Run the brush through their fur to remove loose hairs. If you find mats or tangles, don’t pull them out. This can hurt your pooch. Instead, try using a slicker brush or a de-matting brush to work out those tough spots. You can use scissors to cut them out, but be extremely careful with the shears around your pup. If the mats are really bad, let a professional groomer handle them.6
Brush your dog’s hair regularly if not daily to keep their fur healthy and debris-free. Consult with your veterinarian to determine just how often you should brush.7
Make sure that your dog’s fur is dry and well-brushed before cutting their hair.
Use dog clippers designed for dogs. Human clippers have much smaller teeth in the blades. This can cause them to get caught in your dog’s hair and pull it out. Ouch.
As you cut, work your way down from the neck, being careful of sensitive areas. Check the blades often to make sure they are not overheating or getting jammed.8
Note: If you feel uncomfortable at all about using clippers on your dog, take them to professional groomers or dog trainers with lots of experience.
If everyone is still calm and relaxed at this point, then it might be a good time to trim your dog’s nails. But, if your pooch seems stressed, then wait. You can always come back to this step.
When clipping your dog’s nails, be delicate and careful. Don’t cut the ‘quick.’ This is the pink part of the nail that contains sensitive nerves and blood vessels. Cutting this may be painful and make your dog less likely to sit still.9 This is also a great time to check your dog’s paws for any cracked paw pads or swelling.
Trim nails regularly. Dogs with long nails can have trouble walking. Plus, they run the risk of getting their nails caught and broken off.10
Your dog did a great job and is all clean to prove it. Congratulate them for their patience and focus with a treat at the end of their grooming session.
How Often Should You Groom?
You have a solid grooming process in place now. So, how often should you groom your dog? That all depends. Dogs have unique hygienic needs based on their breed and lifestyle. Consult with your veterinarian to get more specific info on how often to groom your pup.
Your Dog Grooming Routine In Action
Dog grooming at home is a great way for you to help your dog feel their best and to ensure their health is top-notch. Most importantly, though, grooming your dog is a way for you to build trust and a stronger bond with your four-legged friend.
Hopefully, with a consistent and steady routine, your dog will feel comfortable and relaxed while you bathe and trim them. Before you know it, they might be bringing you the bottle of dog shampoo instead of their favorite toy.
Note: Consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about grooming your pet at home.