Grooming is essential for every pet, even those with short hair or no hair at all. Sometimes grooming, however, is difficult for all concerned and often we just don’t know where to start. James Shore tells us, step by step, how to groom your dog…
The key to keeping your dog looking (and smelling!) clean is regular grooming. While most dogs do not need to be washed very often, there are other steps to grooming them that should be done routinely to make sure that they are looking and feeling their best.
Despite popular belief, you don’t have to take your dog to a professional groomer. While it can be useful to take them there one or two times a year for a big grooming, it’s very easy to do a majority of your dog grooming yourself.
Not sure where to begin? Don’t worry. We’ve put together a cheat sheet on how to groom your dog to help you get started.
Before You Begin:
What you use to groom your dog matters! You’ll need a few different tools to be able to safely and effectively groom your pet.
- Sharp scissors
- Dog-friendly shampoo
- Nail file or clippers
- Blow dryer or warm towel
There are lots of specialty pet grooming items out there, but you don’t need to spend a fortune on supplies to be able to groom your dog at home. One good way to choose grooming equipment is to ask your dog’s current groomer what they recommend.
Step 1: Trimming Their Nails
If your dog is very active and plays on hard ground or concrete, they may naturally wear down their nails. Less active dogs will need their nails to be trimmed regularly so that they do not injure themselves. Long nails can make it hard for dogs to walk, and they can also get caught on things and the feet.
Trimming nails can seem very scary, but it’s actually an easy process. Using nail clippers designed for dogs, simply clip the hook-like part of the nail that is turning down. You should not clip any more than this, as you could cut a blood vessel and cause your dog pain.
Many dogs do not like having their nails trimmed, so you should start this process early to make sure that they get used to it.
Step 2: Brushing Their Coat
You always want to brush your dog’s coat before you bathe them, particularly if they have long hair. Gently brush their coat with a good brush. Regular brushing helps prevent dandruff, improves blood circulation, and controls shedding. Most dogs should be brushed at least three times weekly.
Choose the right kind of brush for your dog’s breed. If your dog has long hair and that mats, you will want to slow down and use a dematter to remove the tangles.
Step 3: Clean Their Ears & Teeth
Another important part of grooming is cleaning your dog’s ear, and this should actually be done at least one time per week.
All you have to do put a tiny bit of mineral oil on a paper towel. Use this paper towel to gently wipe the inside of their ear. This will clean up any debris buildup and also help to get rid of excess ear wax that could build up and cause problems for your dog.
It’s also important to learn how to properly brush your dog’s teeth at least once per week!
Step 4: Bathing Your Dog
Generally speaking, dogs should not be bathed too frequently. You can strip away their coats natural oils if you wash them too much, so you should only wash your dog when they are dirty or every 3-6 months.
Bathing your dog is simple:
- Purchase a mild dog shampoo.
- Have dog stand in a tub or a basin.
- Put cotton balls in his ears to keep water out.
- Wet dog with warm water.
- Apply shampoo to back of neck and lather to scrub him clean.
- Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Make sure to rinse all shampoo away.
- Rub dry with a towel; blow-dry as needed.
- Brush or comb your dog’s fur as needed after bathing.
Step 5: Dry & Trim!
Once your dog has been bathed, you can give them a trim. Using sharpened clippers, you will want to clip their fur very slowly by moving the clippers in the same direction as the fur is growing to keep the cut smooth.
Use sharp scissors to cut long hair in sensitive areas such as around the face, paws, and any areas where your dog may be injured.
If you aren’t sure what kind of shape to cut your dog’s fur into, you may want to consider looking online or taking your dog for a professional breeding so you can become familiar with how you should cut their fur in the future.
Your Dog Deserves The Best
You already make sure that your dog is eating the best food, getting enough exercise, and living a great life. Why not also take control of their grooming?
When you’re the one doing your dog’s grooming, you’ll be able to keep an eye on their health more closely. It’s easy to save money by doing your dog’s grooming at home, and you actually might find that your dog’s coat and skin is better because of it. After all, you know your dog and their needs better than anyone else!
Do you groom your dog at home? What do you think about it?
James Shore is the owner of labradortraininghq.com and has been training dogs for over 15 years. He lives in New York with his black lab, Max.