The Definitive Guide to Dog Grooming

If you ever spent time watching a dog, you probably noticed how they tend to lick themselves. This isn’t always because of skin irritation or infections. Sometimes, they just want to stay clean. Although dogs aren’t as neat as cats, they still try to clean their body parts and wounds using saliva.
That said, they still need an extra hand from you as the owner. Grooming involves more than just giving your dog a nice bath. Go the extra mile and trim their fur, brush them, clip their nails- basically do anything that will make him look good. This guide will give you all the information you need for proper grooming of your pet.Identify the Specific Needs of your Dog

Of course, there are general guidelines on how you should go about grooming your dog. You will still need to note the specific grooming needs of your pet. For example, if your dog has long ears, you might need to check them regularly and even do some cleaning under them. Dogs that have skin conditions or spend a lot of time outside might also need to be bathed a lot more frequently.

Some pets also have wrinkled bodies or faces, and these offer perfectly warm and moist areas for bacteria to breed. To prevent infections and the development of skin conditions, bathing your dog should be done more often. Some dog breeds such as mastiffs and bulldogs are naturally wrinkled. You should consider the hassle involved in grooming them before buying these pets.

The curly fur on dogs also calls for extra effort in grooming. This is because these pets are not usually able to shed off fur well, given the tangles. For dogs with special grooming needs, you may even have to attend dog grooming classes for conclusive advice.

Get your Pet used to Grooming

Dogs are not known to enjoy grooming, especially the baths. Your pet is likely to show discomfort and even resist the water on the first few times you try. The trick is to get him used to the activity.

You do this by exercising patience. Ideally, you should start grooming when the dog is rested and less jumpy. Once you’re able to get him in the grooming position, the first session should be very short. You can stretch it to 10 minutes and keep making it longer in consecutive sessions until the dog gets used to being groomed. Most dogs will even resist nail clipping on the first attempts.

A good way to make your dog welcome your touch is to give him treats after the sessions. Dogs learn quickly to associate activities with the nice sensation of getting treats. Petting your pet dog often will also get him used to the feel of your hands.

Grooming is supposed to be a fun activity for you and the pet. Once he’s used to it, you should spend as much time as you want cleaning him up.

Bathing your Dog

Dogs don’t need very frequent baths. Having at least one pet wash in three months will suffice. However, if your dog is the type to spend the whole day outside and get himself dirty, you should schedule more frequent baths. Washing your dog often has no adverse consequences, so you can just do it as frequently as you like.

The dog shampoo used needs to be safe for pets. Otherwise, you might affect the dog’s acidic skin mantle and can even introduce toxins to its system. Human shampoo is designed to maintain the acidic nature of our skins, and that of dogs tends to lean more towards the alkaline side of the scale. Altering this environment can create perfect conditions for bacteria and other microbes to invade the pet. Shampoos for dogs are also specially formulated to clean their furs, and human products may fail at this job.

Before getting your dog to the bath, make sure you provide good footing with a mat. Then, you can fill the tub with warm water to make the dog more comfortable. Sprinkling water on him will also reduce the level of discomfort it experiences.

Then you can rub all parts of your dog gently using your fingers. You should use dog shampoo for this purpose. If your dog has wrinkles, you should pay extra attention to the folds. Extra-large ears should also be cleaned more thoroughly and often. When you’re done, you can dry your pet with a warm towel.

If he acts jumpy during his pet wash, you can offer your dog a treat later and even some praise. That way, he is less likely to be restless in the next bath.


Brushing is usually done before washing dogs. You should do it daily to get rid of excess fur. It also improves the look of your dog.

Brushing your pet requires you to understand the hair coat type of your dog. This will help you decide on the best brush type to use, and the ideal brushing technique to employ. Here is a simple guide:

• Short and smooth coats- these require the use of a soft or medium bristle brush. The bristles should be short and not widely spaced. Retrievers and Hounds usually have this coat type.
• Wiry coats- Slick or firm bristle brushes work well for this fur type. Terriers mostly have wiry fur coats.
• Flowing coats- For such fur coats, use wire pins or soft/ medium bristle brushed. The bristles should be long and widely spaced. Some dog breeds with such fur are Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, and Setters.
• Harsh coats with wooly undercoats- Sheepdogs, shepherds, and chows are some common breeds with this type of fur. You should brush against the grain for the undercoat, and with it on the outer coat. For this purpose, use wire pins or firm bristle brushes with long and widely-spaced bristles.
• Thin coats- For breeds such as Maltese, you should use a wire pin and a soft slick brush.

