DIY Dog Grooming at Home

Dog being combed

Tools and Tips for a Successful Grooming Session with Your Dog

Grooming your dog is important to your pet’s overall health. It is a great way to check for skin issues and an excellent means to bond with your pet. Try to brush your dog each day and longer once per week.

Combs and brushes to groom a dog

tools for a successful grooming session with your dog

Look for tangles or mats in the coat and external parasites such as fleas and ticks. Check the skin for flaking, sores and oily patches. When you inspect the coat or hair, be observant if there are layers of different textures. If so, your dog probably sheds. If it seems similar in texture or thickness throughout, then your dog probably does not shed.

Typical grooming tools include curry, slicker and combination brushes, shedding blade, combs and stripping combs, blunt-ended scissors, dog toenail clippers and rotary tools. Note: if you search for Dog grooming tools on the web, you will likely encounter many different ones. The tools listed here are the most common, easiest to use.

Brushing

Watch professional groomer from Win-Star Bed & Biscuit line brush a long-haired dog.
Video courtesy Win-Star Bed & Biscuit, Tacoma, WA – https://www.winstarbedandbiscuit.com/

For medium and large dogs, it is best to get eye level with the dog to brush. Smaller dogs can be put on a slip-free table. Never leave the dog unattended. Start brushing your dog where you normally pet him.

Brush in the direction the hair grows. Pay particular attention to your dog’s ears, armpits, tail, neck, and between the toes.

Grooming Dog with metal comb

German Shepherd being groomed with a metal comb

Regular brushing removes the undercoat or fluffy layer of hair under the topcoat of dogs that shed. Short-haired dogs that shed are best groomed with a soft bristled brush or a rubber glove or mitt. For dogs that do not shed, brushing removes tangles. This technique is called line brushing. Hold a section of hair with one hand and slowly brush the hair away in a straight line. When you encounter a mat, start at the outer edges, and gently work your way back through the mat.

You may be able to use your fingers to untangle the mat. If the mat is large or thick or your dog is sensitive, you may need to clip it. Use only blunt-end scissors so that you do not accidentally puncture your dog. Gently cut the mat in half, starting with the portion closest to your dog’s skin. Cut in a direction away from the skin. If your dog’s skin has an irritation or infection, use Banixx Pet Care Spray or Banixx Wound Care Cream to treat the skin issue. It is important to detect mats and deal with them in their early stages. Mats hold in moisture and warmth that provide a fertile environment for the development of a Hot Spot.

*Some professional groomers feel that a large percentage of hot spots begin with a simple matted hair issue.

Nail Trimming

Watch a dog Groomers clip a dog’s nails
Video courtesy Win-Star Bed & Biscuit, Tacoma, WA – https://www.winstarbedandbiscuit.com/

If you are not comfortable trimming your dog’s toenails take her to your veterinarian or a reputable dog groomer. Even if you take your dog to a professional for nail trimming, inspect her feet regularly. She can pick up debris or cuts to her paws, splits or broken toenails. In-grown toenails will occur if not clipped frequently.

If you choose to trim your dog’s nails, you need nail clippers designed for dogs. An alternative to nail clippers is a Dremel tool.

Clip back or Dremel back to just before the “quick” or the blood supply to the toenail. If the quick is compromised, then the toenail will bleed, and cause pain. The quick is visible from the underside of the toenail on almost all toenails. On clear or white toenails, the quick can often be seen through the opaque toenail; it is red in color. Avoid cutting back to the quick. If the quick does bleed, put that toenail in some baking soda or corn starch to cause the blood to coagulate. You may need to apply mild pressure to stop the bleeding.

Cutting, Clipping and Shaving

If you are considering cutting, clip or shave your dog’s hair, it is best to take her to a reputable dog groomer for a couple of good reasons:

  • Pro dog groomer trimming dogs fur

    Professional Dog Groomer cutting a Yorkshire Terrier’s fur

    Dogs that shed should NOT be shaved. Dogs that shed have layers of different topcoats and undercoats. The undercoat serves as a layer of insulation which keeps warmth in and heat out. Dogs that shed and are shaved may remove her natural ability to regulate body temperature and natural insulation. Instead, a thorough brushing will have the coat and skin in healthy condition.

  • Dogs that do not shed need their hair shortened approximately every two months. If you choose to clip your dog, exercise caution! Go slowly and watch videos on proper clipping techniques so you do not accidentally clip your dog’s skin. If there is a cut or burn, immediately apply Banixx Pet Care Spray or Banixx Wound Care Cream for relief and healing on contact.

Bathing

The safest places to bathe your dog are the sink, tub, walk-in shower, wash stall in a barn, or with a hose hooked to a utility sink for temperature control. Use warm water for bathing your dog as cold water can affect his core body temperature and cause hypothermia or other problems, even on a hot day.

Bathing your dog in bath tub

Dog getting a bath

Choose shampoo formulated for pets, like Banixx Medicated Shampoo; avoid products made for humans or autos.

To keep water out of his ears and avoid infection, gently insert cotton balls and be sure to remove them after his bath, water in a dog’s ears may lead to an ear infection. Thoroughly wet your dog’s coat and be careful around his eyes, ears and mouth. Massage the shampoo into his coat and skin and rinse thoroughly.

Brush your dog often and bathe occasionally. Bathing can remove the natural oils from your dog’s coat and skin. In contrast, brushing stimulates the skin and brings the oils up, working them through the hair in a healthy fashion.

Drying

dog grooming blow drying

Dog getting dried

Dogs naturally shake off excess water while bathing. If indoors, hold a large bath towel over your dog while he shakes. It is best to use a blow dryer specifically for dogs but if you only have a personal one, make sure to run it on a low setting because the high heat can burn the dog’s skin. Air drying is the best option at an appropriate level for the season (when it’s not too cold or hot).

Before & After

Doodle dog dirty needs a bath and grooming

Doodle before bathing and grooming

Doodle dog after he was groomed

Doodle after a bath and grooming.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy Win-Star Bed & Biscuit, Tacoma, WA – https://www.winstarbedandbiscuit.com/

 

 

 

Happy Grooming

Overall, take time to groom your dog and enjoy getting to know his or her preferences. If your dog is excitable and can’t relax, take it slowly and in shorter but more frequent intervals. In time, you and your dog will look forward to your daily sessions to bond and spend happy tail wagging time together!