Grooming is an essential part of caring for your dog, but for many pet parents and their pooches, it is a stressful task, especially if your pup would rather grow a long, matted coat than sit still for a bath! You are not alone - it can be hard to know how to groom your dog, or how often you should take your dog to the groomer. Every dog will have their own set of grooming requirements depending on their temperament, coat, activity level, and overall health. We are here to help keep your pup feeling fresh and looking fabulous, with our top tips for grooming your dog.
1. Make Grooming Fun!The key to successful grooming is to make it fun and turn each task into a game for your dog. Lay the groundwork early, teaching them to accept their paws, nails, ears, tail, and tummy being touched. Use lots of treats and praise. Teach them to fetch their brush and jump into the tub. Start with small sessions and build up the length and complexity over time. Soon enough, your playful pup will look forward to grooming time more than you!
2. Get Into a RoutineBrush, wash, clip, clean…the list of grooming jobs can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Our top tip for success is to make grooming part of your regular routine. Whether you give your pup a good brushing every night while watching the news or carve out a special hour of pooch pampering every Sunday morning, having a routine makes it easier to groom your dog.
3. How to Groom Your Dog
Brushing is a great first step as it helps to loosen and remove fine hairs and debris and stimulates healthy skin and hair growth. It is also a good time to bond with your pup and get to know their body. Check over their coat, ears, eyes, and skin for any abnormalities or changes. How often you need to brush depends entirely on your dog's coat and their fondness for mud baths. It is much easier to do a little bit, more often, than to try and detangle 4-week-old clumps from your dog's underarms.
After a good brushing, it is time to jump in the tub. Bathing does not need to happen as often as brushing. For most dogs, once a month is plenty. Again, this will depend on your unique situation, however, over-washing is harmful and can strip the good oils from the coat, which can lead to skin disease. Make sure you use a dog-specific shampoo. Dog skin is thinner and more sensitive than human skin, and human products are too harsh.
Many owners prefer to have their dog clipped and trimmed at a groomer, however, if you would like to give this a go at home, we recommend using good quality, pet-specific electric clippers. Remember, scissors are not your friend! It can be tempting to reach for the kitchen scissors to clip off a mat here and there but be warned, this is the easiest way to injure your pet. Dog skin is thin and very elastic, making it very easy to cut too deep, especially if you have a wiggly pup on your hands.
4. The Art of Nail Clipping
We get it. Nail clipping can be one of the most intimidating parts of grooming your dog, especially if your pup has a full set of talons! You are not alone; many pet parents are hesitant to do this at home.
The key to success is training your pup to have their feet handled, use sharp tools, lots of praise, and go slowly. Look underneath the nail to identify the line between the soft quick and the excess horny nail, allowing you to clip with confidence. If you accidentally clip a nail too far, never fear! The quick can produce a lot of blood, however, your dog will be fine, just apply some gentle pressure until it stops.
5. Don’t Forget the Pearly Whites
Did you know that teeth brushing should form part of your dog's grooming routine? Yes, really! Just like us, our dogs need regular brushing to help remove bacteria and debris and maintain their oral health. Follow our handy guide on the ins and outs of dog teeth brushing to help your pup keep their shiny white grin.
6. Know When to Outsource
It is perfectly fine if you don’t know how to groom your dog at home. There are many professional dog groomers that can save you time, money, and your sanity. How often you should take your dog to the groomer will depend on their coat and lifestyle. As a rule of thumb, most pups with longer coats will need a trim every 4-6 weeks, however, your groomer will be able to organize a plan that suits both you and your pup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it better to cut a dog's hair when wet or dry?
Unlike when you get your hair cut, it is best to trim your dog's coat when it is dry. This also makes it easier if you need to shape certain areas or make perfect poodle curls.
How do I keep my dog still when grooming?
Training goes a long way to help your pup sit still for their groom, however, it is also wise to have them restrained to prevent sudden movements. Asking a friend to help is a good idea as they can give praise and hand out treats. Alternatively, use a table and a harness to keep them secure. Never leave your dog alone when on a grooming table.
My dog is terrified of being bathed and groomed. What can I do?
For many shy dogs, grooming time can be the scariest part of the day. The act of being restrained while hearing noisy clippers or running water can be frightening, and for some, the anticipation of having one nail clipped can be too much. If you have tried slow, calm training techniques and your pup is still very anxious, then it may be time to enlist the help of a professional groomer, or chat with your veterinarian.