If you want to adopt or buy a dog, or you’re already a dog parent, it’s essential that you know everything there is to know about dog grooming.
Knowing how to give a dog a bath, how to groom a dog, and maintaining their teeth, nails, and fur will keep your precious puppy healthy—and your home clean and tidy.
This handy guide will teach you everything you need to know about keeping your dog clean and healthy, and it will also answer some burning questions.
So if you want to know more about pet supplies, dog haircuts, how to find a good groomer, or how to groom a dog at home, keep reading.
Why Is Dog Grooming Important?
Grooming your pet and giving it an attractive dog haircut will make your pooch beautiful, but there’s so much more to it.
Questions as simple as how often should you bathe your dog are often on new dog owners’ minds. With knowledge and experience, you’ll be able to answer each and take care of your dog correctly.
Some of the more fundamental reasons for regular grooming include the following:
Does regular grooming make your dog’s coat and skin healthy?
Absolutely! Just brushing your dog’s coat can play a significant role in revitalizing its coat and skin since it enhances blood flow, which makes the skin more healthy.
Additionally, it removes the parasites and pests that may have nested in your dog’s coat.
Dog groomers know it’s the best way to monitor your dog’s health.
While grooming and going over your dog’s body, you’ll be able to see whether there are any bruises, cuts, rashes, or other issues. Discovering health issues in time will prevent the deterioration of your dog’s health.
Regular grooming maintains hygiene.
Keeping your pet clean will not only make the puppy happy, but it will also make your home sparkling clean. Animal grooming impacts both the pet and the owner.
Grooming creates and boosts the emotional connection between the pet and the owner.
Bathing and grooming your dog also means showing it affection and enhancing the love bond between you. What’s more, it boosts the dog’s mental well-being.
You don’t need professional dog grooming supplies to do this either. It’s just a matter of making a connection between you and your dog. This alone will improve your dog’s overall emotional state.
Professional Dog Groomers
You can have your dog groomed professionally, or you can do it yourself. No matter which option you choose, the important thing is to groom your canine friend regularly.
If you choose to take your dog to a good pet groomer, you need to consider some points. Here are some things the dog groomer must have:
- Proper dog grooming school education
- Knowledge of dog anatomy and soothing techniques
- Good communication skills
- Respectful of dog owners wishes
- Have certificates from accredited workshops
- Love for dogs
The last point is an obvious one, but you will be leaving your baby with this person, and observing their interaction with your dog is vital.
How much to groom a dog professionally?
Naturally, dog groomers’ prices vary according to the grooming service you want for your dog. Some owners give their dogs a full pampering experience, and others may require just bathing or nail clipping.
Then there is the ultimate question of how much to tip your dog groomer? This, of course, depends significantly on the quality of the service. However, about 10% to 15% tip is a good rule of thumb.
DIY Dog Grooming at Home
If you don’t want to pay a professional to groom your canine friend, or you simply want to bond with your pet, you can do the grooming yourself.
However, you should be aware that pet grooming at home is not an easy task, and you will need several dog grooming equipment.
Even though it can be challenging and tiring, pet grooming at home is also a fun, relaxing, and bonding experience.
How to Bathe a Dog
Bathing your dog is essential for maintaining good hygiene. Healthy dogs should be bathed to remove the odor and dirt from their fur and maintain their skin and coat’s health.
Bathing your dog is much more complicated than putting it in a tub and turning on the water.
First, you need to decide on the place where you’ll bathe your dog. It can be in the kitchen sink, bathtub, shower, or even in the backyard, provided the weather is warm and nice.
Then, you will need some bathing tools, like towels, and a helper, in case your dog is a bit nervous or scared, or it merely hates baths.
If you have a dirty dog, grooming and washing will also require a washcloth for cleaning your dog’s face, cotton balls to prevent water from getting in its ears, and dog shampoo.
When it comes to dog shampoo, you can make your own from various natural and organic ingredients, or you can buy one. Most people prefer buying shampoo since it’s less time-consuming.
When buying a shampoo for your fur friend, you should buy one that doesn’t have harsh chemicals like sulfates and fragrances. The dog wash experience will be even better if the shampoo has certified organic ingredients.
It’s also recommended that you avoid buying shampoos with D-trans allethrin, a chemical that’s suspected of disrupting the endocrine system.
Additionally, you should avoid resmethrin, pyriproxyfen, and S-methoprene, which are dangerous when mixed with other ingredients that can be found in dog shampoos.
