5 Easy Tips For Grooming Your Dog at Home

May 20 2020 - 11:30am

So you think you have what it takes to groom your dog at home? Just kidding — it's totally doable! With a few easy tips from Dr. Jennifer Freeman [1], PetSmart's resident veterinarian, you'll be a grooming pro in no time. It doesn't have to be scary — for you or your dog — to have bath time at home [2] or to even have a little haircut and a bit of a nail trim. Dr. Freeman gave us her recommendations for how to have a happy grooming sesh for you and your pup [3], so keep reading to get all her tips and tricks.

Keep Your Dog Calm

Understandably, an at-home grooming session might stress your dog out. Keep the experience light and positive for them. That means showing them so much love and positivity! One tip Dr. Freeman suggested for keeping your dog at ease while bathing is to use a cup to rinse them, rather than spraying them with a shower attachment or hose. It's gentler on them and shouldn't be as scary.

If you've done everything you can to keep your dog calm — including praising him and being gentle — and he's still extremely anxious about grooming, give your vet a call to check about an anxiety supplement. There are plenty to choose from and your vet can help you decide the best course of action.

Be Very Careful When Trimming Nails

Make sure you have treats on standby when trimming your dog's nails [5], because it probably won't be easy [6]. "You'll want to cut your pet's nail from underneath as opposed to cutting from the top down. Insert the nail into the clipper opening while staying within the white part of the nail. The pink area of the nail, otherwise known as the quick, is live tissue which has blood vessels throughout," Dr. Freeman told POPSUGAR. If you cut a nail too short, use a coagulant immediately to stop the bleeding.

If you have a dog with dark nails, it can be difficult to find the quick and know where to trim, so look at the underside of the nail to find the spot to cut. The nail should form a triangle-like shape where there's no quick. You can cut here.

Go Slowly With Trimming

If your pup is in need of a trim, start by slowing working from your dog's hindquarters, using an electric trimmer or shears. This part is definitely easier if you have help in the form of someone else to hold the dog and keep him calm. Use a brush or guide on the trimmer to cut your dog's belly and then the rest of their coat. Finish by trimming around your dog's eyes, ears, and the pads of their paws.

Brush Your Dog Out Before a Bath

Dr. Freeman recommended to POPSUGAR that you take the time to brush your dog's coat prior to bathing them, especially if they're longer-haired pups that get frequent tangles. "Tangled hair can mat once you start bathing your dog, making it an unpleasant experience for your pet," she said. So take some time to brush out all the tangles before hopping into the bath.

Dry Your Dog's Fur After a Bath

Use a pup-friendly shampoo to wash your dog [7], and make sure to rinse him completely. "Not doing so can lead to contact dermatitis or hot spots, moist and infected lesions that itch," Dr. Freeman told POPSUGAR. It's also important to dry your dog when you get out of the bath. We know how much dogs like to make a run for it after bath time and shake out all the water, but try to towel dry them or even use a hair dryer to get them as dry as you can. If you have a dog with a heavy coat, this is especially important, as leaving them wet can lead to hot spots.

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