Your All in One Guide: How to Groom a Dog

Wondering how to groom a dog the right way?

Getting your dog professionally groomed does have excellent results, to be honest but, it can burn a huge hole in your pocket—especially if you’re on a tight budget which is why it is easier to groom your dog at home.

But, just because you’re grooming your dog at home, it doesn’t mean that your dog can’t look like his handsome self!

Grooming your dog in a regular basis is important to ensure that your dog is free from pests and diseases. In this blog post, we will teach your how to groom a dog the right way to help keep your furry friend looking fresh and handsome than ever!

Let’s get started, shall we?

Here we go.

Pre-Bathing Rituals: The Right Way to Groom Your Dog

Bathing your dog is one of the most important steps in the process of grooming but, not a lot of dog owners get it right.

Did you know that in order for your dog to look awesome, you need to groom him before bathing as well?

I bet you didn’t know that.

I would like to kick this article off by my super-secret pre-bath ritual with you so that your furry friend looks his best!

Here we go.

Gather All Your Essentials

Looking for the tools you need while grooming your dog can be a little frustrating, especially if your dog is a runner. So, the first step that I recommend you take is to ensure that you’ve got everything you need with you.

Here’s a list of things to have with you before grooming your dog:

  • Curry brush or glove
  • Ear cleaner
  • Pet toothbrush
  • Cotton ball/cloth
  • Dog shampoo
  • Collar
  • Dog nail clippers
  • Blow dryer/towel
  • Rubbing alcohol

Thank me later!

I personally recommend that you make yourself a “dog grooming kit” in which you can keep all the essentials and store them so that you don’t have to run around looking for them everywhere.

Comb Out All The Knots

Want to know the secret to mat-free fur?  

Comb or brush your dog on a regular basis!

This is something that I recommend all dog owners to do—regardless of the breed of the dog. You should brush your dog everyday or every other day depending on the amount of hair he has.

However, don’t skip the combining either!

Did you know that a comb will get stuck on angles that your brush would pass over?

Combing your dog on a bi-weekly basis ensures that your dog’s coat would remain mat-free. You should comb your dog before bathing him because mats tend to become  tighter and less manageable after shampooing once they dry.

Begin combing your dog on the head and then, move down his body. You need to be extra careful when you’re combing near sensitive areas such as under the belly and the tail.

Here are some tips and tricks that might work for you:

  • If you come across a tangle while combing, you should use a brush to try and work the tangle out. Keep in mind that you can cause your furry friend to have a brush burn if you spend a long time on the same spot
  • Curry brushes and gloves are easy solutions for brushing short-haired dogs
  • For long-coated dogs, it is the best idea to invest in specialized tools such as a pin brush, an undercoat rake, a steel comb, slicker, etc.

If your dog is calm and quiet during the brushing process, reward your dog for the quiet behavior as it encourages your furry friend. In fact, give your furry friend a treat of he’s being really good!

This reinforces the good behavior.

– Have a Cup of Tea: Take Breaks!

One of the biggest mistakes that new dog owners make when it comes to grooming is that they overwhelm their doggy friend.

This means that the dog starts to associate grooming as something negative.

In the longer run, your dog might not like getting groomed and could even be a lot to handle! So, you should try to make grooming a happy and fun experience for your dog instead.

Don’t forget to give your dog—and yourself—little breaks in between the grooming sessions. You can also make things easier for you by reinforcing good behavior using pets, play time, and treats.

It’ll also keep your furry friend distracted for a while!

Keep in mind that breaks are crucial for puppies in training so that they can tolerate grooming and be good boys about it.

Cutting Where it Counts

Certain severe mats can’t simply be brushed out without hurting your dog which would make grooming a painful and possibly even a traumatic experience for your furry friend.

So, what to do instead?

You can’t leave the mats be as they may pull the skin as your doggy friend moves about in his day to day life. The best thing to do in this situation is to cut or even shave the hairs off.

Keep in mind to be extremely cautious while using scissors. They can hurt your furry friend.

If you don’t want your dog to look like he was cut by an amature, you should try to cut parallel to the hair growth for best results.