Shampoos that have oatmeal are also potentially dangerous for your dog since some animals have problems with grains.
However, your puppy bath can be even better if you use some natural oils.
Organic coconut oil is excellent for rejuvenating the skin, while organic sesame seed oil is good for moisturizing.
Moreover, the organic jojoba seed oil is perfect for sensitive skin, and organic aloe vera provides the skin with vitamins, amino acids, and many other healthy compounds.
Finally, organic shea butter can also revitalize and moisturize your pet’s skin, while organic olive oil works as a moisturizer and adds shine to your dog’s hair.
How long does it take to groom a dog? Again, this greatly depends on the size of your dog, its temperament, and length of fur. It can take anywhere between 15 minutes for a bath to 1 hour, and that’s without brushing, clipping nails, and drying.
When bathing a dog, first start with the head gently and avoid getting water in its ears. Wet the whole body, apply shampoo from the head, and move onto the rest of the body and tail.
Don’t overlook the importance of washing their legs, paws, belly, and behind. Massage shampoo in until well lathered and wash off, again starting with the head down. Of course, take care to protect the eyes and ears.
How to Brush a Dog
Your basic dog grooming supplies should include a good dog brush. Brushing your dog’s fur gets rid of the dirt and prevents the fur from shedding. It also enhances blood circulation and evenly spreads the natural oils on the fur.
Furthermore, it prevents hair tangling, and most importantly, it reveals any injuries or scratches your pet might have.
How often you should brush your dog’s fur depends on the type of coat it has. Generally, pet groomers recommend the following:
- Short-haired dogs should be brushed weekly.
- Long-haired dogs should be brushed daily.
- Thick-coated dogs need to be brushed two or three times a week.
- Shedding dogs should be brushed every day.
- Puppies should be introduced to brushing gradually to make the experience comfortable.
Knowing how to groom a dog with matted hair requires some skill, however, not to mention time. You will need a quality brush and, if necessary, clippers for the most severe matting.
How to Cut Dog Hair
Apart from brushing, your dog may also need regular hair trimming. You should always ask your vet for hair trimming advice.
It’s also important to use blunt-nosed dog grooming shears and never point them toward your dog.
The most common areas that require hair trimming are around the eyes, especially if the hair blocks the dog’s vision or causes any irritation.
Then, focus on the lower jaw and chin hair since this area traps food, and the hair around the anus, because it traps feces.
Furthermore, any area with matted and tangled fur or any area that catches debris should be trimmed.
How to Cut a Dog’s Nails
Clipping dog nails is essential, but you should know some important things before taking your dog grooming clippers.
A dog’s nail is made of an outer and inner part.
The outer nail is hard, and you should cut it, while the inner nail is soft, and you should avoid it because it can hurt and bleed if cut.
You should regularly clip your dog’s nails because long nails could break and cause pain and infection.
Some mobile dog groomers say that this is also an excellent chance to examine your dog’s paws for wounds and infections.
You should practice dog nail clipping once a month, but if you don’t know how to trim a dog’s nails, we recommend turning to a groomer.
How to Clean Dogs Ears
Ear cleaning prevents infections and removes dirt and mites from your pet’s ears.
Every dog’s ears are sensitive, so you should be very careful while cleaning them.
You’ll need a cleaning solution and a towel. According to a professional dog groomer, you should clean your dog’s ears every two weeks.
It’s a relatively simple process:
- Gather your supplies.
- Fill the ear with a cleaning solution and massage the ear for about 30 seconds.
- Allow the dog to shake its head and wipe down the excess solution.
How to Clean Dog Eyes
At least once every two weeks you should inspect your dog’s eyes and clean them. Healthy eyes are usually bright and clear, while redness and eye discharge are signs of problems.
If you notice that something is out of the ordinary with your dog’s eyes, immediately consult your vet.
- Wet a washcloth with room temperature water.
- Wipe the area around the eyes to loosen or wipe dirt or eye boogers.
- Take care to do it slowly, avoiding the eye itself and not stressing the dog.
How to Brush Dogs Teeth
Cleaning your pet’s teeth should also be a regular part of your canine grooming routine. Regular teeth brushing can prevent gingivitis, halitosis, swollen gums, and periodontal diseases.
Just like humans, dogs also need a daily tooth washing routine. However, only use toothpaste made for dogs because products made for humans have dangerous ingredients for dogs.
