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. Regular grooming and bathing will keep your precious pooch healthy—and your home clean and tidy.
Just like washing your face, bathing, and brushing your teeth makes you feel great, being fresh and clean also makes your dog feel amazing.
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, and how to find a good groomer, 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. Some of the more essential reasons for regular grooming include the following:
- Regular grooming makes your dog’s coat and skin healthy. Just brushing your dog’s coat can play a great 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 also claim that grooming is 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 keeps hygiene at high levels. Keeping your pet clean will not only make the pooch 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.
- Grooming also enhances the dog’s overall emotional and physical state. Your dog will be very happy and excited that you’re so close to it, and the treatment you give it will make it feel calm, relaxed, and satisfied.
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 on a regular basis.
If you choose to take your pooch to a professional, you need to take some things into consideration. Just like you carefully select a vet, kennel, or doggy daycare, you also need to be careful when it comes to selecting the right groomer for your fur baby.
If you choose to visit the local dog groomers, make sure that they have more than just good pet hairstyle skills. First and foremost, a good pet groomer should be familiar with the anatomy of the dog. They also need to be familiar with soothing techniques that will help your dog relax and feel comfortable with the overall grooming experience.
Furthermore, pet caretakers should also have good customer service skills, as well as communication skills. Good communication between a dog groomer and the dog owner is essential—dog owners must clearly tell the groomer what kind of treatment and hairstyle they want for their pet, while the groomer should give the owner some instructions on how to take care of their dog between grooming sessions. Additionally, a good pet groomer will respect the wishes of the dog owner and give their pet the hairstyle they ask for, just like a hairdresser.
Finding a pet groomer who has attended a dog grooming school will ensure that your pooch is in the hands of a trained and highly skilled professional. Moreover, good groomers regularly attend various accredited workshops, where they improve their skills and earn certifications.
For example, the International Professional Groomers, Inc., offers a rigorous certification program involving four written exams and five demonstrations. However, the National Dog Groomers Association of America offers the National Certified Master Groomer designation. No matter what, a good groomer has more than just a grooming kit. Their education may not be strict, but different skills and continuously working on improving them is what makes a professional groomer.
A Professional Pet Groomer’s Responsibilities
Besides taking care of the overall health and well-being of your dog, a professional pet groomer will also brush and cut your dog’s fur. They will clean and clip your dog’s nails, as well as check and clean its ears. Then, the pet groomer will bathe your pooch, dry it well, and style it’s fur. 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.
Where Can You Find a Professional Pet Groomer?
Professional groomers work in a great variety of settings. Their work environment includes pet stores and kennels, but it isn’t limited to this. Some groomers also make house calls, taking care of your pet in the comfort of your home.
There are also some walk-in dog groomers who will pamper your puppy without you making an appointment. Sometimes they can offer packages, as well as individual grooming services.
In addition to this, you can also find a good professional pet groomer at various pet shelters, veterinary facilities, or pet care shops.
The most important thing to do before deciding on a professional pet groomer is some thorough research, because your dog deserves the best care out there.
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 this is true for all pets, not just when it comes to dogs. Even though it can be a hard and tiring task, pet grooming at home is also a fun, relaxing, and bonding experience.
Bathing a Dog
Bathing your dog is important for maintaining good hygiene. Healthy dogs should be bathed to remove the odor and dirt from their fur and maintain the health of their skin and coat. Some of the benefits of bathing are removing loose hair and debris that has accumulated in your dog’s coat, as well as improving the shine of the dog’s fur. On the other hand, dogs that suffer from specific skin conditions have special dog bath plans that their vets have recommended.
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 pooch. It can be in the kitchen sink, bathtub, or 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 simply 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 a dog shampoo.
When it comes to dog shampoo, you can make your own from a variety of natural and organic ingredients, or you can buy one. Most people prefer buying shampoo, since it’s less time consuming. When buying shampoo for your fur friend, you should buy the 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, 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.
Brushing Your 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 on a weekly basis.
- Long-haired dogs should be brushed on a daily basis.
- 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.
Trimming Your Dog’s 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 where there’s matted and tangled hair should be trimmed, as well as any area that catches debris.
Clipping Your Dog’s Nails
Clipping dog nails is essential, but before taking your dog grooming clippers, you should know some important things. A dog’s nail is made of an outer and inner nail. The outer nail is hard, and you should cut it, while the inner nail is soft, and you should leave it as it is, 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 a good chance to examine your dog’s paws for wounds and infections. You should practice dog nail clipping once a month.
Cleaning Your Dog’s 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, cotton balls, tweezers, and medicated dog powder. According to a professional dog groomer, you should clean your dog’s ears every two weeks.
Cleaning Your Dog’s 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.
Cleaning Your Dog’s 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 some human toothpastes can have ingredients that are dangerous 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.
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.
- 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.
- Dog grooming table – also an essential for DIY grooming. You should choose it according to your dog’s size and weight. Grooming tables with rubber matting are the safest for your pet.
- De-shedding tool – reduces the amount of hair that your dog sheds around your home.
- Dog dryer – they are designed particularly for dogs to help you avoid damaging your pet’s skin.
- Nail clippers – it’s important that they are durable and especially made for dogs. There are electronic and manual options, but the choice is up to you.
You could also buy a dog bathing station, helper arm, stand dryer, or any other tool you find necessary for maintaining your dog’s grooming.
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 has to do with 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, and the grooming services the groomer is performing. 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 total price of the service. 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?
Grooming is not a very well-paid job. It’s more about the passion to help, combined with a love for animals. 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. 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?
The cost of grooming your dog depends on the breed and size of the dog, as well as your location, but a standard grooming costs anywhere between $30 and $90.
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.
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 giving it the bath. This will only make it scared. When you start bathing your pet, give it a treat, or a toy, so 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 fur 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 directions on the product. 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 sedatives that they have prescribed. The most common sedatives that vets prescribe are diazepam, acepromazine, and Benadryl.
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, so it will 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 dogs. 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 very important part of every family, and they deserve all the relaxation and pampering their owners can provide.