Animals, People, & the Earth

How to Groom Your Dog at Home

Here are our tips and tricks on how to do a good job grooming your dog in the comfort of your own home.

These days it seems it can be nearly impossible to get a timely appointment with the dog groomer. Your dog’s hair may grow quite shaggy between appointments, leaving you wanting to take matters into your own hands. Or maybe you’re just the DIY type and you want to groom your dog yourself and bypass the groomer altogether. Either way, you’ll want some tips and tricks on how to do a good job grooming your dog’s hair and nails.

Make Grooming Fun

Some dogs get anxious when getting bathed and groomed and this leads to uncooperative – and possibly dangerous – behavior. Before you even attempt to begin grooming your dog, make sure that she likes the space you’re in and she trusts you not to hurt her. Let her see and sniff all your tools ahead of time so that she’s familiar with everything before you try to touch her with them. Give her lots of treats and praise to ensure that she’s comfortable and cooperative.

Use the Right Tools

Different dog breeds have different hair types that require different types of brushes and/or combs. Make sure that you’re using the right brush on your dog to avoid irritating their skin or getting the brush tangled in long hair. When it comes to nail care, you’ll need clippers or grinders. The choice is yours depending on preference, but either way be sure to get professional-grade nail tools and make sure they are sharp. Dull clippers can hurt your dog and make it so that she won’t ever let you touch her nails again.

Be Consistent

Bathing and grooming your dog regularly will make it more pleasant to bathe and groom her each time. Not only will she be used to and comfortable with the process, but her hair and nails won’t be as dirty and long so the whole grooming process will be shorter and easier. Regular brushing keeps tangles and shedding at bay and keeping nails short prevents injury and the complications with walking that can come from long nails. Monthly (or more frequently if necessary) baths help reduce odors and keep skin conditioned.

Short hair breeds won’t need as frequent brushing as long hair breeds, but it can still be good for your dog’s skin to be gently brushed once a week. Long hair breeds may need to be brushed and combed as often as once or twice each day to keep their hair from getting knotted up. Brushing also can make your dog feel good and relaxed, like getting a massage, and it can increase your bond.

If your dog can’t walk on a hard surface without making a bunch of noise, chances are her nails are too long. Try to cut them regularly so that they won’t click on the floor when she walks. When clipping, watch for the quick. The quick is pink and is near the center of the nail. There are nerves and blood vessels there that, if nicked, will bleed and hurt.

Bathe your dog with dog shampoo only and be sure to completely rinse out the shampoo to avoid irritating your dog’s skin.

Don’t Forget the Teeth

Just like human teeth, dog teeth will decay, and dog’s will suffer gum disease if their teeth are not brushed regularly. Make sure to brush your dog’s teeth every day or give them teeth cleaning treats to help brush the plaque off their teeth. You’ll also want to see your veterinarian for regular dental check-ups and cleanings as well.

Grooming your dog at home can be easy and fun. Make your dog comfortable and give her lots of treats and praise to make the process go smoothly and you’ll have her looking her best.

little dog in field of purple wildflowers
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