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How to Groom Your Dog at Home

Updated: May 6

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Many pet parents successfully groom their dogs at home but it takes time and effort to get your dog comfortable with a routine of at-home grooming.

Many breeds of dogs particularly those with longer coats require regular dog grooming at home to keep them neat and free of mats.

Follow our guide for hints and tips on grooming and a selection of product recommendations to keep your dog happy and healthy whilst looking totally adorable.

Lady grooming a dog with a metal brush

Basic home dog grooming such as brushing and bathing your dog can be carried out easily at home with very little expertise or equipment. However, when it comes to trimming coats, dog nail clipping and buying dog grooming clippers you need to have confidence in yourself and your dog before you start.

The most important thing to remember is that you want your dog to enjoy the grooming process. Start very slowly, with one task at a time, and be sure to give your dog plenty of treats during and after each task.

Consider breaking the home dog grooming process up into several different sessions. It doesn’t all need to be achieved in one sitting and ‘little and often’ makes it much more tolerable for your four-legged friend.


1. Brushing at Home

2. Bathing your Dog at Home

3. Dog Coat Trimming at Home

Wahl Super Groom Clipper Kit

Pet Union Professional Dog Grooming Kit

4. Trimming Paws at Home

Pet Magasin Grooming Scissors

5. Nail Trimming at Home

Gonicc Nail Clippers

6. Ear Cleaning at Home

Stinky Stuff - Ear Stuff

1. Brushing at Home

Regular brushing alone can accomplish a great deal in the way of good grooming. The important thing is to get your dog accustomed to regular brushing and if possible brush whilst standing rather than lying down to make it easier to reach those difficult spots.

If your dog really doesn’t like being brushed, build up to it slowly.

Dog being groomed at home

Initially try stroking your dog with the back of your hand in long slow sweeping movements along the length of the back.

Then progress to long strokes with the back of the brush (as it introduces the brush to your dog but doesn't create resistance), before finally turning the brush over and slowly brushing in long sweeping movements.

Try not to tug and pull at matts, or randomly brush areas without a pattern to your movements.

If it's difficult to keep your dog still, don't be afraid to use treats as rewards to start with.

2. Bathing your Dog at Home

The general guideline for bathing dogs is around once every four weeks, and this may vary based on their daily activities. Obviously if your dog ends up caked in mud after a walk, a bath is essential.

A good dog shampoo is your secret weapon for keeping your four-legged friend looking and smelling their best. Dogs shampoo needs are as different as the dogs themselves.

It’s important to buy a shampoo suitable for your dog’s coat and colour whilst dealing with any allergies they may suffer from.

dog baths at home with shampoo

Make sure you have a supply of treats and some dedicated towels at the ready.

Lickimats are a great help if you need to distract your dog whilst you're bathing them. As the name suggests, the Lickimat Splash has been designed to keep your dog busy whilst you concentrate on getting them clean.

Start by wetting your dog at their back end and work your way forward toward their head. Try to avoid getting water in their ears. Repeat the process with shampoo, starting at their back end and work your way to their face. Be careful to avoid getting shampoo in their eyes.

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Best Dog Shampoo Guide for 2022

Choosing the right shampoo is essential as it will not only keep your dog's coat in tip top condition, but help deal with underlying itchy skin conditions, dandruff and even fleas.

3. Dog Coat Trimming at Home

Grooming a dog’s coat is not a simple task and requires knowledge and experience. Only attempt to use dog grooming clippers or scissors on your dog if you feel confident in both yourself and your dog's ability to keep still.

If you fancy trying a home dog groom invest in the best dog grooming clippers you can afford.

dog grooming with a pair of scissors

Wahl Super Groom Clipper Kit

Best dog clippers for most people

Wahl is the leading manufacturer of styling and personal care products. These dog clippers are professional and high-quality but come at a price.

They are a great investment if you plan on regularly trimming your dog's coat and are considerably cheaper than regular trips to the dog groomers.

Nicely built and well made, they are powerful yet quiet so perfect for noise sensitive dogs or anxious pooches.

To make life easier for you, they are cordless so very flexible and have a battery with over a 1 1/2 hours of run time, which should manage to deal with the biggest dog.

What's undeniable is that these professional clippers are designed to make grooming your dog as easy as possible.

Pet Union Professional Dog Grooming Kit

Best Value Dog Clippers

Alternatively, you could go for Pet Union's Grooming Kit, which costs significantly less.

