Dog Grooming 101

puppy washing

Keeping your dog well-groomed doesn’t just help them look great; it also helps keep them healthy in a variety of ways. 

Hygiene may not be high on your pet’s personal priority list, but just like humans, when dogs are not clean, the door opens for infections and all kinds of illnesses. That’s why it’s important to make sure they’re brushed, trimmed, and bathed regularly. 

But while you can always call in a mobile dog grooming company to take care of this task for you, that can be pretty costly for something you can learn to do on your own. If you’d rather save some money and become your pet’s personal stylist, take a look at this beginner’s guide to dog grooming.

The Benefits of a Well-Groomed Dog

Making sure your pet is clean and cared for offers an array of benefits for both their mental and physical health. 

Preventing Infection

Your pet’s eyes and ears are prone to infection, and the only way to help them avoid it is by regularly grooming them. The ears, in particular, have a lot of space for bacteria to make a home if you’re not careful to keep them squeaky clean.

Protecting Their Skin

Most dogs are more than content to roll in the mud, play in the dirt, run through the brush, and frolic in filth. While this behavior is only natural to them, it can allow for all kinds of issues like fleas and ticks, itching, knotted or matted fur, and more. Regular bathing can allow them to be themselves while still protecting their skin.

Protecting Their Paws

When their nails are not regularly trimmed, your dog can start experiencing some painful issues with their paws in both the short and long term. Long nails can make it more difficult for them to walk and can eventually lead to joint issues as they age. Trimming their nails can be a tricky task, but it’s well worth it for your pet’s well-being.

Maintaining Their Oral Health

If you’d like to avoid unbearable dog breath and painful issues with your pup’s oral health, you should brush their teeth regularly using a special doggy toothbrush and toothpaste.

dog grooming

A Beginner’s Guide to Dog Grooming

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why you should keep your pet well-groomed. If you want to learn how to do it yourself, take a look at these grooming tips.

Essential Dog Grooming Tools

There’s a whole world of tools that can help you keep your pet clean and healthy. Some of them simply offer extra convenience and luxury, but the following tools are absolutely essential: 

  • Brush or comb
  • Dog grooming scissors
  • Nail clippers and file
  • Dog shampoo
  • Ear and eye wash
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste 

When you start seeking these tools for your pet grooming endeavors, you’ll find many options available. While you don’t necessarily have to pay top dollar for the best dog grooming clippers or shampoos, it is often worthwhile to invest in quality tools that can last longer, perform more effectively, and make your job easier.

Extra Tools to Consider

If you have all the essentials and still have some room in your budget for some other useful additions to your dog grooming kit, consider the following:

  • Dog grooming vacuum
  • Grooming blow dryer
  • Dog grooming tub

You can generally make do without these items, but there’s no doubt that they can make your life easier and your pet even cleaner if you decide to invest in them.

Tips for Grooming Coats

Many pet owners would prefer to have their dog’s hair trimmed by a professional groomer, but having special grooming scissors on hand to do a little maintenance here and there is still a great idea. You can remove knots and keep their coat from becoming too unruly with some simple trimming from time to time. 

Even more important than regular trimming is regular brushing. Different breeds have different brushing requirements, but all of them need to have their coat tended to regularly in order to avoid knotting, matting, skin issues, and more. 

Tips for Nail Trimming

You don’t want to jump into trimming your dog’s nails without any knowledge of best practices because trimming them too short can lead to bleeding, pain, and infection. Make sure to practice significant caution and use the proper tools. 

When trimming your dog’s nails, you only want to get the very ends so you can avoid cutting to the quick. Sometimes, you can see the quick through the nail, but in certain nails, you’ll have to do some guessing, which is why it’s best to go nice and slow and err on the side of caution.

Tips for Bathing

Bathing your dog isn’t all that different from bathing yourself, except you’ll want to keep the water lukewarm, not hot, and exercise extra caution keeping water out of their ears, as infection is common in this area. 

You should only use hair products designed specifically for dogs, as human products can dry out and irritate their skin. Bathing your pet too often can also cause issues with their skin and coat, so limit it to every four to six weeks. And make sure to brush them before and after their bath.

Tips for Cleaning Eyes and Ears

Your dog’s eyes can be cleaned during baths or using a cotton ball and some eye wash designed for dogs. Ears should not be washed during baths but, instead, should be cleaned using a cotton ball and doggy ear wash. Do not go into your dog’s ear canal when cleaning. Be gentle and keep outside.

Tips for Brushing Teeth

Your dog is not likely to enjoy having their teeth brushed, but it’s essential if you want to protect their oral health. Use a doggy toothbrush and toothpaste combo to give them a nice brushing a few times a week.

A Healthy Dog Is a Happy Dog

Follow these tips, and you should have no problem keeping your dog looking, smelling, and feeling good. And remember that grooming your pup won’t always be fun, but it will always be worth it.

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Jeffrey Manheimer

I have grown up with dogs my entire life. My current fur baby is Frankie, a Bernese Mountain dog that is scared of flies, running water and the gameshow Jeopardy. Her health and joints have been managed by key supplements, vitamins and a variety of food.

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