All registered dog breeders or pet owners are familiar with the glamorous dogs that you can see at dog shows and competitions.
From Afghan Hounds to Poodles, these pups come out looking their best with haircuts that seem to have taken hours to accomplish. However, most owners simply want their family dog to look neat and tidy, which isn’t actually very difficult to do.
Learning how to groom your dog at home can be a great way to save money and bond with your pet. Grooming is an important part of any dog’s health, but many owners are intimidated by the process. Here’s how to groom your pooch at home without a professional.
Have Your Supplies Ready
Before beginning your grooming session, make sure you have everything you need on hand. The supplies will vary depending on the type of coat your dog has and what kind of grooming you plan to do.
If you’re unsure about what tools or products you should use, consider consulting a professional groomer or veterinarian for advice. Generally speaking, here are some items that may be useful:
- Shampoo and conditioner made specifically for dogs
- A slicker brush or comb for removing tangles and debris
- Clippers or scissors for trimming fur
- Nail clippers and/or nail grinder
- Cotton balls for cleaning around the eyes
- Ear cleaning solution
- Toothbrush and toothpaste made specifically for dogs
Brushing Your Dog’s Coat and Removing Tangles
Before starting any other grooming tasks, it’s important to brush your dog’s coat thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated since their last brushing.
Use a slicker brush or comb to gently detangle any knots in their fur. Work slowly so as not to cause discomfort. If necessary, apply a small amount of conditioner to help ease the process along.
Be sure to pay extra attention around sensitive areas such as the neck, armpits, stomach, genitals and leg joints where mats are more likely to form.
Depending on the breed of your dog, they may require daily brushing sessions. Consult your vet or groomer regarding what schedule is best for your dog’s coat type. In general, the longer your dog’s hair, the more often you’ll have to brush them.
Trimming Fur With Clippers or Scissors
Most dogs don’t need frequent haircuts. In fact, some breeds never need to be trimmed at all! Before trying this step yourself at home, consult with a professional groomer about what style is best suited for your dog’s breed and their lifestyle.
Dogs that are primarily house pets can have more elaborate cuts, while most working dogs will have a rough and ready type of hairdo.
If it’s safe to do so (and if desired), use clippers or scissors designed specifically for dogs to trim away excess fur, making sure not to cut too close against the skin. If using clippers, be sure they are sharp enough so as not to pull the hair; dull blades can cause discomfort and even damage the skin if pressed too hard against it while cutting through hair.
Cleaning Your Dog’s Eyes & Ears
Use damp cotton balls dipped in warm water (not hot!) to carefully wipe away any dirt or debris from around your pup’s eyes without scrubbing too hard.
Take care, as this area is very sensitive! Also check their ears weekly for signs of irritation such as redness or discharge which could indicate infection; if you see or smell anything strange, seek medical attention right away.
You may also use an ear cleaning solution specific for pets (following instructions on package) no more than once per month unless otherwise instructed by your veterinarian; this will help keep wax buildup under control.
Trimming Your Dog’s Nails and Brushing Teeth
Another important part of grooming is keeping nails trimmed short. Long nails can break easily when walking outdoors which causes pain, in addition to being unsightly.
Use either nail clippers or a nail grinder designed specifically for dogs, both of which are available at most pet stores. It’s best not to cut too close so you don’t hit the quick (the sensitive area with blood vessels inside the dog’s nail).
If you do hit it by accident, it will cause bleeding which can be stopped by applying pressure with cotton balls soaked in styptic powder.
When brushing your dog’s teeth, frequent sessions are more effective than one long session every so often. Brush in gentle circular motions, paying special attention to molars and back teeth where plaque build up tends to occur quickly.
Bathing Your Dog At Home
Bathing should only take place when necessary, as it strips natural oils from the dog’s skin. This can lead to dry, irritated patches forming over time. However, certain medical conditions such as allergies or dermatitis may require regular baths, if prescribed by a veterinarian.
When you’re ready to give your dog a bath, fill a sink or tub with lukewarm water. Soak your dog, making sure to get their entire coat wet down to the skin. Use a shampoo made specifically for dogs, being careful to avoid getting any suds into their eyes, ears or nostrils. Rinse your dog off with water until there’s no shampoo residue left, which can dry out their skin and cause itching.
Most dogs will need to be towel-dried at the very least, while dogs with longer coats may need a blow dryer as well. When using a blow dryer, use the lowest heat setting possible until your dog is completely dry. Brush your dog out one final time and they’ll be all done!
Final Tips and Advice
By following these easy tips, you’ll soon become an expert in grooming your dog at home. Remember that patience is key when grooming any animal – never rush through the process even if your dog seems restless!
Take breaks in between sessions if needed so both you and your dog don’t get stressed out too much. Always reward your dog afterwards so they associate grooming time with positive feelings.
Not only will doing this yourself save you time and money, but it also provides important bonding time between you and your pet – and that’s truly priceless.