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- The basics of grooming your pet by yourself includes training your dog to get used to being groomed, regularly brushing his hair, trimming hair and nails, bathing your dog, cleaning the ears, brushing the teeth, and more.
- Desensitize your pet to different grooming tools and how they work such as hair clippers and nail grinders.
- Utilize every grooming session as an opportunity to bond with your dog and check him physically for any signs of health issues.
I love grooming my dogs! As I always tell dog owners, grooming your pet by yourself is a great way to bond with your furry friend. More importantly, grooming is one of the most important parts of caring for dogs to ensure that they not only look their best, but also remain healthy.
If you’re like most pet parents, you want what’s best for your furry friend. When it comes to grooming sessions, that means finding a qualified professional to take care of your pet. But what if you can’t afford a professional groomer? Or what if you simply can’t find the time to take your pet to the grooming salons? If you are new to this and want some tips, read my DIY dog grooming guide below.
Pet Grooming: Skin & Coat
There is more than one way to tell if the pet has healthy skin and fur. Look for signs of unhealthy fur when you’re trying to make this distinction. For one, unhealthy hair will be dry and brittle and it may be thinning or irregularly falling out. Unhealthy hair will also look thin, dry, scaly or greasy. There will be no shine to it and it will have unattractive appearance.
Pet owners can also distinguish unhealthy skin and fur by smelling it. A dog’s skin and fur that are healthy will have no smell to it. If your dog’s hair gets dirty, it does not have a unique smell it will just smell like whatever got it dirty. Unhealthy skin and coat will have an oily odor. Skin bacteria that break down the natural skin oils cause the odor. To avoid this, properly brushing and trimming the hair as well as bathing your dog are key.
Brushing Your Dog’s Hair
All skin has some bacteria but unhealthy skin has too much of the wrong kinds of bacteria. There are specific types of shampoo that can prevent this type of bacteria and you can find out names from your vet.
Regularly brushing your pet is an important part of their overall care. Grooming or brushing helps remove dirt, debris and loose hair from your dog’s coat, which can help minimize matting and tangles. It also helps spread the natural oils on your dog’s skin.
Trimming Your Dog’s Hair
There are a few key things you can do at home to trim your dog’s hair. Shorthaired dogs have no need for this, but longhaired ones do require it. You can use a variety of tools to remove hair, including dog clippers, scissors, and razors. If you’re not comfortable using any of these methods, I advise you to take your pet to a professional groomer instead. Different dog breeds often require different haircuts. There you can observe the process and ask them how they do it so you can do it yourself next time.
Bathing Your Dog
Contrary to popular beliefs, you should only give your dog a bath once a month, unless he came from somewhere dirty and he requires an immediate shower. Bathing dogs too often will likely cause dry skin as the natural oils in their skin gets stripped off from frequent use of shampoo.
You’ll need to gather proper supplies, including shampoo, conditioner, towels, and a brush or comb. It’s also important to have a quiet place to groom your pet, away from distractions. Here are my quick tips:
- As with any grooming, you’ll need to train your dog from puppyhood—get him to accept being touched and being bathed in water.
- Only use pet-friendly shampoos and other products that has natural ingredients and zero chemicals.
- Use warm water to wet your dog then scrub all parts of his body with shampoo—except the face. Here’s my guide on How to Clean Your Dog’s Face.
- Rise your dog thoroughly with clean water and then dry him with a towel.
- Dogs will normally run around and rub their bodies on the ground and everywhere, so put him on a leash until he is completely dry.
For a full guide on bathing your furry friend, read my article: How To Bathe A Puppy: A Beginner’s Guide
Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears
Ear cleaning is the first step in grooming your pet by yourself. Ear cleaning helps remove any dirt, wax or debris that could cause infection. Start by using a cotton ball or Q-tip to gently clean the inside of your pet’s ears. Be careful not to go too deep into the ear canal, as you could damage your pet’s ear drums.
Pets generally have sensitive ears so pet grooming needs to be done delicately in this area. Ear problems can arise from soaps, allergies, pollen, bacteria, fleas and a number of other factors. These ear infections can cause pet ears to be inflamed and hot to the touch. Sometimes they will even have an odor and a build-up of wax. Most importantly, it is very uncomfortable for the pet. If you notice anything abnormal in the ears, check with a vet before you do any grooming on the pet in that area. Also, if you suspect any infection in the ear, tell the vet immediately. The longer the infections last the more serious they become.
Be especially careful when you’re shaving ear hairs. Make sure that you keep the blade flat and not on an angle. Cutting near the ears is especially important in pet grooming, particularly if there is any buildup of crust or dangerous bacteria. Cutting the hair prevents it from trapping the problem bacteria and makes it more open for medication.
Another important step in grooming is brushing your dog’s teeth. This helps remove plaque and tartar buildup, which can cause gum disease. You should brush your pet’s teeth at least once a week, using a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for pets.
Often, the challenge with trimming dogs’ nails is getting Fido calm as you run a nail grinder—yes, I personally advise using nail grinders over clippers. This is because they leave smoother and well-shaped nails. It’s also easier to avoid the quick if you use a grinder.
Again, desensitizing you pup to the tool is the first step. Start this from puppyhood and he will grow up having no issues with his nails being trimmed.
What To Remember When Hiring Professional Dog Groomers
If you find that you cannot handle grooming your pet by yourself, there’s no shame in it. This is why there are professionals who do it! So if Fido really needs a good general clean-up soon, go make that appointment with your grooming salon.
Here are 6 tips to keep your pet’s grooming routine simple:
1. Find a groomer that you trust and feel comfortable with.
2. Make sure to schedule regular appointments (usually every 6-8 weeks is recommended).
3. Bring along any special instructions or requests that you may have.
4. Keep an open mind about the grooming process—sometimes pets may not behave exactly as we expect them to!
5. Be prepared to pay for services in advance (most groomers require payment at the time of service).
6. Groomers usually offer a variety of services, so be sure to ask about pricing and what is included in each package.
When it comes to dog grooming, a lot of people think that they need to take their pet to a salon in order to get the job done right. This isn’t always the case! In fact, there are a few things that you can do at home in order to groom your dog without having to leave your house. Consider my tips above, as well as the links to different detailed grooming guides. With enough patience and love, your dog grooming skills will improve and your pup will thank you for it.
Is it OK to groom your dog yourself?
You can definitely groom your dog yourself at home. However, make sure to exercise caution especially if you aren’t sure of what you are doing. When trimming a dog’s hair, for example, it’s ideal to ask the help of a professional groomer the first time, so that you know how to deal with the sensitive parts and do the right cut.
What does self-grooming dog mean?
Self-grooming is a natural dog behavior. This is a dog’s attempt to clean itself by licking different parts of its body.
What is normal dog self-grooming?
It is normal for dogs to self-groom by licking different parts of its body including the limbs, paws, and even its genital areas. If your dog seems to lick itself obsessively or compulsively, take him to the vet to rule out any possible underlying health condition.