DIY Dog Grooming Basics

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By Roslyn Ayers, PetSafe Web Content Specialist

dog grooming

When dogs spend a lot of time outside, they get dirty quickly. In a few easy steps you can clean your pet right up!

My dog Doc is a fluffy pup, so he gets dirty very quickly. His legs, belly, and beard pick up dirt and water easily. I decided to groom him myself at home rather than take him to the groomer. Here are some things I learned about do-it-yourself dog grooming and bathing.

General Tips

Tools required: dog shampoo, towel, conditioner (optional), waterproof apron (optional), scissors/clippers, brush, treats

Give your dog treats and praise as you work. It will make it more enjoyable for both of you. You can give him treats periodically or a long-lasting rawhide treat or toy with treats inside. It helps to start grooming when they’re young to get them used to it. You should also pay attention to what your dog does and doesn’t like. If your dog hates nail trims, do that part last. If he loves getting brushed, make sure to spend some extra time brushing his coat out. You can also add in a little massage time at the end.

Brushing

You should brush your dog before the bath to get out any tangles or mats. Try out different combs and brushes until you find the best one for your dog’s coat. Some dogs have different lengths and styles on different parts of their bodies, so you might need a few different brushes. Brush out mats by holding your pet’s fur close to the skin and gently working out the mat. Cut out mats that can’t be brushed out. Keep in mind that long-haired dogs might need daily brushings, while short-haired dogs are often fine with a brushing once a week.

Bath Time

Most dogs only need to be bathed once every week or two. As you’re bathing your dog, use plenty of warm water to keep him nice and wet, and make sure to work the soap into your dog’s fur and skin. Start at the top and work your way down. My favorite dog shampoo is called Clear Advantages: Totally Natural Pet Shampoo by earthbath. It suds up really well, so I don’t need to use a lot. Spend some extra time on your dog’s neck, where his collar normally is; it’s very important to keep that area clean. During the bath, do a quick check all over your dog’s skin for cuts, ticks, or irritated skin.

I usually wash Doc’s face last to prevent getting soap in his eyes or nose. To protect your dog’s eyes, you can put a drop of mineral oil around each eye. A cotton ball placed in each ear will help keep water out. When I rinse Doc’s face, I cover his eyes with my hand. His beard is hard to get completely clean, but it helps to keep it shorter. You can also buy special products designed to keep your dog’s beard clean. Always rinse well to prevent your dog’s skin from drying out. If your dog has skin problems, use a shampoo that’s medicated or designed for sensitive skin and keep him in the tub to let the soap soak in for 15-30 minutes before rinsing. You can also buy coat conditioners that are either leave-in sprays or are rinsed out after.

Let your dog drip dry for a few minutes in the tub, then towel him dry. You can also buy special doggie dryers which can cost anywhere from $30 to $300, or you can use a regular hair dryer on a cool setting. You can brush him out while you blow dry to help him dry faster. Be sure to dry your dog’s feet well. My vet recommends waiting 3 days before or after bathing to apply flea/tick meds, unless you use an oatmeal-based shampoo.

diy dog grooming

Clean dogs are happy dogs, as evidenced by Doc’s grin after his bath and haircut from his mom Roslyn.

Haircut

Right after a bath is the perfect time for basic coat maintenance. How to cut your dog’s hair is really up to you. You can keep the fur the same length all over with a puppy cut, or just trim certain parts. You could also try a haircut based on your dog’s breed; my mom’s Scottish Terrier mix looks great with a traditional Scottie haircut.

Let your pet dry off about 75% before giving him a haircut, and be sure to brush his coat out. It’s helpful to have someone help you keep your dog still. If your dog starts to squirm or seems stressed, give him some treats and take a quick break with a toy and some petting.

I usually keep Doc’s legs and belly trimmed pretty short. I use scissors and eyeball the length by comparing it to my finger length; his leg fur is about as long as the first part of my index finger, and his belly fur is half the length of my finger. I hold his fur close to the skin to prevent nicking him with the scissors. Clippers can be set to a standard length so you don’t have to measure it yourself or worry about cutting your dog’s skin. Your dog might have ticklish feet, so be careful to hold him still when you’re working on his feet. When trimming around the beard or face, be careful not to cut any whiskers, as that can be quite painful for your dog.

Consider both clippers and scissors for grooming tools. Clippers are great for getting an even haircut, but the noise can also bother your pet. Scissors are good for longer haircuts and getting spots like the feet and face. Scissors are better for pets who don’t like the noise hair clippers make, but it’s easier to nick your pet’s skin with scissors. Go for clippers that have different blade lengths and scissors that are short and sharp and have straight edges.