Take Precautions Where It Counts

Following are certain precautions you should take:

  • If you don’t trust your judgement and feel that you might not be able to remove the hair in a safe manner, visit a professional groomer to avoid risk of serious injury
  • In some cases, the mats can get extremely tight that the dog may get bacterial infections on his skin. If you think your dog might have an underlying infection, take him to the vet
  • If your dog has a bacterial infection, the symptoms include moisture, redness, and even puss in advanced stages
  • If your dog has been licking, chewing, or scratching the particular area an awful lot, he may have an infection

Clean Your Puppy’s Eyes

Dogs breeds that have predominantly white hair or large eyes that tend to water a lot like Pugs, Pekingese, Pomeranians, Maltese, etc. need a lot more maintenance on the face as compared to other breeds.

This depends on the individual dog as well.

In this step, we want you to wipe your dog’s eyes and pull out any debris that may be in that area. Some breeds are prone to getting tear stains which are completely normal. There are a lot of tear stain removal products available on the market to choose from.

  • Healthy eyes are clear and don’t have unusual discharge or have signs of irritation
  • You shouldn’t try to trim the hair around your dog’s eyes by yourself as you can seriously injure your dog. Seeking the help of a professional groomer or vet is a better idea

Clean Those Ears

It is normal for dogs as well as their human buddies to have wax in the ears–that’s how nature intended it to be. However, a smell or bad odor is something that you should definitely get looked into.

Healthy ear wax doesn’t smell bad.

When cleaning your dog’s ears, the best and most simple solution is to use ear cleaning solution and a cotton round. You should use the amount recommended on the bottle but, be sure not to use too much of!

All you have to do is to gently wipe the wax and dirt away from your furry friend’s ears.

However, make sure that you aren’t running vigorously!  

This can cause your dog to have sores and can even hurt. That’s never nice.

If your furry friend has drop ears, you should wipe the inside of your dog’s ear flags as the dust likes to hind in there, too.

Here are some simple and easy steps to follow:

  • Bring the solution to body temperature before you go ahead and put it in your dog’s ears. You can do this by placing the solution in a water bath like one does with a bottle feeder
  • Once you’ve wiped your dog’s ear using a damp cotton ball, you should dry it using a dry cloth
  • Cuddle and pet your doggy friend for being a good sport! Ears are extremely sensitive and your dog deserves the praise!

Errr… Ear Infections!?

Infected ears is a real and painful problem that your dog might be facing. You should call your vet if your furry friend has red, swollen, irritated, blackened, or dark ears.

  • Sores and discharge out of your dog’s ears—especially something that smells bad–should prompt you to call the vet immediately
  • Inflammation, odor, etc. are serious problems and need immediate medical attention

Brush Those Pearly Whites!

Did you know that about 85 percent of dogs over the age of 4 have gum disease?

That’s not all, though.

Dogs have various other dental issues which includes cracked teeth, loose teeth, crooked teeth, tooth infection, and abscess! These diseases are manageable if you diagnose them in the early stages.

However, that hardly happens!

The thing is that dogs are excellent at hiding their pain—which is an animal instinct that they have. Dogs don’t let you know that they’re in pain until it isn’t bearable for them because any signs of weakness in the wild means that they’re prone to getting attacked.

So, what can you do?

You can prevent the diseases from happening altogether and save yourself some money and hassle.

And, save your dog from the unnecessary pain.

Did you know that most of the dental issues in dogs are highly preventable via regular brushing?

– Get a Dog-friendly Toothbrush and Toothpaste

One of the rookie mistakes that I see new dog owners make all the time is that they use human tooth brushes on their furry friends.

The idea behind it, I understand, isn’t malicious.

People just believe that dog toothbrushes are a marketing gimmick and that they have the same functions of a regular toothbrush.

That’s not true, though.

We recommend that you get your furry friend a dog toothbrush because of the following reasons:

  1. Dog toothbrushes easily access the crevices in a dog’s mouth
  2. The bristles featured are meant for cleaning a dog’s mouth

However, if you still don’t believe that a dog toothbrush is the right pick for you, we suggest you pick a children’s toothbrush for your four-legged friend.

If you are sold on using dog-specific toothbrushes, we recommend and use the following on our pets:

Now, let’s bust another myth.

Human toothpaste may not be the safest option for your doggy friend simply because it can contain ingredients such as Xylitol which is toxic to dogs! So, make sure you stay away from human toothpaste when it comes to your doggy.

Dog toothpaste is made using simple and safe ingredients. It is also available in certain flavors that your dog might enjoy while making brushing easier for you. We recommend the following:

My dog prefers the taste of Petrodex as he cares of chicken. But, you can try out other dog toothpastes out there.

