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10 Tips for Grooming Your Own Dog … So She Doesn’t Hate You

Woman washes her large dog outside

Outside of licking themselves, your dog pretty much relies on you for her hygienic needs. Luckily there are plenty of grooming services available, whether at your vet’s office, pet supply store or your local doggie spa-salon. Even so, sometimes you need to perform a dog grooming session at home. While grooming requires some patience and caution on your part, you can transform your dog from Tramp back to Lady, at least until she gets back outside to play.

1. Choose the Right Tools for Grooming Your Dog

What tools may be right for human use may not be so good for your dog. If you intend on trimming your pet’s nails, you should have the proper dog nail clippers or nail grinder, and styptic powder (for accidental nail bleeding). If you’ve never trimmed a dog’s nails before, we recommend having your vet or groomer show you how to make sure you don’t cut them too short into the “quick,” which is the fleshy part of your dog’s nail.   

For bath time, grab the dog shampoo, towels, a hairbrush, comb, and toothbrush.

2. Grab Treats to Reinforce Good Behavior While Grooming

Make sure you have plenty of treats on hand for encouragement, and in the case of a freakout moment, you can redirect your dog. 

3. Ask for Help: Two DIY Groomers Are Better Than One

If you have experience grooming your dog and she’s not a big fan and puts up a fuss, ask for some help from someone. That person could help keep the dog’s attention while you are bathing or grooming her.

4. How Prep Your Dog Grooming Workspace

Whether you intend to trim nails in the living room or bathe your dog in the bathroom, the standing space for your dog should be non-slip and free of all obstacles. You can invest in a slip-proof mat to lay down when it’s nail or bath time to prevent both of you from injuries. For bathing, a mat or towel on the bottom of the tub might help keep your dog from slipping. 

5. Brush Your Dog Often 

Brushing your dog regularly with the right brush can go a long way to keeping her clean. Check with your groomer or vet on which type of brush or deshedding tool is appropriate for your dog’s coat. Brushing your dog several times a week, even before bath time can help to remove dirt and debris, control shedding, prevent matting, and it allows you to check for fleas or ticks and gives your dog a shiny coat.

6.  Sprinkle Baby Powder on Tangles

If your dog is long-haired, you may find some places in her coat that are tangled. Don’t bother pulling and tugging on tangled hair with a dog brush or comb. Instead, sprinkle some talcum powder on the tangles to loosen the strands and make brushing easier. 

7.  Shampooing and Rinsing Your Dog’s Hair

After bathing your dog, you must rinse off all the shampoo from your dog’s fur. Shampoo residue can cause skin irritation and itching.

8. Give Grooming Wipes a Try

If you’re unable to fully groom your dog, give grooming wipes a try. They can work in a pinch and keep her clean between baths. Although it’s tempting to use baby wipes, there is a difference between those and wipes formulated specifically for dogs.

You might find two kinds of dog wipe: antibacterial and grooming. Both are great to have on hand, as they both can soothe your dog’s skin and address her odors. Antibacterial wipes are best for situations where your dog needs a bit of disinfecting like potty-related issues. Grooming wipes, on the other hand, are ideal for a quick clean. Be sure to buy wipes that are alcohol and propylene glycol free.

9. Pamper Your Dog’s Paws

Consider any grooming session a great bonding moment and the ideal time to apply some paw balm. Harsh weather, tough walking surfaces, and a ton of running and playing around the house and yard can take its toll on your dog’s paws. A quick massage with some paw balm will protect pads from becoming dry and cracking. 

10. Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth

Cleaning your dog’s teeth and gums is essential to her hygiene, health, and well-being. To help prevent gum disease, tooth loss,  or chronic pain, take care of her chompers. The best time to do teeth cleaning is during a grooming session. 

If you’ve never cleaned a dog’s teeth, ask your vet for best practices. If your dog won’t tolerate a doggie toothbrush, try quickly wiping her gums once a day with a clean towel; even this minor tooth cleaning done on a regular basis can reduce buildup.