Dog Grooming 101: Yes, You Can Do It At Home!

Your canine companion brings you so much joy, and you want to do everything you can to provide your pooch with a happy and healthy life. For many dog breeds, that includes providing them with grooming at a professional salon. However, this last year has changed so much about how we live, including how we care for our pets. You may be reluctant to carry Fido to the groomer because you try to keep trips out in public at a minimum. You’ll be relieved to find that you can carry out a great deal of the grooming process in your own home. All you need is a little time and the right tools.

You likely bathe your dog at home; however, you may be reluctant to clip your dog or even trim her nails. However, there are products that make these chores easier for both you and your dog.

Dog Nail Clippers or Grinders

First, gather the tools you’ll need. You need to look into some type of nail clippers. This is one area that many pet parents are willing to leave to the vet or groomer to take care of, as pet parents are (rightly so) worried about clipping the nail too short, and possibly injuring their dog. If you are anxious about clipping your dog’s nails, then consider investing in a grinding tool that will help to keep your dog calm while keeping his nails at a healthy length. Good Pup Life can help guide you to the right option for your dog’s grooming needs.

Dog Brushes

Next, let’s talk about brushes. There are loads of dog brushes on the market, and the most important thing you’ll do is choose the right type of brush for your dog. For dogs with short, straight coats, a curry brush works well, and it makes your dog feel as if you’re giving him a massage. A bristle brush is great for dogs with medium coats, such as a Labrador Retriever or a German Shepherd. This slicker brush is one that has many rows of metal pins, and it works on any type of coat. Keep in mind, the slicker brush is recommended for dogs with wiry coats in particular. A grooming rake is great for dogs with double coats.

Dog Shampoo

Thirdly, let’s talk shampoo. Now, the market for dog shampoo is focused in many ways on being appealing to pet parents. Many of these shampoos are brightly colored and highly fragrant. Although this is very attractive to us pet parents, you should avoid these shampoos at all cost! These are NOT natural shampoos; they are loaded with chemicals and additives that can cause your pup to break out and itch in the very least. At the worst, your dog could develop hot spots, lose heir, or have an allergic reaction.

With that said, how should you choose an appropriate dog shampoo? First, look at the product itself. When you unscrew the cap and look at the shampoo, it should be a very light yellow color (if it has many colors at all). Pour a small amount in your hand. A truly natural shampoo should have the consistency of water. Then, put it through the smell test. If there is any smell to the shampoo at all, it will be very faint. Finally, look at the list of ingredients. If there are chemical-looking names on the list of ingredients, then put it back on the shelf and move on to something else. Remember, just because it is marketed as a “natural” shampoo, that isn’t necessarily so.

Dog Dental Care

You should also invest in a toothbrush and toothpaste for your dog; this should be done once or twice a week. This will help to prevent periodontal disease in your dog.

Deshedding Tool, Towel, Dog Hair Clipper, Wipes

Other important tools you might want to invest in: a deshedding tool (but only if your dog is prone to shedding, such as a German Shepherd), a dog drying towel (these are more absorbent than “people” towels), a dog hair clipper set, and grooming wipes (great for dogs that drool a lot, such as bulldog breeds).

How Often Should You Groom Your Dog?

How often you groom your dog is determined by the breed. You really shouldn’t bathe your dog more than once a month; of course, there will be times when a frisky, adventurous dog will take a good roll in a mud puddle, and you will need to bathe Fido for his health and your sanity. However, don’t make weekly bathing something regular, as you’ll strip the natural oils from Fido’s coat when you do. You can set up a routine in which you bathe your dog and clip his nails once a month.

Brushing your dog should be done weekly, no matter what breed she is. You can brush her hair and brush her teeth on a weekly routine.

Grooming wipes can be used as needed.

When it comes to clipping your dog, this will depend on the rate of growth of her hair. You may be able to clip her hair every other month, or every three months. If you choose to keep her hair clipped fairly short, you may end up clipping her each time you bathe her.

Are you concerned you might clip your dog’s hair too short? Your clipping kit will have guards that you can attach to the clipper. Start with one of the larger clippers. You can always re-clip longer hair; if you go for the shorter guards immediately, you’ll have to chalk it up to inexperience and wait for her hair to regrow.

How To Teach Your Dog To Love Grooming

Now, one thing you must do before creating a grooming routine at home is socializing her to the idea. This is especially important when using tools such as a nail grinder and a hair clipper. We aren’t typically bothered by the gentle hum of the clipper, but it can really scare your pup. You can help to prepare your fur baby for grooming by turning these machines on and letting your dog get acclimated to the sound. When you see that she is comfortable or not bothered by these noises, then take the clipper and rub it over her back and legs (not clipping, just touching her with the machine). Speak in calming tones as you do so. You may have to do this several times before your dog accepts the machines.

Grooming your dog at home is not difficult, and it can be a bonding experience for both of you! Socialize your dog to the process, and set up a routine for grooming.