Dog Grooming Basics

Written by Jennifer Pitts

Many prefer to use professional services to keep their dog clean and groomed but it is much better to do some of these things yourself since this improves your relation with your pet. Here are some dog grooming basics to keep your pet healthy and happy.

The reason why you should do this yourself is because it is a part of the time you spend with your pet and it makes you grow more accustomed to one another. At the same time this is the cheapest method of grooming and it saves you time by not having to go to a professional or to the vet.

Bathing the Dog

Cats usually clean themselves but still require bathing from time to time, but with dogs it’s a completely different matter and since you should take them for a walk on a daily basis they really need to be kept clean.

Bathing is something that should be done regularly but they don’t need it as often as we humans do. There isn’t a set time when a dog should bathe because it depends on their breed, time spent outdoors, living environment and other things.

It is generally a good idea to bathe your dog once a month and most veterinarians say that you shouldn’t do it more often than once a week. If your pet is a puppy when you start bathing him then there won’t be any problems with this process.

Use the right shampoo; choose a formula designed for your dog because the ones that are appropriate for humans might be harmful for your pet. You vet can help you pick the best product for this task.

The process should start from the neck down and you should be careful not to get water into the dog’s ears because this can lead to real health problems. If the dog permits it try stuffing some cotton balls into the ears but avoid spraying water there.

When it comes to drying be careful because dogs might get scared by the noise of a blow drier and if they aren’t used right they could burn the skin of the pet. A simple towel that is highly absorbent should be the only tool you need if you know what you’re doing.

Brushing the Dog

This prevents skin irritation, removes the dead hair from the coat and will prevent excessive shedding so you won’t have hair all over the house. The grooming tools available are designed specifically for certain types of hair and dog breeds so make sure you choose carefully the one that suits your dog.

The frequency of the brushing depends on how long the dog’s hair is and longhaired dogs might require this activity to be done daily. Dogs with shorter hair might only get this treatment once a month, but the best way to find out the right time is by simply watching the quality of the hair.

Brushing should always be done outward from the skin and there are products such as grooming sprays that will help the brush go over any snags or mats they have, making this process more pleasant and less harmful to them.

Taking Care of the Claws

The nails of dogs keep growing but through activities such as digging or scratching they are kept in check. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors then the nails are probably trimmed by their explorations, but if you keep your dog indoors most of the time then this is something you need to do yourself.

The nail trimming is something quite unpleasant for the dog and thus the owner is oftentimes worried of harming the pet and if this is the case then the best idea is to leave this to a professional. If you see how they approach the process you might then start doing this at home with more confidence.

Depending on your dog’s breed and daily activities you might need to trim the nails each week or at least once a month and if you start from an early age the dog will get used to the procedure while you will become more skilled as well.

Never use your toenail clippers for this because they won’t be comfortable and there are tools designed specifically for this task so buy one of those instead when you decide to do this yourself.


Just as is the case with humans this is something we often leave to the professional groomers but you can also do this yourself after consulting a vet or groomer. The breed determines the appropriate haircut and even if you have some longhaired dog it might not be the best idea to cut his hair short during the summer.

Bathe the dog first, dry him with a towel, use sharp scissors for the face and feet, after which you should continue with electric clippers for the bulk of the body. A quiet and comfortable setting is the best place for this process because you won’t want your dog to jump up at sudden noises.

About the author

Jennifer Pitts

I love pets and I love animals. I have 2 dogs and 3 cats and it's not enough for me.

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