– Make Brushing a Ritual With Your Puppy

It will be easier for you and your dog if you start brushing his teeth while he’s still a puppy.

Why?

Well, first of all, the chances of your dog getting any dental disease will decrease dramatically since your puppy will have a healthy oral care system in place. Secondly, your dog is much more likely to cooperate with you when you start brushing his teeth while he’s young.

Trust me, you’ll thank me later!

As with brushing your dog’s coat, try to make cleaning your dog’s teeth something that he’ll look forward to and find relaxing.

And, don’t forget to reinforce the good habit!

– Introduce Your Furry Friend to the Tools

For a hiccup-free brushing experience, we recommend that you get your dog familiar to the taste and feel of his toothbrush and toothpaste. Not just that, your dog also needs to get used to having a foreign substance in his mouth.

That’s what will get him comfortable with brushing!

Here are some steps that you can follow:

  1. Let your dog taste a small amount of toothpaste by letting him lick it off of your finger
  2. As your dog is licking it, go ahead and brush your dog’s teeth using your fingers—this step will help you transition easily
  3. Finally, put the toothpaste on the toothbrush and let your dog lick it
  4. Brush your dog’s teeth using the toothpaste when you feel that he’s comfortable enough

By breaking things down in small yet actionable steps, you’re ensuring that your dog starts getting comfortable with the brush and is a good sport about it!

– Start Small…at a Snail’s Pace

If your hurry or rush into things, your dog will probably not be a big fan! So, as I mentioned earlier, you should start with small steps that helps make things less traumatic or intimidating for your dog.

Baby steps are the way to go when it comes to getting your dog used to brushing.

Kick things off by brushing your dog’s front teeth and working your way to the premolars and molars is the right way to go. This can take upto two weeks of time and patience.

– Build Good Habits

Our ultimate goal is to build good habits so that you can brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis to keep all the dental problems at bay.

You should brush your dog’s teeth at least twice a week to keep those pearly whites squeaky clean and disease-free.

Manicuring Your Dog: Doing your Dog’s Nails

Girl, you’ve got to trim your dog’s nails!

Most dog owners who groom their furry friends at home do not trim their nails because they believe that it is a futile measure.

Boy, do they pay for it.

– Why Should You Even Trim your Dog’s Nails!?

Here are some reasons why you should trim your dog’s nails:

+ Scratches On Every Surface

I have a furry friend who has rather large nails which, by the way, is perfectly natural. Personality-wise my dog is extremely excitable and playful which turns out to be kind of painful for me!

Any guesses as to why that is!?

Well, my dog ends up scratching everything in my house!

From my beloved faux leather recliner couch to my skin. Trust me, I’ve got dog scratches in the most random spots in my house.

Trimming your dog’s nails can spare you that.

+ Ouchies and Your Doggy

Dogs have long nails as a self-defence mechanism and in the wild, they turn out to be very useful.

However…

Domestic dogs don’t really need to defend themselves against much. In fact, they’re in the receiving end of the harm that long nails bring.

How is that?

Well, your dog can hurt himself why scratching. Long nails also hurt your dog while he’s walking or running about in your house which is why trimming your dog’s nails is a good idea.

+ Hygiene

Long nails are a hotbed for bacteria, dirt, and other nasty things that you definitely do not want near your dog. In fact, your dog may even get infections due to ungroomed nails which may even get nasty.

Spare your dog the trouble, trim his nails.

– How to Trim Your Dog’s Nails

You should trim your dog’s nails on a regular basis to keep them short.

The frequency at which you should cut your dog’s nails depends on the growth. Ideally, you should trim them at least once every fifteen days.

Some dog owners have a secret way of knowing when it’s time for a trim.

Wanna know?

Well, if you can hear your furry friend’s nails on the ground as he’s walking, it’s time to give them the ‘ol snip.