Besides brushing, you can also give your canine friend some dental chews to make sure their oral hygiene is on a high level.
- Give your pup a small taste of the toothpaste to get it acquainted with it.
- Lift your dog’s lip and using a dog-approved toothbrush or suitable alternative to brush its teeth and gums as you would your own.
- Make sure to reach back to the molars as they are more prone to tartar.
- Reward your pup when you finish encouraging good feelings with the procedure.
Dog Grooming Tools You’ll Need
The list of tools available to help you in grooming your dog is quite lengthy, but here are some of the basic ones:
- Rubber brush – perfect for dogs with smooth fur coats since it’s very gentle on the skin.
- Our rubber brush recommendation: La Salon Essentials
- Bristle brush – good for fluffing your dog’s fur coat and giving it those finishing touches. It’s also suitable for all dog types and breeds, and it can be soft, medium, and stiff.
- Our bristle brush recommendation: Hertzko Self-Cleaning Brush
- Dog grooming table – a great helper for grooming. You should choose it according to your dog’s size and weight. Grooming tables with rubber matting are the safest for your pet.
- Our favorite dog grooming table: Polar Aurora Pingkay Grooming Table
- De-shedding tool – reduces the amount of hair that your dog sheds around your home.
- Our favorite deshedding tool: King Komb
- Dog dryer – they are designed particularly for dogs to help you avoid damaging your pet’s skin.
- Our favorite dog dryer: Shelandy Hair Dryer
- Dog bath tub – an optional extra that just makes bathing comfortable for you and your dog. Plus, it helps control the mess.
- Our favorite bath tub: Furesh Elevated Tub
- Dog bathing shower head – designed specifically for washing dogs and getting well into the fur.
- Our favorite dog bathing showerhead: Wondurdog Dog Wash Shower Kit
- Nail Grinder – it’s important that they are durable and specially made for dogs. There are electronic and manual options, but the choice is up to you. You can also check out our full list of recommended nail grinders.
- Our favorite nail grinder: FURminator Nail Grinder for Dogs
- Dog toothbrush and toothpaste – those made for humans are not suitable for your pups. Never brush with human toothpaste. You can also take a look at our full list of top toothpaste products.
- Our favorite toothpaste for dogs: Sentry Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs
- Dog shampoo – you can’t use human shampoo on your pup as it has many added chemicals that may be harmful to their skin and fur. There are many shampoo options out there. We even reviewed the best-ranked dog shampoos on the market.
- Our favorite shampoo for dogs: Holistapet CBD Shampoo
- Dog grooming scissors – you can easily find high-quality scissors for maintaining your dog’s fur at very reasonable prices. Their best use is for helping get rid of matted fur.
- Our favorite grooming scissors: Gimars 4CR Grooming Shears Set
- Dog clippers – the fastest and easiest way to maintain your dog’s fur. We put together a great selection of the best dog clippers for fur designed specifically for dogs.
- Our favorite dog clippers: Andis AGC2 Pet Clippers
- Towels and washcloths – for drying and cleaning eyes and ears.
You could also buy a dog bathing station, helper arm, and plenty of other interesting tools to make the task easier and more enjoyable for both of you.
How do you bathe a dog?
You should always brush your dog before giving it a bath to work out any matted fur, and never leave your dog unattended during a bath.
The most important aspect of learning how to bathe a dog is making sure that the dog is calm and relaxed before you start bathing it.
- Place a bath mat down to prevent your dog from slipping, and make sure it is comfortable.
- Use warm water, and make sure it doesn’t get in your dog’s eyes and ears.
- Cotton balls can prevent water from coming into your pet’s ears.
- Finally, use a towel or a pet dryer to make sure your dog is dry.
How often should you take your dog to the groomers?
The answer to this question depends both on the health needs of the owner and the dog.
If the dog owner is allergic to dog hair, a thorough brushing two times a week and a bath once a week should be enough.
However, if the dog has a health issue, the vet will make a special grooming plan for you.
Moreover, the number of your groomer visits will also depend on the dog breed. Some breeds are low-maintenance, while some require very frequent visits to the salon.
How long does dog grooming take?
On average, grooming takes about two to three hours.
However, the total grooming time also depends on the size and breed of your dog. Of course, the grooming services the groomer is performing add to how long it takes.
Larger breeds with thicker fur coats can take even longer than three hours.
Do you tip dog groomers?
Grooming is very demanding, both physically and emotionally, and in general, you should tip your groomer 15% to 20% of the service’s total price.
