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Essential Tips for Grooming Your Dog at Home Like a Pro

Updated: Feb 29

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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.


TABLE OF CONTENTS



Essential Tips for Grooming Your Dog at Home


1. Brushing your Dog


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.


Introducing dog wipes is another great way to get your dog comfortable with being groomed as well as being a great solution to dealing with the everyday mess your dog picks up on their paws.


Better still, dog wipes are an excellent addition to your dog grooming routine. They are perfect for tackling hygiene issues like gunky eyes, ears and of course their butts!


If you're interested in more information, why not read out article - Best Dog Wipes : Paws & Perfection.

 


2. Bathing your Dog


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.


Lick mats 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 and eyes. Repeat the process with shampoo, starting at their back end and work your way to their face.

You might be interested in ...

Best Dog Shampoo Guide for 2024 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 Grooming


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. We have two options for you.


dog grooming with a pair of scissors

Best Value Dog Clippers - PetLab

Specification

Power : Cordless

Run time : 100 minutes

Charge time : 210 minutes Weight : 580g

Blade : Ceramic, Titanium

Comb Attachments : 4

Price : £


This popular grooming set from PetLab comes with the essentials you need, including cordless clippers, 4 comb attachments, a cleaning brush, scissors, a nail file, nail clippers and a comb.

PetLab Dog Clippers

The first thing to say that this is a great value dog grooming set.


Cordless, rechargeable clippers are definitely the way to go if you're a beginner as they give you so much more flexibility when cutting those hard to reach areas.


Battery life is not bad with up to 2 hours per charge, but it does takes 3–4 hours to charge back to full again. We liked that there is a battery indicator so you won't get caught out halfway through cutting.

We recommend the PetLab grooming kit as a good starter kit, if you would like to try grooming at home.


Best Cordless Dog Clippers - Wahl

Specification

Power : Cordless

Run time : 100 minutes

Charge time : 150 minutes

Weight : 720g

Blade : Ceramic, Titanium

Comb Attachments : 6

Price : ££


A staple of barber's shops for decades, it's not surprising that Wahl turned their attention to dog clippers. This is their popular cordless Super Groom edition.

Wahl Super Groom Dog Clippers

Admittedly, these are a little more expensive than some of the other dog clippers on the market but as soon as you use these clippers you will understand why.


The Super Groom from Wahl is designed to offer groomer grade trimming at home. These clippers are engineered to be low noise and extremely low vibration so will particularly suit anxious dogs.


Because the Wahl Super Groom is built to last for years and years, you do really need to oil and maintain the blades.


They charge faster than most clippers and feature a quick charge option that will provide you with enough battery life for a speedy touch up.


They are exceptionally well made with a robust and stylish metal housing. It's worth mentioning that these clippers come with a 2 year warranty.

We think that these are exceptionally good clippers and although initially they seem pricey, you could recoup your outlay very quickly compared to groomers visits.

Buying Options


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.

If you'd like to read our full and in-depth review of Dog Clippers, head over to Best Dog Clippers for 2024 : Groom at Home 

 

4. Paw Trimming


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.


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.



Best Grooming Scissors - Dream Reach


Scissors are useful for trimming around delicate areas like the eyes and paws, these Amazon best selling scissors are crafted in Japanese steel

Dream Professional Dog Grooming Scissors

They are exceptionally sharp and lightweight making them easy to use plus the blades have rounded ends for safety and cushioned handles for comfort.


To help if you have a super sensitive dog, the scissors include a silencer between the handles so they are a lot less scary for anxious dogs.


Dream Reach offer a range of scissor lengths with the longer pairs created to trim body fur and the smaller sets have serrated blades for more delicate work around the face and paws.


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

 


5. Nail Trimming


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.


Best Nail Clippers - Or.


Most dogs will never need to have a nail trim because they lead an active lifestyle and their nails wear down naturally, however some dogs will need help to keep their nails to a healthy length and shape.


If you choose to trim your dog's nails at home a good set of nail clippers is a must.


Ancol dog nail clippers

These plier style nail clippers from Or. have several clever features to help you make a safe and quick job of nail trimming.


They have curved blade edges which are ultra sharp stainless steel. The handles are comfortable and non-slip and lastly ,there is a lock so you can safely store the clippers in a locked position.


Most importantly, they include a safety stop, which ensures that you don't clip past the curve of the nail as you risk hitting the quick (the pink area of the nail that contains the blood vessels). A clip this low is painful and will bleed.


A great value, well designed set of dog nail clippers to use at home


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. Dog Ear Cleaning


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 you could opt to buy an ear cleaning solution formulated specifically for dogs.


Best Ear Cleaning Solution - Pets Purest


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

Pets Purest Ear Pro for dogs

With a very hairy cockapoo, we've tried a whole variety of products and can recommend Pets Purest Ear Pro.


We're big fans of Pets Purest because all their products are are pure and 100% natural. Specifically designed to target head shaking, itching, bad odour and wax-filled dirty ear canals in dogs.


We've found it not only keeps your dog's ears clean when used on a regular basis but smells quite nice too.


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.


Pets Purest guarantee results within three days.


Pets Purest are offering 10% OFF their entire range.

Enter discount code WELCOME10 at checkout


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



dog paw



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 Essential Tips for Grooming Your Dog at Home Like a Pro



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