How to Groom Your Dog at Home
Grooming your dog can sound like a daunting process, especially at home, but it’s an important aspect of dog ownership. If you’re ready to get in the bath with your pup, give her a new hairstyle, and/or trim her nails, these tips for grooming will help!
If you’re not comfortable grooming your dog at home, we offer professional grooming services at Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital in Katy, TX. Our experienced groomers can trim, style, cut nails, brush, bathe, clean ears, and more! To schedule your appointment, reach us at 251-693-7387.
Why Does My Dog Need to Be Groomed?
There are several reasons your dog should be groomed regularly. It’s a must for her health, well-being, and your carpets. Just what type of grooming your dog requires depends on her skin and fur, but here are some reasons it should be done:
- Prevents matting
- Removes dead skin
- Distributes natural oils to keep coat and skin in good condition
- Keeps you on the lookout for fleas, infections, and lumps and bumps that could indicate other health problems
- Reduces stress
- Keeps her comfortable in certain climates and temperatures
- Helps her paws and ears stay in healthy condition
- Reduce the amount your dog sheds
In addition to all of these, regular grooming also keeps your dog looking her best!
How Often Should I Groom My Dog?
How often you wash and trim your pup depends on a few things:
- Her breed
- How much she sheds
- Her coat
- Her activity – Active dogs tend to get dirtier!
- The climate in which you live – Long-haired dogs in our climate may need to be trimmed more often to stay cool.
And while you may have a long-haired dog that needs to be brushed daily, it doesn’t mean you have to go through the entire grooming process each day. Over time, you’ll learn just how often your dog needs a spa treatment.
We generally recommend completing a standard grooming regimen about once a month. If you have a puppy, it’s a good idea to start getting her used to a grooming schedule early on, so she’s less anxious about the process as she grows up!
What You Need to Groom Your Dog
Grab these items before you start!
- Dog nail clippers – Never use human nail clippers! They’re not designed for dogs’ nails and could cause harm.
- Scissors or dog clippers
- Brush – If your dog has longer fur, you may need specialized tools.
- Leash and collar (optional)
- Dog shampoo
- Treats – Give your pup treats throughout the entire grooming process to keep her comfortable and happy!
How to Groom Your Dog at Home
Once you have your materials nearby, follow this step-by-step guide to get your dog looking its best (skipping any steps that don’t apply to your dog because of the criteria above):
Brush Her Fur
This is the first of a few maintenance tasks you’ll need to complete before you head to the bath. A good brush-through will make bathing and trimming much easier, but also remove loose hair. Your bath drain will thank you!
If you find a tangle, try brushing it out gently. If it has become a mat, it may be best to cut it out to avoid discomfort for your dog. If you can’t cut it out without hurting your dog—or feel uncomfortable doing so, take her to a professional dog groomer.
Trim Her Nails
Just like grooming, your dog’s nails should be trimmed once a month. If you’re not sure how to complete this task, check out our easy, step-by-step guide!
Now that she’s brushed through and her nails are trimmed, it’s time to get your pup in the bath. You’ll want to have all the items you need nearby now because you don’t want to be running around the house grabbing towels with a wet dog trying to escape the tub. It’s also a good idea to have a non-slip mat or surface in your tub, so your dog is as comfortable as possible.
Once you’re ready, here’s how to give your dog a bath:
Step 1: Turn on the water from the shower head facing away from your dog at first to ensure you don’t accidentally shock or burn her with cold or hot water. The water’s temperature should be lukewarm.
(Optional Step): Consider leashing your dog to the wall with a suction cup to prevent her from moving too much.
Step 2: Run the lukewarm water over her fur and skin, avoiding her ears and head.
Step 3: Apply the dog shampoo to her fur. Start from her neck, and move downward using your hands to get it through her thick fur and to her skin.
Step 4: Use shampoo on her head, but carefully avoiding her eyes and ears. Use a towel to wipe off her face if it gets wet.
Step 5: Rinse your pup with the shower head until all the dirt, shampoo, and debris leaves her fur.
Step 6: Dry your dog while she’s still in the tub to avoid a wet dog running around the house! Some dogs may require a blow dryer, but be careful to use the cool setting if you go this route. If your dog is uncomfortable with the loud noise, let her air dry after rubbing her down with towels.
Trim Your Dog
Once your pup is dry, it’s time to start the trim! Not all dogs need to be clipped; it depends on her fur and breed. How you trim your dog also depends on your pet’s fur, but these steps can be a general guideline.
Step 1: Secure your dog. It’s essential she doesn’t move around a lot during her trim, so make sure she’s in an area where she’s comfortable, on a leash, and secure.
Step 2: Start the process at her neck, and work downward, just like bathtime, saving her legs for last.
Step 3: Brush against the direction of the fur.
Step 4: Run the scissors or clippers in the direction of the fur to trim her hair.
Use extra care around her neck, genitals, anus, tail, Achilles’ tendons, armpits, legs, and face. Be patient, and take your time to avoid accidents.
Vet Tip: We sometimes see even careful owners accidentally injuring their dogs when they attempt to trim their fur. We recommend bringing your pup in to see us for professional grooming to make sure she stays safe and gets the cut you want!
Once you’ve finished grooming your dog, treats are essential! Reward your good pup handsomely for her stellar behavior.
Why You May Want to Take Your Dog to a Professional Groomer
You can save money by grooming your dog at home, but there are real benefits to taking your dog to a professional groomer instead.
They Have Experience
Professional dog groomers have all the experience and tools they need on hand to get your dog looking her best. This is great to rely on if you’re not comfortable trimming your pup or she’s anxious about the process. Groomers know how to handle anxious dogs.
They Know What to Look for Regarding Your Dog’s Health
Ticks and fleas can be visible to dog owners most of the time, but having a professional groomer go over your dog’s fur and skin can help detect problems before they get worse. Groomers are trained to look for:
- Dry skin
- Ear and eye problems
- Fleas and ticks
- Hot spots
- Other irritations
They Bond with Your Dog
Because of their extensive experience, dog groomers know how to bond with all kinds of dogs. When your pup builds a relationship with her groomer, she may look forward to a trip to the groomer!
It Saves You Time and Effort
There’s no doubt grooming your dog can take quite a bit of time and energy. Between prepping her, getting the bath ready, and cleaning up, it can be a several-hour affair. Dropping your dog off at the groomer’s frees up your day!
They Can Give Your Dog a Great Look
Professional groomers also have the experience to give your dog a great look. If you’re after a special look or want to have your pup comfortable during the hot summer, your groomer knows exactly how to achieve that trim or style.
Grooming at home can be quite the process, but it can also be a great bonding activity for you and your pet! If you or your dog is anxious about any part of the process, you can always do what you can at home, then have a professional groomer finish up. Whatever you decide, bathtime, trims, and nail clips are essential to your dog’s overall health and well-being, so don’t skip them!
Ready to meet our professional groomers? They can maintain your pet’s style, give her a haircut, get rid of those nasty mats, or just trim her nails. To schedule an appointment, give us a call at 281-693-7387.
The Team @ Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital
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