Sometimes groomers do some extra services that they don’t charge for, so leaving a tip shows gratitude and appreciation for their effort.
How much do dog groomers make?
A retail groomer makes $10 to $14 per hour, on average.
A freelance groomer can make up to $29,000 a year, while a salon groomer makes approximately $22 per dog, earning on average $28,000 per year.
Still, grooming is not a very well-paid job. It’s more about the passion for working with dogs, combined with a love for animals.
This doesn’t include tips, and depending on the salon, some groomers’ earnings may rise when they gain experience.
How much does it cost to get your dog groomed?
General standard grooming costs anywhere between $30 and $90. The cost of grooming your dog depends on the breed and size of the dog. Your location also plays a role.
Is it better to bathe a dog outside?
It’s much easier to bathe medium and large-sized dogs outside. And this is also a good solution for dogs who try to jump out of the bathtub.
As you’re figuring out how to bathe a dog outside, you’ll likely discover that the best and easiest way is by using a garden hose with low pressure.
You should always check the water temperature, as it might be too hot in the summer or too cold in cooler months.
How should you bathe a dog in the tub?
If you need to know how to bathe a dog in the tub, keep in mind that you should always use a non-slip mat, and never fill the tub too much because dogs can drown.
You can use your shower head or buckets of water and a ladle to bathe your pet.
How should you bathe a dog with fleas?
Giving a dog that has fleas a bath is not much more complicated than regular bathing.
When it comes to how to bathe a dog with fleas, the process is the same, except instead of regular dog shampoo, you should use a homemade or store-bought flea shampoo.
To avoid this, we highly recommend you take preventive steps, so your dog doesn’t get fleas in the first place. Check out our Best Flea Treatment article for the most effective ways to protect your pup.
How do you bathe a dog that hates water?
Many dogs hate taking baths, and even though you may never get your dog to adore baths, you can make the overall experience less traumatic.
Before starting the preparation for its bath, you should teach your dog to associate a certain word with bath time and take away the surprise factor.
If you’re just now learning how to bathe a dog that hates water, keep in mind that you should never chase your dog before bathing it. This will only make it scared.
When you start bathing your pet, give it a treat or a toy so that it can associate bath time with a reward.
Additionally, use warm water because cold water makes dogs panic, and never douse your pet with running water. You can even use a pet sprayer shower attachment to make bath time more relaxing.
How do you bathe a dog sprayed by a skunk?
A skunk-scent covered dog is quite hard to wash but not impossible.
The first step in learning how to bathe a dog sprayed by a skunk should be checking your dog’s eyes and face and decontaminating them with the appropriate products.
Then, spray your dog’s coat with a neutralizer and leave to dry. You can find a commercial skunk neutralizer in your vet’s office or a local pet store—just follow the product’s directions.
Finally, give your dog a regular bath, and make sure it’s thoroughly dry.
What’s the best way to sedate a dog for grooming?
The best way how to sedate a dog at home for grooming is by delivering its medication along with its food or a treat if the dog isn’t willing to eat it.
Always follow your vet’s advice on the dosage, and only give your dog the sedatives that they have prescribed.
The most common sedatives that vets prescribe are diazepam, acepromazine, and Benadryl.
However, if possible, we recommend getting your dog used to grooming, so sedation will not be necessary as that is even more stressful for them.
What’s the best way to calm a dog for grooming?
If you’re worried about how to calm a dog for grooming, know that you can also do it without sedatives.
One of the easiest ways is to take it for a walk and tire it out by playing with it.
You could also relax your dog by giving it a treat when the grooming starts to associate it with a positive thing.
Moreover, try to pat and touch them continuously during grooming since their owner’s touch is another proven trick that calms them.
Lastly, you could also try aromatherapy or lighting a scented candle during the grooming process.
How do you restrain a dog while grooming it?
The easiest way how to restrain a dog while grooming is by using a non-slip table and a comfortable restraint.
A loop for your dog’s neck will keep it standing straight.
However, if it bites, you should use both a muzzle and a restraint. Be gentle but firm with your dog, and make sure your pet is comfortable.
The Bottom Line
We hope that this grooming guide will help all future and existing dog owners take better care of their furry friends.
Dog grooming should be a fun bonding experience for both the owner and the dog, and hopefully, our advice and tips will make it so.
Pets are a crucial part of every family, and they deserve all the relaxation and pampering their owners can provide.