Taking care of your beloved four-legged friend goes beyond providing them with food and shelter. As a pet parent, it is your responsibility to ensure they are well groomed and look their best not only for camera-ready moments but to maintain their wellness too. While professional grooming is beneficial, it’s not always feasible or affordable for everyone, especially pet parents on a tight budget, hence, our post on dog grooming tips to use at home!
There are several grooming tasks you can do right from the comfort of your home. By learning some basic dog grooming tips, you can save money and enjoy quality time bonding with your pup. So whether you want to do a touch-up between trips to the groomer or take on full-time grooming duties, we’ve rounded up our top dog grooming tips for at-home care. So grab your grooming gear and prepare for a pawsome journey. It’s time to learn to groom, giggle, and get grooming!
1. Train your dog to enjoy grooming at an early age
The earlier you teach your dog to accept and enjoy grooming, the easier it will be for both of you because your pup will be used to the routine. You can achieve this by introducing the grooming tools, such as brushes, combs, clippers, and trimmers, without actually using them. Let them sniff and investigate the tools, rewarding them with treats, praise, and gentle handling for showing curiosity and calm behavior.
Next, gently touch your dog with the tools, starting with areas they are comfortable being touched, such as their back or shoulders. Gradually progress to areas that may be more sensitive, like their paws or ears, always rewarding them for their cooperation.
Remember to be patient and understanding with your dog. If they show signs of discomfort or resistance, take a step back and proceed at a pace that is comfortable for them. By starting grooming at an early age and making it a positive and rewarding experience, you are setting the foundation for a lifetime of stress-free grooming sessions. Your dog will come to associate grooming with love, attention, and treats, making it a bonding activity for both of you.
2. Invest in the right grooming tools
Different dogs have different grooming needs. Having the right tools is essential for achieving the best results and ensuring your dog’s comfort. For these and many other reasons, invest in tools that are suitable for your dog’s breed, coat type, and size. Some key tools you may need include:
- Brushes and combs
- Nail clippers
- Clippers and trimmers
- Non-slip grooming mat/table
- Ear cleaning solutions
- Dog shampoo and conditioner
- Drying supplies such as a microfiber towel, speed dryer, etc
- Dog cologne
- Toothbrush and tooth
- Cotton balls or swabs
- Eye wipes
Consult with a professional groomer or veterinarian if you’re unsure about which tools to choose because not all of them are suitable for every breed and coat type. (Related reading: How to Become a Dog Groomer in Texas)
3. Bathe your dog when necessary
Regular bathing is important for maintaining your dog’s cleanliness and overall hygiene. However, the frequency of bathing depends on factors such as your dog’s breed, activity level, and skin condition. Overbathing can strip their coat of natural oils, leading to dry skin and potential skin issues. Some dogs may only need baths every few months, while others may require more frequent baths due to their lifestyle or specific needs.
Before bathing, thoroughly brush your dog’s coat to remove any loose hair or tangles. Use lukewarm water to wet your dog’s coat and then apply the appropriate amount of dog shampoo, following the instructions on the bottle. Gently massage the shampoo into their coat, avoiding sensitive areas like eyes and ears. Rinse your dog thoroughly to remove all traces of shampoo.
Use a microfiber towel to gently dry your dog, absorbing as much moisture as possible. If your dog tolerates it, you can also use a blow dryer in a low-heat setting, keeping it at a safe distance to prevent discomfort or overheating. Ensure that your dog is completely dry before letting them outside or exposing them to cold drafts.
4. Brush regularly
Brushing helps distribute natural oils throughout your dog’s coat, which helps keep their fur healthy, shiny, and free from mats or tangles. It also stimulates the skin and promotes good blood circulation, which is beneficial for their overall coat health. The frequency of brushing depends on your dog’s breed, coat length, and shedding patterns.
Dogs with double coats or heavy shedding breeds (like German and Australian Shepherds, Pomeranians, and Siberian Huskies) often require more frequent brushing to help manage shedding. Regular brushing helps remove loose hair and reduces the amount of fur your dog sheds around your home, making it more manageable for both you and your pup. Regular brushing helps prevent mats from forming by removing any tangles or knots before they become more problematic. This is especially important for dogs with long or curly hair.