More Information

Here are some more guides to dog bathing, grooming, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth cleaning:

Brushing & Bathing: http://www.wikihow.com/Groom-a-Dog

Bathing and Grooming plus Nails, Ears, & Teeth: http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/grooming-dog

Choosing the Right Brush: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=248

Bathing Tips: http://www.cesarsway.com/dogcare/grooming/How-to-Successfully-Bathe-Your-Dog

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19 Responses to DIY Dog Grooming Basics

  1. KevinDuell says:

    Thanks Roslyn for this excellent post. We should always notice what our dogs want, what they like or dislike so we can keep our of pets safe. If our dog like to groom then it is also important that we should spare some time for grooming as it will result in an efficient and fruitful relationship. I have had used Petsafe Remote training Collars from Innotek Collars company and I really appreciate their services.

  2. Lisa researching dog grooming says:

    I never thought of messaging my dog after the bath. That’s a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  3. Paula MacGregor says:

    Hello,
    Can you tell me what kind of dog Doc is, he is adorable,
    Thanks!

    • Jessica Medlin says:

      Hi Paula, Doc’s human companion likes to say he is a Smoky Mountain Terrier. That’s actually not a real breed, but they’re unsure of his breed and seeing that he’s been raised in the Smokies, they like to joke and say that’s it. At their best guess, he’s a Wheaten Terrier or Tibetan Terrier mix. Have a great day!

  4. dog grooming says:

    Hey, there..thanks for sharing some good information for dog grooming and tips as well.

  5. Dan@dog wash adelaide says:

    What you have shared here is very informative and really helpful. Also, I think if you really don’t want to use your time grooming your puppies why not let it take care by professional dog groomer as they know exactly what to do and will keep you updated with the latest cuts.

  6. Amber looking for dog boarding says:

    Ugh, smaller dogs always tend to get dirtier faster! Very cute!

  7. cindy parker says:

    Good tips, I’m guilty of washing both on a regular basis, I should leave myself a note to start!

  8. New Scottsdale veterinary clinic says:

    Hi Roslyn, where do we find a picture or link of the brush that you have been using for your dog?

    • Roslyn McKenna says:

      Hi there!

      I actually do not have a link to the brush that I use for my dog, but it basically looks like a mini rake to get through his long fur. It’s not very good for the shorter fur on his legs and feet though, so for that I use a standard soft bristle brush.

  9. Just grooming my dog says:

    Great post! Love your blog. Just starting out grooming my dog so this was very useful

  10. dog brush says:

    I have been making use of this clipper for my Normal Poodle for about 6 months now – I do his ft
    and face at the very least when a month – and
    it is excellent for all our requirements. I have
    in no way taken him to a groomer, and have experienced display pet
    pals and professional groomers tell me he appears great with just the
    clipping we do with this clipper. All clippers
    will get scorching – it’s merely a law of physics: two items of metallic rubbing with
    each other at high velocity leads to heat. I have extra blades and
    a damp cloth nearby when the blade will get sizzling.
    If you discover the clipper “drags through the coat” it may be
    the identical factor that took place to me when
    I very first got it – the blade wasn’t snapped down into placement properly and it wasn’t clipping at all.
    For my Poodle, this clipper is fantastic, and the value can’t be
    conquer!
    I had by no means clipped possibly dog or human prior to, but
    determined to attempt undertaking my Standard Schnauzer at residence.
    He is the terror of all nearby groomers: they complain that he struggles the whole time, so it’s been a headache for them
    and expensive for me. After exploring property-use clippers at the Groomers BBS, I made
    the decision on this Andis clipper established and I am delighted.
    It is so tranquil that my puppy all but disregarded it (other than
    around his ears) and it minimize by way of his extremely shaggy coat like butter.
    This clipper created straightforward a occupation that I had feared would be disastrous.

    The comb attachments help to blend in the quick and
    extended coat places on the Schnauzer. I followed the suggestions of the professionals and bought an additional blade so that I could swiftly swap them as they grew scorching.

  11. Info on dog grooming tips says:

    Very informative! Thanks for the tips. Great post!

  12. Mighty Joe says:

    Hi, Thank you for sharing these tips and helpful to anyone. I really wants to learn new about Grooming and waiting for your new updates. Thank you again.

  13. The Animal Den says:

    A grooming appointment can be a very traumatic experience for a dog if done the wrong way. It can also be dangerous if done by the wrong groomer. We completely agree with the synopsis of this article. There are many things, like massages, that can be done to make it a positive experience for your pet. Nice article?

  14. Patent Attorney says:

    What an adorable little thing! Thanks for the tips, I always find with dogs that you wash them then the minute they shake it off they’re back to their dirty selves! Ah well…

  15. dog enthusiast says:

    Great article! Thanks so much for the advice, I’m going to get to work right now!

  16. Pingback: The Basics of DIY Dog Grooming

  17. Pingback: Every dog has its day! | South Coast Herald

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