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Whether your dog is an passion groomer or he wants to wallow in every puddle of mud, every dog needs regular grooming to look and feel good. How to do all the basics at home!

Taking care of animals can seem a little intimidating! Between your dog running in the mountains every time he hears the bath running and the dizzying range of brushes available at the pet store, it can be difficult to know where to start. Read on to find out which basic grooming products you should have on hand and how to use them correctly to keep your dog in great shape!

Fur

Equipment

Rubber brush for dogs with short and smooth fur
Smooth brush for dogs with long or textured fur
Bristle brush for all dogs
Dog shampoo (yes, it is important to get a dog shampoo in particular! They have a different healthy skin pH than humans, which means that their shampoos have a different formula.)
A non-slip mat or a towel for the bottom of your bathtub
Absorbent Towels
Dog grooming scissors (look for scissors with round tips for the safety of trembling dogs. Some groomers prefer a curved blade to make rounded cuts.)

Brushing your teeth

Regular brushing and combing is important to remove tangles, prevent mats, remove dead hair and skin, and spread natural oils in your dog’s coat.

Dogs with a shorter, matted coat should be brushed at least once a week, but can be groomed more often if desired to reduce shedding and remove dirt. Start with a rubber brush to loosen the coat, then finish with a bristle brush to comb the hair and sweep off the scales.

Dogs whose hair is longer and prone to confusion must be groomed daily to keep all the coat! Start by gently combing the coat with a smoother brush to detangle it, then finish with a bristle brush to capture the loose coat and make your dog’s coat shiny and luxurious.

Swimming

Dogs should be bathed every 1 to 3 months, depending on their lifestyle — or how often they like to roll around in the mud. You can bathe your dog as often as necessary to stay clean, but even the cleanest and most groomed dogs need regular baths to stay fresh and remove accumulated skin cells and oils.

You can bathe them in your bathtub or shower, outside with a hose or wherever you don’t mind getting really wet, because you will inevitably shake water everywhere. When you are ready to bathe (perhaps thanks to a bribe with tub peanut butter), wet your coat with warm (not hot) water and rub it thoroughly with dog shampoo.

The shampoo really needs to be massaged in to get to the dirt and do its job properly, so work in sections and rub for 3 to 5 minutes in each area to work in the product. Work gently around the ears and eyes, using a washcloth or cotton ball if necessary to prevent shampoo and water from getting inside.

When you’re done scrubbing, it’s time for a good rinse! Rinse them thoroughly with plenty of warm water, stirring the fur as you go to remove all the shampoo. Experts recommend rinsing your dog completely twice to avoid skin irritation caused by persistent shampooing. If desired, you can apply a leave-in or leave-in dog conditioner.

When it comes time to dry, you should absorb as much water as possible with one or two good absorbent towels. Consider putting extra towels on the floor so that your dog can roll around while he tries to dry himself. You can use a hair dryer set to cold or low to complete the drying process, but most dogs can be left to air dry in a warm place.

Trim

Some dogs with longer hair may benefit from a small haircut for their comfort. You don’t need to give your dog a full poodle haircut (and it’s actually recommended that you don’t use razors or clippers on your pet without expert training), but there are a few areas to watch out for.

If your dog has long fur on his paws, gently but firmly hold the paw with one hand and carefully cut long tufts of hair with the other to avoid painful tangles and stuck dirt or snow. If your dog tries to bump his foot or walk away, ask an assistant to distract him with his favorite treats!

If long hairs are floating in your dog’s eyes or hanging out in the bowl of water, a small amount of trimming can make a big difference in the quality of life! Let them relax and calm down before making small careful extracts while keeping them calm. Go slowly and don’t be afraid to take breaks.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can leave the Haircut to the experts. (We understand your struggle, wobbly dog owners.)

Moisturizing

Most dogs’ natural oils are sufficient to keep their coat and skin soft, and they don’t need moisture, but it can be useful in some matters. If you have to bathe your dog frequently (dirt comes through), he can use an extra boost of moisture to replace the stripped natural oils. Hot, dry climates and intense winters can also dry out the skin, and some dogs tend to be naturally dry.

You can use special dog rinses or keep it simple by massaging a little melted coconut oil into your dog’s skin and coat after bathing. This pet-safe oil is really good for you, even if you lick a little of it, which makes them extra soft, smooth and shiny! (Avoid coconut oil for dogs with known sensitivities.)

Nail

Equipment

  • Dog nail clippers (do not use the human type — they exert uneven force on a dog’s rounded nail and can cause
  • cracks and painful nail damage.)
  • Hemostatic Powder
  • Electric nail file for dogs
  • Scratching board for dogs

Cutting And Filing

Between stubborn dogs and the fact that a bad haircut can make your dog bleed, nail trimming can naturally be one of the most intimidating parts of pet grooming! The good news is that there are ways to make nail care easier.

When it comes to cutting nails, you’ll want to calm your dog down (and maybe distract him with treats) and start slowly. Do not try to cut your nails if they are too wobbly so that you can make a neat and confident cut.

If your dog has clear nails, you may be able to see the pink and fleshy “fast” in the nail. You want to cut below the fast cut and never get too close to avoid a painful cut. If your dog has darker nails and you cannot see the fast, you can start with small, gradual cuts until the length seems correct or you experience a white, chalky layer in the nail — a sign that you are close to the fast.

You can have them professionally groomed and use the scale of how long the groomer has cut their nails as an estimate of how long you have to cut them yourself, or NOTE if your nails touch the ground when you walk. As long as you don’t hear your nails clicking on the tiles in the kitchen, it’s a sign that your nails aren’t too long!

If you ever accidentally cut too close to the Snail, it will probably hurt your dog a little and he may start bleeding. Have hemostatic powder on hand to quickly soak the toe in order to contain the bleeding. Apply light pressure to the powdered nail for a few minutes until the bleeding stops. In the rare matter that it doesn’t slow down, take your dog to the vet to get expert help.

Accidents happen, and what matters is that you are willing to take care of your dog and help him feel better!

Some dogs and owners prefer to file their nails rather than cut them. Filing may take longer and may need to be done more regularly to maintain the length of the nails, but it can be a good Option for pets and people who don’t like nail clippers!

You can use an electric file to gently sand one nail at a time, but some dogs don’t like the loud sound of the file. You can also teach your dog to use a scratch board covered with sandpaper to wear out those long claws naturally!

For more tips, check out our dog nail care guide!

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