Caring for and grooming your dog can be daunting. This is especially true if you have a nervous or excitable dog. Here are 6 tips for at-home dog grooming.
Every dog has different grooming needs. My dog Buddy needed a regular bath and a brushing, and a nail trim once every week or so.
Almost all dogs will need to be bathed, brushed, and have their nails trimmed. So here are my top 8 tips for keeping your pooch happy, healthy, and well-groomed!
1. Treats, treats, and more treats!
Grooming should be a relaxing time for you and your pet. It’s a pawsome time to bond. By infusing a little fun and using treats before, during, and after grooming, you will help your pet see that getting spiffed up can be enjoyable!
At the beginning, focus on one task at a time to keep grooming sessions short. Stay calm, give lots of positive reinforcement, and keep your dog as unrestrained as safely as possible. Buddy used to hate getting his nails cut. Oh, the crying and flailing. But by using some high-value treats, and giving a treat for each nail, nail trimming time became quick and easy.
2. Know your dog’s coat type and the appropriate grooming approach.
Did you know not all dogs should have their hair or fur cut? It’s true. Huskies, mastiffs, Labradors, German shepherds, border collies, and malamutes have coats that don’t need to be cut as regular dog grooming maintenance.
Double-coated dogs tend to need more brushing. No matter the dog breed, you’ll want to stay on top of brushing, especially during the shedding season.
If you have questions about your dog’s coat, consult a groomer to discuss how to care for your pup’s fur best.
3. Get the right tools
Think of everything you personally use for basic hygiene and grooming. I use shampoo, conditions, face wash, a brush, and toothpaste, to name a few.
You will need hygiene products and dog-friendly tools like pet shampoo, pet conditioner, face wash, nail clippers, doggy bathtub, ear cleaner, doggy toothbrush, and toothpaste. I used to use a knobby scrubber on Buddy that he loved. The only part of a bath he loved more was the towel drying part.
Remember, keep it simple and fun! No need to stress yourself and Fido out with nail clipping and more advanced stuff like shearing and cutting. It might be best to leave that to the pros.
4. Brush your dog regularly.
Even if you aren’t bathing Fido, it’s important to maintain their fur or hair. I’ve seen dogs so matted that they required anesthesia and a vet to groom them.
Brushing regularly has many benefits, such as removing dirt, helping with excess hair, detangling, preventing matting, and keeping the coat and skin healthy. Brushing can make less work for you too. You’ll spend less time vacuuming, lint rolling, swiffering, and picking up hairballs around the house.
5. Use Dog-friendly products only
Your pet’s skin has a different pH than yours. That’s why it’s best to use dog-safe products only, including shampoo, conditioner, and any other product. Dog skin can become inflamed, itchy, or dried out] if you use human shampoo.
There are plenty of dog-approved products on the market. Talk to your vet for suggestions, especially if you need to deal with anything like itchiness, skin conditions, sensitivities, or allergies.
6. Your dog’s nails need to be trimmed regularly.
The stroll around the neighborhood on cement is almost always insufficient to keep your dog’s nails at a good length. Dogs whose nails are too long can have a lot of problems like difficulty walking on wood floors, splitting nails, limping, or even infections.
If your pooch’s nails are clicking on hard surfaces or making your dog look like they’re tip-toeing, it’s time for a nail trim.
It’s possible to cut your dog’s nails too short and get into an area of the nail called the quick. Just like we can bleed or cause infection if we cut ours wrong or too short, we can do that to our dogs.
If you’re feeling uncertain, ask your vet or a groomer to show you how to do it at home.
When to hire a professional…
Not every dog is excellent with at-home grooming and not every dog parent is great (or has the time) to groom their pet.
Here are some reasons you’ll want to seek out professional grooming services:
- Cleaning anal glands
- Removing fleas or ticks
- When your pup is matted and needs professional help
- If your dog is super-stressed getting their nails trimmed, ears cleaned, etc.
- Your dog has hair that needs special upkeep
- You’ve fallen behind on at-home brushing and need professional help
- You don’t have time, energy, or space at home to groom Fido properly
- You don’t have or can’t find the proper tools and equipment
- You want the help of an expert who may be able to spot any abnormalities like rashes, lumps, or signs of parasites
Looking for a groomer? I love Amy at A&G Grooming at www.agpetgrooming.com. Amy has tons of experience and training and is a certified fear-free groomer.