Having your dog groomed regularly is an important part of keeping your pet healthy and happy. Of course, you can take him to your nearest or preferred professional groomer but why not learn the basics yourself? This can help your loved one in many ways, not only will you be keeping him healthy and Matt free, but you will also be showing everyone how much you care for your pet. There is nothing better than friends stopping you in the street and telling you how good your dog looks. It is also a way of bonding with your best friend and shows them how much you love them.
Dog Grooming Basics
Dog grooming doesn’t just involve a bath and a brush. If it was, my wife, who is a professional groomer, would be so much happier ha-ha. Grooming also includes cleaning teeth and ears and clipping nails. There are also unpleasant conditions such as matted hair that can be very difficult to sort out. That’s why grooming them is very important to keep their coats nice and clean.
Dog Grooming Basic Equipment
So, what equipment do you need to groom your dog? You don’t need to spend a fortune but good quality items do make the job easier and will last longer. Remember, you will only be doing it once every so often, not every day.
The equipment you need much depends on the breed of your dog. For example, my Nelly who is a miniature Poodle will have different grooming needs than my neighbours Alsatian.
Basic tools you will need are:
- A Comb – This all depends on your dogs breed. A medium toothed comb is a good all-rounder. If your dog has very fine hair then get a fine toothed comb. Alternatively if he has thick hair get a wide toothed comb. It is also a good idea to get a flea comb for removing fleas and tangles.
- A Brush – A slicker brush is a great all-purpose brush that is also very good for longer haired dogs. A curry comb is ideal for short hairs and a pin brush is aimed at long single coats.
- A Shampoo – There are literally hundreds of different companies out there offering dog shampoos. Choose one that is recommended by professional groomers and vets. ENSURE it is designed for dogs and it is pH-balanced. Also, get a conditioner that is designed to go with the shampoo you have purchased. Start collecting old towels to towel dry your dog.
- A Toothbrush – You will need a good toothbrush with toothpaste that is designed for dogs. Do not under any circumstance use toothpaste or toothbrushes designed for humans.
- Dog Toenail Clippers and Styptic Powder – Buy a good set of clippers to make life easier. Larger dogs have toe nails that are very difficult to cut and if you have cheap lightweight clippers you will struggle. Styptic powder will help stop any bleeding if you clip too close to the quick.
- Cotton Wool and Ear Cleaner – You can only clean the outside of your loved one’s ears and just inside a little. NEVER insert anything into their ear canal. That needs to be done by a qualified groomer or Vet.
Electric Clipper – If your dog has to be clipped then you need a good electric clipper with blades. Ask your vet or groomer which blades you need for their coat. Remember, in summer you may want to go shorter so will need different sizes. Again, you Vet or Groomer can advise you which is best.Once, you have all these items. Put them safely away in a “doggy bag” or container and keep them away from children as they are not toys. Remember to groom the regularly to keep them happy and healthy.
You should be looking at grooming your dog at least once a month. If you have a very long haired dog or one that requires lots of attention you may need to do it more often. Some things need to be done more frequently like brushing their teeth. That should be done at least once a week. Bathing a clipping needs to be done less frequently.
The routine should go as follows:
- Brush your dog and remove any matts or tangles.
- Do a pre-bath clip or strip if your dog’s coats needs it.
- Bathe and rinse thoroughly.
- Towel dry and then use a dog hair dryer. If you don’t want to spend money on a specific dog dryer use one for humans set on no heat.
- Clean their ears with ear cleansing solution. Dry thoroughly.
- Clean eye stains if there are any. There are many solutions available.
- Trim their toenails.
- Brush their teeth.
- Brush again and apply any leave-in conditioner.
- Clip hair.
How to Groom Nails, Teeth and Ears
This should be done on a weekly basis. It is very important for their health and happiness. It may seem daunting to begin with, but after a bit of practice you will be doing this is no time at all.
Nail Trimming –
- Hold the foot steady.
- Snip off a small bit of the end of each toenail below the quick.
- Repeat on each foot and don’t forget the dewclaws.
Ear Cleaning –
- Gently take a hold of your dog’s head so that the open ear is exposed.
- Apply the cleansing solution.
- Using a sterile gauze, cotton wool or sponge, gently wipe out any excess solution.
Teeth Brushing –
- Apply some doggie toothpaste to the brush and let him lick it off.
- Fold up your dog’s lips and gently rub the toothbrush and toothpaste against your dog’s teeth and gums for a few seconds.
- Give your dog a treat, even if he only allows you to work on his teeth for a few seconds. Each time you try and you give him a treat the longer it will be.
How to Remove Matted Dog Hair
If you brush your dog regularly you should not have the problem of matted hair. Matted hair can be very painful for your best friend, so it is a great idea to learn how to do it yourself. However, if it is really, bad then you must visit a professional groomer.
Follow these tips for removing matted or tangled hair:
- If the matt isn’t too bad then spray with a detangler solution and use a comb to slowly work the matt free. Try not to pull too hard and work from the outside of the matt and slowly untangle.
- If the matt won’t come out with a comb you can use a matt rake. Be extremely careful when using these, as they are very sharp. You don’t want to be injuring your dog further by scratching or cutting him with the rake.
- If the matt rake doesn’t work then you can try a matt splitter. You use this by splitting the matt horizontally or vertically and then use a matt rake or comb to tackle the smaller parts. Again, be very careful with this sharp object.
- If all else has failed then slowly shave away the matt with a pair of guarded electric clippers.
Dog Grooming Guides
Before venturing out into grooming it is always good to have a read of any available literature that will help you. There are plenty of guides out there to help you.
As for purchasing any equipment we order ours from Christies Direct who provide everything you will ever need for grooming. They even have their own YouTube gallery to give you lots of tips.
Basic dog grooming is a skill all dog owners should try and learn at some stage. Not only will it save you money but it will also enhance your relationship with your pet. So why not give it a go? Remember, basic dog grooming is great for you and your pet, but the more in-depth grooming like deep cleansing of ears should be done by a qualified groomer or vet.
I hope you have enjoyed this post. Please feel free to leave any comments.
All the Best