Slicker brushes work well for removing loose hair and tangles in long-haired breeds, while bristle brushes are suitable for short-haired dogs. Start by brushing in the direction of hair growth, using gentle and slow strokes to avoid any discomfort.
If your dog has mats or tangles, use a detangling spray or conditioner to help loosen them before carefully and patiently working through the area with a comb or brush. Be gentle to avoid causing any discomfort or pulling on your dog’s skin.
5. Trim your dog’s hair – but use caution
For breeds that require regular haircuts or have hair that continuously grows, clipping helps maintain a manageable coat length and keeps your dog looking neat and stylish. Avoid using sharp instruments on unpredictable dogs. We do not recommend pet parents do the clipping unless it is absolutely necessary. Only use scissors with rounded tips to prevent injuries or look for clippers that are suitable for your dog’s coat type, have adjustable blade settings, and provide a quiet and comfortable operation. Quality clippers ensure safety, efficiency, and a more comfortable grooming experience for your dog.
Pay extra attention and exercise caution when clipping around sensitive areas such as the ears, paws, and tail. Use scissors or trimmers for more precise work in these areas, ensuring you maintain a safe distance from the skin to prevent accidental cuts or injuries. (Related reading: How to Trim Your Dogs Privates)
6 Check for fleas, ticks, or other parasites
Take the time to carefully inspect your dog’s coat, especially after outdoor activities or walks in areas with tall grass, woods, or other environments where parasites may thrive. Look for signs of fleas, such as small dark specks (flea dirt) or excessive scratching. Ticks may appear as small, dark bumps attached to the skin. Other parasites, like mites, may cause redness, scabs, or hair loss. These pesky critters can cause discomfort, transmit diseases, and adversely affect your dog’s overall health.
- Inspect your dog’s coat
- If you notice anything unusual, consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Use preventive measures
- Safely remove ticks
- Treat infestations
- Maintain a clean environment
7. Nail trim carefully
Overgrown nails can cause discomfort, affect their gait, and potentially lead to injuries. When trimming your dog’s nails, hold their paw gently but securely. Use steady pressure to make a clean cut, avoiding sudden movements that may startle your dog. The goal is to trim the nails to an appropriate length without cutting into the quick, which is the sensitive blood vessel inside the nail. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and trim less at a time.
8. Clean your dog’s ears regularly
Ear cleaning helps prevent the buildup of dirt, wax, and moisture, which can lead to infections and discomfort. Before cleaning, take a moment to observe your dog’s ears for any signs of redness, swelling, discharge, or an odd smell. If you notice any abnormalities or your dog shows signs of ear discomfort, such as frequent scratching or head shaking, take them to a vet for a checkup. But if the ears seem healthy, you can probably clean them at home
To clean them, gently lift the ear flap and hold it in one hand. Apply a few drops of the cleaning solution to the cotton ball and gently wipe away the dirt and wax from the inside of your dog’s ear, making sure not to push it in too far. Remember, while regular ear cleaning is important, excessive cleaning can disrupt the natural balance of the ear and lead to irritation.
9. Brush those teeth daily or every other day (depending on the breed)
Get a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste and establish a regular teeth-brushing routine. Aim for a minimum of at least three times a week. This helps prevent dental issues like plaque buildup, gum disease, and bad breath. Start slowly and gently, allowing your dog to get used to the process. Some dogs may resist at first but be persistent and patient until they become comfortable with it.
Some breeds are prone to bad teeth. It’s important to have your dog’s teeth checked periodically. Too much negligence of bad teeth can result in rotten teeth, bad breath, and if the teeth are not maintained, infection. An infection from poor hygiene finds its way through to the organs which can lead to a premature death. BRUSH THOSE TEETH!
10. Pay attention to your dog’s eye care
While grooming, take a closer look at its eyes. Eye infections can be a source of great suffering for dogs, so it’s important to stay on top of your dog’s eye care routine. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your dog to a vet:
- Redness or swelling
- Discharge from the eye
- Excessive blinking or squinting
- Rubbing of the eyes
- Cloudy or opaque pupil
- Decreased vision or sensitivity to light.
With these ten dog grooming tips, you can confidently groom your canine companion at home. We hope they have been helpful and that you and your furry friend are now ready for a safe, healthy, and comfortable grooming experience.