Even as we move into the new year, many pet owners may be looking for ways to provide their animals with the level of care that they need without putting a strain on their budget. Fortunately, even in these uncertain times, there are always DIY solutions, especially when it comes to dog grooming at home. In the go-to guide below, we’ll lay out the steps, considerations, and materials that you’ll need to help you make your pup look spectacular. 

Dog Grooming at Home: What You Need to Get Started

Every great pet owner knows that there are certain tools designed specifically for your pet’s needs. These minor investments can go a long way in keeping your dog looking spick and span. But what exactly which tools do you need to get started? 

Some of the essentials that we recommend having include: 

  • A dog hair-clipper set: As you can imagine, grooming your dog with the human clippers you have at home may not be the best idea. Instead, look for clippers designed specifically for your pet. If you do plan on using scissors, which may be necessary for some breeds, make sure to exercise use with caution so as to avoid potential injuries. 
  • Dog nail trimmers (along with styptic powder): Long nails can cause problems for dogs, which is why it is essential that you have a pair of trimmers at a home. Make sure to reach out to an expert so that you know exactly what you’re doing to eliminate the potential for injury. If you’re still a bit squeamish about this step, there are plenty of modern-day tools that are designed to make the process safer. If an accident occurs, either while trimming your dog’s nails or their fur, have styptic powder on hand to stop the bleeding. 
  • Wide/fine-tooth combs and brushes: Dogs with a lot of fur need to be properly groomed to avoid matting or even to get out all of the shedding hair hidden in their coat. Have a vast array of dog brushes on hand to help you keep them clean inside and outside of your grooming sessions. 
  • High-quality shampoo and conditioner (if needed): The good news is that there is no lack of excellent shampoo and condition products that are dog-friendly. Whether you’re doing an intensive grooming session or just giving them a bath, stock up on these so that they’re always on hand. 
  • Blow dryers: Blow dryers can be helpful for long-haired breeds who require a great deal of care. Just make sure that you’re exercising caution when using them around water and your pup.
  • Tools for cleaning their teeth: Good oral health is a must for your canine companion. Have toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other oral cleaning tools that you can use regularly throughout the week. 
  • Professional tools like tables and arms: Some dogs are very complaints. Others… not so much. Dog grooming tables with arms can help you keep your dog still and make sure that they stay in place while you’re grooming them. You may also want to have treats on hand to help them feel more comfortable while being groomed. That being said, there are some precautions you’ll have to take, which we’ll cover further down in this guide. 
  • Grooming wipes and ear-cleaners: Dogs get dirty, and when it comes to tools that help them get that deep-clean they need, the more, the merrier. Have various products like grooming wipes and ear-cleaners that help you keep every part of your pup clean and hygienic. 
  • Plenty of towels: With all of this washing and drying, you’re sure to need to have plenty of towels at your disposal. 

Although the list above is quite extensive, it’s essential to have these tools to keep your dog as clean and as happy as possible!

Preparing to Groom Your Pup: What Goes Into At-Home Grooming?

The process of grooming your dog is relatively easy, despite what the list of materials above may lead you to believe. 

Start by brushing out your dog and getting them excited for bathtime ahead. Once they’ve been properly cared for and are ready for your bath/bonding time, wet them, wash them, brush them out, rinse them, condition them (if necessary), and dry them off, making sure that you are being gentle and careful throughout the process so that they stay calm and so that you avoid getting soap and water in their eyes or other sensitive areas. 

Once they’ve been washed and dried, you can then begin slowly grooming them, introducing them to items like clippers to ensure that they feel safe and become accustomed to these tools. You may need to spray clipper coolant or use multiple products to prevent the clippers from getting too hot and causing discomfort to your dog. If you’re going to be using scissors, make sure that they’re blunt and being used cautiously so as to avoid injury. Use other tools like grooming wipes, ear-cleaners, nail trimmers during this process to provide a comprehensive grooming session for your dog. You may want to use a hairdryer along with your brush at this stage to get all of the excess hair out as well. 

There are some things that may need to be done by a specialist, such as expressing a dog’s anal sacs, so getting to the groomer every so often will still be a requirement (unless you are taught how to do this). 

Learning how to groom your dog takes time. However, if you put the work to make sure that the two of you feel comfortable, that you’re learning how to provide them with the proper care, and that they’re getting the high-quality care they deserve, it may just be worth it!

Putting Grooming on Paws: Dog Grooming Mistakes to Avoid

Grooming your dog is not something that should be forced and, unfortunately, there are plenty of mistakes that owners can make that could result in a bad experience for your pup. In order to ensure that you have the smoothest grooming sessions possible, take a look at these top dog grooming mistakes to avoid. 

  1. Don’t do anything you’re uncertain of: There should be no guesswork involved in grooming your dog. If you feel uncertain about doing anything, bring your dog to a specialist who can take care of that aspect for you as well as teach you how to do it on your own the right way. 
  2. Don’t attempt to engage in any activities that would warrant a vet visit: If you see that your dog is experiencing any health issues or if any serious harm is experienced throughout your home grooming sessions, do not try to treat them by yourself. Take them to the vet immediately. 
  3. Don’t ignore your dog’s behavior: If your dog is clearly stressed, don’t push through grooming. This can only make it more difficult to groom them in the future. Take your time, make them feel comfortable, and don’t force them to undergo grooming if they’re clearly being negatively impacted by the process. Your dog’s emotional state is just as important as their physical health!

Choosing to groom your dog at home is most certainly a viable option. However, it’s important that you’re properly prepared for grooming your pup before you make your first attempt. If you’ve been looking into dog grooming at home but don’t know where to get started, use the comprehensive guide above to learn more about tools, steps, and considerations to make when you want to start helping your furry friend clean up nice.