If you have been petting your dog, this should not be hard for you to do. In fact, you and your pet will likely find it a fun activity since it has a stroking feel on your dog. You shouldn’t rush when brushing. Just take your time and be gentle. If you rush, you might go through the tangles painfully, and your pet will lose interest in the activity. Another good way to prevent this is to brush your dog’s fur on a daily basis. Doing this will impede the formation of tangles on the dog’s fur.

Shearing your Dog’s Fur

Shearing of dog can be a way of protecting your dog from extreme temperatures and also works to make some breeds look good. If your dog likes to roll around in dirty and wet outdoor places, you should consider shaving their fur to prevent the development of dangerous skin conditions. It is advisable to consult a vet before the shearing task.
When doing this, be careful not to cut off too much of the fur. Always leave an inch or so to prevent sunburns and to provide protection against cold. Also, be sure to take breaks every few moments to allow the clippers to cool down to avoid burning your dog. For extra caution, you shouldn’t shave too close to the skin.

Before shearing your dog, you need to give it a nice bath, dry it up and brush the fur coat. For this purpose, you need to brush against the grain. Then you can follow these steps:

• Leash your dog in a comfortable but secure position. The reason is that, if he makes major movements, you can end up burning him with the dog grooming shears.
• Choose an appropriate size of the blade. For short hair, the blade should be number 10.
• Oil the blades before you start shearing your dog.
• Hold the dog and stretch out its skin before shearing the fur on a section. This should keep the dog in a secure position so that you don’t injure it in the process. The cut also becomes smoother if you do this.
• Use long and slow strokes to cut the dog’s hair. Once you are done, check for spots where the fur looks uneven. You can trim the excess hair with a pair of dog grooming scissors.
• Give your dog another bath after shearing its fur to get rid of the small hairs on its skin.

Again, the clippers you use will depend on the type of fur your dog has. If your pet has heavy fur, stronger dog grooming shears will be needed to make your job easy. Also, you should look for clippers with better quality motors. These will make the process as quick as possible, which is good since you don’t want your dog to get restless. You should also never attempt to shear a wet pet.

A good way to give your dog a smooth and short shave is to shear against the grain. You should never shear a dog during winter since the pet needs fur for insulation against the cold. In case you end up shaving your pet too close to the skin, use PABA-free sunscreen to prevent sunburns.

Nail Clipping

Some dogs are too playful and end up wearing off their nails naturally. For others, however, you will have to trim their nails actively. If you do not take this step, your dog will have sore feet, mostly because of the constant contact with hard surfaces. Long toenails also look untidy.

Many pet owners fail to realize the effects of long toenails on the hind limbs of the dogs. When the animals hit stairs or things with their toenails, they naturally put more weight on their hind limbs since they evolved to associate such feelings with a climb.

The weight placed on the hind limbs helps them go up a hill more comfortably. Since this is bound to happen too often in a typical house, you can expect your dog’s legs to grow weaker faster. This is actually the reason why many dogs find it hard to get up or jump.

Clipping your dog’s nails is not a very hard job. Again, it calls for patience since your dog might not be ready for grooming. Here is what you need to clip your pet’s toenails:

• Nail clippers- You can use dog grooming scissors to trim the nails, or any other similarly designed clippers. You shouldn’t use the usual human clippers since these will take in the whole nail.
• Clotting Powder to manage bleeding in case you injure your pet. Baking soda, styptic powder, and baking flour can all be used for this purpose.
• Treats- If your dog is resistant to clipping, you can use treats to encourage the activity. Always give the treat during or after successfully clipping the dog’s toenails.

The instruments should be sharp, so you don’t make the experience any worse for your dog. Sharper tools also help you get through the activity faster, and you will not exhaust the dog. You can test the clippers before starting to trim your dog’s nails.

It is advisable to play around with the nail clippers before actually using it to clip your pet’s nails. The dog will get used to the sound, sight, and feel of the instrument, and will associate it with a positive sensation. It is important to include some treats for your pet during such play sessions. This association will give you an easier time getting the dog accustomed to nail clipping.

If you are doubtful about the safety of the procedure, you should contact a vet or professional dog groomer for a live demonstration of how it is done. Alternatively, you can attend dog grooming classes.

You can follow these steps for a nice trim of your dog’s toenails:

• Hold the paw firmly to prevent injury from movement of the dog
• Use a scissors-like or plier-like clipper to cut the nail from below
• Keep trimming till you see a white section with a small black spot
• Be cautious not to cut too close to the dog’s paw, or you might hurt it

Nail trimming should be done every three weeks.


Understanding Your Dog’s Special Grooming Needs

A Stress-Free Way For Trimming Your Dog’s Toenails