How to Groom Your Dog at Home
Grooming your doggo is an essential part of pet ownership. Did you know that most professional dog groomers will charge around $40 to $100 on average for each visit? While it may sometimes be necessary to take your dog to a professional groomer, many fluff parents choose to bathe and groom their dog at home to save on this expense.
Regular grooming helps to keep your furry friend looking their best, but it also promotes their overall health and well-being. This can be a bonding experience for both you and your floofy four-legged family member when done correctly. Here are some dog grooming tips at home that you can use today!
How to Groom Your Dog at Home: Prep and Equipment
Before you begin taking on this chore, make sure you have all the essential tools ready. This includes:
- A good quality brush or comb suitable for your dog's coat type.
- Dog-specific shampoo and conditioner.
- Nail clippers or a grinder.
- Ear cleaning solution and cotton balls.
- Towels and a hairdryer (in a cool setting).
- Dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste.
It's essential to understand your dog's specific coat type to provide the best care and grooming routine. Each coat type has its own set of challenges and requirements, so knowing what you're working with can make a big difference in your dog's overall health and appearance:
Short-haired (also known as smooth-coat) dogs have a very short coat that lies close to the body. Examples include the Dalmatian, Boxer, and Chihuahua (smooth coat variety). The best way to groom a dog with this hair type is to use a bristle brush. Bristle brushes are the preferred choice for short-haired dogs because the hairs are shorter and won't get stuck into the brush.
Medium-haired dogs with medium-length hair often have a denser coat that can be straight, wavy, or curly. Examples include the Golden Retriever, Border Collie, and Cocker Spaniel. The best way to groom a dog with this hair type is to use a slicker brush. Slicker brushes or pin brushes are the preferred brushes for this coat type.
Long-haired dogs have long, flowing hair that can easily become tangled or matted without regular grooming. Breeds like the Afghan Hound, Shih Tzu, and Yorkshire Terrier fall into this category. The best way to groom a dog with this hair type is to use a slicker brush. A slicker brush with a blow dryer is a popular choice for battling long-hair types.
Double-coat dogs have a soft, dense undercoat beneath a coarser outer coat. Breeds with double coats include the Siberian Husky, German Shepherd, and Samoyed. They typically shed their undercoats seasonally, which is often referred to as "blowing their coat." When these double-coated dogs begin blowing their coats in your home, it can quickly become a furry nightmare. The best way to groom a dog with this hair type is to use a slicker brush, a de-shedding tool, or a combination of the two.
Wire-haired (also known as rough-coat) dogs have coarse, wiry hair. Breeds like the Scottish Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier, and Brussels Griffon have this type of coat. If you have one of these friendly floofs, you’re in luck. These dogs require slightly less maintenance than others, and just about any brush is suitable for these coat types.
How to Groom Your Dog at Home: Regular Brushing
The first thing you’ll want to do before any grooming activity is to create a calm environment. If this is your first time grooming your dog at home, you’ll want to provide plenty of treats and begin encouraging your dog to think of any grooming activity as a positive and fun activity. Some pet owners even use calming sprays to help relax their dogs. Remember, the more relaxed your dog is, the easier the grooming process will be.
Regular brushing is a common method to keep your dog’s coat clean and shiny. Regular brushing will help remove any tangles, mats, loose fur, and other random debris that might be stuck in their coats. Remember that regular brushing promotes healthy skin and a shiny coat; it's best practice to brush your dog every day and not just before bathtime. Consider giving them a Bully Bunches bully stick or other natural chew to keep them occupied while you brush. This doubles as positive reinforcement for the hard part soon to come when dog grooming tips at home.
How to Groom Your Dog at Home: Bath Time
When giving your doggo a bath, be sure to draw a bath with lukewarm water. In a pinch, a shower will also work. When you begin washing your brave boy or girl, use a dog-specific shampoo and work the shampoo into a lather to lift the dirt, oils, and residue from their coat. Try to work from the top of the head to the neck, back, and down to the feet. Ensure you rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residues.
You’re likely to get wet and soapy during any dog grooming session, so be sure to dress appropriately. Additionally, your doggo may begin to bark or howl (also known as singing you the song of his or her people), depending on the breed. Ear muffs or plugs might help to drown out the singing if you have a husky or other vocal breed.
Once your floofer is nice and clean, towel dry and brace for plenty of wet-dog shakes. Remember to use lots of words of encouragement when using these dog grooming tips at home.
How to Groom Your Dog at Home: Cleaning the Ear Floofs
Ear cleaning is very similar to regular bathing. Try to clean your dog’s ears regularly to prevent wax build-ups. In some severe cases, these build-ups can lead to infections. Use a vet-recommended ear-cleaning solution with cotton balls or cotton pads. Avoid using Q-tips as they can push debris further into the ear canal or go too far in and harm your pet.
To clean your dog’s ears, start by saturating the cotton ball or pad with the ear-cleaning solution. Wipe the inside of the ear with the wet pad or ball. Check the used ball or pad for signs of infections, blood, or other unusual debris. For severe cases, you can try applying the solution directly into the ear and hold your dog’s head briefly to prevent the goodboy or girl from shaking it out prematurely. Allow the solution to saturate (about 30 to 60 seconds), and then wipe off the excess from inside the ear. Again, remember to use words of encouragement and treats when using these dog grooming tips at home.
How to Groom Your Dog at Home: Toe Bean Trimming
Regular nail trimming is essential for your dog's comfort and health. That is because a lack of regular nail care leads to an overgrown quick. A dog’s quick is a blood and nerve vessel that grows with the nail. As the nail lengthens, so does the quick. Many pet owners become weary of nail trimming because the quick is very easy to cut and causes bleeding and pain to your poor pupper.
The easiest way to safely trim your dog's nails is to trim 3 millimeters from the quick. You can identify if you’re getting close if you see any pink coloring in or around the nail. Leaving that space from the end of the nail will avoid causing your dog pain. If your dog has dark nails, you may not be able to see them quickly. If you're unsure about how to properly trim your dog's nails, using a professional groomer might be the best option.
How to Groom Your Dog at Home: Brushing the Teefs
Brushing the teefs can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. Be sure to have the right equipment and be sure to use dog-specific toothpaste. For the toothbrush, you can use a child's soft-bristled toothbrush, a dog toothbrush, or a fingerbrush.
When brushing your dog's teefers, you will need to start with a circular motion with a focus on the gum line and outer surface of the teeth. Target the back molars and try to access the inside of the teeth if possible. Be sure to be patient and gentle. After all, you probably don’t like it when your dentist pokes around in your mouth, either.
You can use bully sticks and other natural chews, which are a great way to supplement regular tooth brushing. These chews help scrape tartar and plaque build-up, but these are not replacements for regular cleaning!
Boop the Snoot and Give Pats
Now you know how to groom your dog at home! Grooming your fuzzy land seal or snuggle muffin at home can be a rewarding experience for both you and your pet when done correctly. With the right tools and techniques, you can ensure your dog looks and feels their best. Remember that consistency is key when it comes to grooming, so be sure to follow a consistent grooming schedule and use lots of positive reinforcement and treats for your pets during and after grooming sessions.
We recommend using our treats from Bully Bunches! At Bully Bunches, we are dedicated to bringing the best bully sticks and all-natural dog chews that your furry floofers will love. With a commitment to quality, sustainability, and customer satisfaction, we have established ourselves as a leading brand in the dog treat industry. Explore our full selection of the best dog chews for both large and small dogs. For more helpful information, like dog grooming tips at home, visit our Bully Bunches blog today!