  • With a pair of sharp dog nail clippers, trim a small amount of your dog’s nails—about 1/16th of an inch. If you have a small puppy, you can choose to use human nail clippers as well
  • If your furry friend has clear nails, you’ll easily be able to locate the quick which is the pink part where your dog’s blood vessels are located. Do not cut that part as it will cause a lot of bleeding and will be extremely traumatic for your dog
  • If your dog has dark nails, you need to take extra care when clipping his nails. The secret is to go slow and take only a tiny bit off. With dogs that have darker nails, we recommend you use dog nail grinders as they aren’t as harmful
  • If you happen to hit the blood vessel, you should immediately apply cornstarch, flour, or styptic powder to the affected area and put pressure on it to stop your dog from bleeding

– No Harm in Going to a Professional Groomer

If you are a first-time dog owner, we highly recommend that you go to a professional groomer and ask them to guide you through the trimming process. Most dog groomers are keen to share tips and tricks with dog owners.

If your dog had dark-colored nails, it is best to stick to the services of a professional groomer.

Here’s a video that might help you trim your dog’s nails:

We hope that you found this video resource useful!

– The Best Dog Nail Clippers

There are a lot of dog nail clippers available to buy on the market but not all of them are of a high-quality.

In fact, some of them may break too easily, or can even split your dog’s nails which can be painful for your four-legged companion which is why you should choose wisely. Here are some dog nail clippers we recommend:

– Why Should You Bathe Your Dog?

You may not believe this but we get asked this question a lot by first-time pet owners.

No, I’m not even kidding!

One of the most essential parts of general pet care is bathing your furry friend when needed. The frequency at which you need to bathe your dog depends on many factors, which we’ll get into in the following section.

Mostly, people bathe their dogs who are otherwise healthy, when they want to remove that funky dog smell or when their dog decides to play in muddy puddles or do something naughty.

Bathing your dog helps get rid of scales, loose hair, and debris.

And, makes your dog oh so shiny!

However, if your dog has a medical condition, you will have to bathe him as often as your pet recommends.

How Often to Bathe Your Dog

As I mentioned earlier, the frequency at which you should bathe your dog differs from breed to breed.

However, you should bathe your dog as and when necessary.

If your dog is particularly dirty or starts to smell funky, you’ll know that it’s time for him to hop in the bath.

If you give your dog a bath too often, it can dry his skin out and lead to other issues which is why you should bathe your dog only when deemed necessary. If your dog likes to go swimming, he would need less baths.

– What Type of Shampoo to Use

To bathe your dog, we recommend that you use a specialized dog shampoo as it is made to meet all of your furry friend’s needs. If your dog has a medical condition, it is best to stick with the shampoo that your vet has recommended.

Following are the dog shampoos that we recommend using Wahl Dog Shampoo, Particular Paws Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs , and Burt’s Bees for Dogs All Natural Shampoo and Conditioner.

How to Bathe Your Dog

In this section of the blog post, we will share how you can bathe your furry friend in small yet actionable steps.

Let’s get started!

– Get the Water’s Temperature Right

The water that you’ll use to bathe your dog should be in the Goldilocks zone—neither too hot, nor too cold.

Dogs, too, are sensitive to hot water which is why you should check the water’s temperature before bathing our furbabies.

– Rinse Your Dog

You should avoid washing your dog’s head or face and start wetting your furry friend from the neck down. Ensure that his coat is fully saturated with water before you apply the shampoo.

We recommend that you use a hose to bathe your furry friend!

– Apply the Shampoo

It’s time to make some bubbles!

We recommend that you pre mix the shampoo with some water in a small bowl—or a mug—and spread it evenly on your dog’s body. This reduces the product you use and lathers perfectly.

Keep in mind not to apply this to your dog’s face, eyes, or ears!

– Clean That Cute Face

Use a wet washcloth to clean your dog’s face and wipe off any dirt that it may have on it. You need to be extremely gentle when it comes to cleaning your fur baby’s face as it is quite sensitive.

– Rinse and Dry Your Dog

After you’ve thoroughly shampooed your dog and ensured that he’s squeaky clean, it is time to rinse him again with some clean water and dry him off using a towel.

After your dog’s coat has dried completely, be sure to brush his coat for that fresh look.

–  Watch and Learn

We found this video to be extremely helpful:

Get That Dirt Off!: How to Groom a Dog

I hope that we covered everything that you wanted to know about grooming a dog in this blog post!

Grooming a dog is essential when it comes to taking care of your pet—your dog just can’t groom himself even if he wanted to. A well-groomed dog speaks a lot about his owners.

However, people tend to neglect some steps when it comes to grooming.

In this blog post, we sort of created an ultimate guide on how to groom a dog so that you don’t have to endlessly Google everything and miss some important steps.

If you have questions, leave them in the comments sections, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

Leave a Comment