The Pet Grooming Kit is aimed at thin to medium coats.

This set includes a cordless clipper, comb attachments, scissors, nail trimmers and a comb, making it an excellent value pack.

The clipper is rechargeable taking 1 hour to fully charge then offers 1 1/2 hours of running time.

The blade guides range from 3mm to 12mm and further guides can be purchased.

Like the Wahl clipper featured above, it is quiet running so perfect for anxious dogs.

The important thing to remember is that the Pet Union Grooming Kit is not recommended for dogs with thick or long coats but is a great value option for many dog parents.

Whichever dog grooming clippers you use, bear in mind the following key points :-

When you start clipping, keep your opposite hand on the dog at all times. Pull the skin taut with your hand while you run the clippers down your dog's body. This will prevent skin folds from getting in the way and causing a lumpy appearance in the coat.

Keep clipper blades flat against the skin.

Clipper blades may well get HOT. Frequently touch the clipper blade to the inside of your forearm to see how hot it is.

Put an extension on the clippers so you do not get too close to the skin.

Follow your dog’s natural outline or a previous grooming cut

Go slowly, take your time as rushing can lead to accidents.

If in doubt, stick to brushing to avoid matting, a visit to a professional groomer is usually cheaper than a trip to the vet. There are lots of excellent YouTube videos available. This one is particularly well shot with lots of useful advice.

4. Trimming Paws at Home

Most dogs grow hair between the pads on the bottoms of their feet. When this hair gets too long it can collect pesticides and other debris. With dogs that have continuously-growing hair, the hair can become matted and cause painful lumps.

You can use scissors to cut the hair flush with your dog’s paw pads. Don’t dig between the paw pads with the scissors as it's too easy to nick your dog's paw.

Pet Magasin Grooming Scissors

Best Value Grooming Scissors

Scissors are useful for trimming around delicate areas like the eyes and paws, these Amazon best selling scissors come in a pack of two.

The longer pair of scissors are ideal for trimming body fur and the smaller set has micro-serrated blades for working on delicate areas such as your dog's face and paws.

The japanese stainless steel blades have rounded ends for safety and cushioned handles for comfort.

A great value set of scissors ideal for most dog lovers.

5. Nail Trimming at Home

Dog nail clipping is often best left to a pro, but you might feel confident enough to try. At the end of the day you know your dog best. Be extra cautious when clipping nails, because the nails are supplied with blood and a misdirected clip could lead to massive pain.

Invest in some decent dog nail clippers. The best dog nail clippers incorporate a protective guard to protect your dogs from "over-trimming" and a safety lock for easy storage.

Gonicc Nail Clippers

Budget Friendly Pick

These dog nail clippers by Gonicc are excellent value.

Their stainless steel blades have a specially designed stop blade to reduce the risk of cutting the nails too short.

What's more they offer a nail file which is stored in the handle to smooth any rough edges.

They are lightweight and the handles are comfortable and non-slip.

If you feel confident, there are a number of YouTube videos providing guidance on clipping dog nails, this one was really simple to follow.

6. Ear Cleaning at Home

Use a cotton ball or a cotton pad wrapped around your index finger to gently wipe the visible part of your dog's ear canal and outer ear. If necessary dampen the cotton pad with a little mineral oil or buy an ear cleaning solution formulated specifically for dogs.

Stinky Stuff - Ear Stuff

Best overall ear cleaning solution

There are lots of cleaning solutions available on the market but choose wisely as some solutions smell foul.

Ear Stuff, Stinky Stuff for dogs ears

With a very hairy cockapoo, we've tried a whole variety of products and can recommend Stinky Stuff's Ear Stuff.

We've found it not only keeps your dog's ears clean but smells quite nice too. 100% natural it's anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic.

It can help get rid of smelly ears and tackles any build up of ear wax.

If the ears are very dirty, squirt a little solution into the ear and massage the ears for 30 seconds to ensure it coats the inside of the ear canal before removing it with a cotton ball.

Reasons to Buy

+ 100% natural

+ Softens ear wax

+ Tackles nasty niffs

Reasons to Avoid


This handy video guide from PDSA shows you how to clean your dog's ears.


Grooming your dog at home doesn’t have to be difficult for either you or your dog. By making it part of your routine, staying organised and methodical, it can become an enjoyable time of bonding for both of you.

Thanks for dropping by and checking out our article on How to Groom Your Dog at Home.