Dog Grooming At Home – Intro, Basics & Tips

No matter what type of dog you have, whether purebred or mutt, they will require regular grooming to maintain a healthy coat. Depending on the breed of dog and the type of coat, caring for the coat may be a bit different. However, basic dog grooming remains the same.

Introduction to dog grooming

Some of the most common grooming tasks include:

  • Brushing the coat.
  • Trimming the coat.
  • Bathing the dog.
  • Trimming the nails.
  • Cleaning the ears.
  • Brushing the teeth.

The actual time and effort spent doing some of these tasks will depend largely on what type of dog you have. In general, the longer the coat, the more time you will spend on brushing the coat, and clipping the coat. Short-haired dogs will usually take less time to groom.

A dog that is groomed regularly tends to be radiant and full of energy and spunk. A dog whose grooming needs are neglected tend to look dull, dirty, and lethargic. How the dog’s coat is kept is a good indicator of the overall health and condition of a dog.

If you are completely new to dog grooming, then you may want to have a quick read on what dog grooming consists of.

Note: A dull and dry coat with flaky skin may be a sign of potential long-term health problems and skin infections.

Dog grooming identifies potential issues

Dogs are prone to skin infections, cuts, sores, and scratches. They are also likely to be bothered by fleas, ticks, mites, and other pets, which can lead to dog allergies. When you maintain your dog’s coat through good dog grooming, it is easy to identify any signs of these common problems that can affect your dog. Once you know that something is wrong, you can address the issue before it leads to more serious health problems.

Younger dogs are less like to develop lesions, lumps, and tumors. However, with age, these things may become more of a concern. That is why it is important to groom dogs both old and young alike.

Benefits of good dog grooming

There are various benefits of regular dog grooming such as:

  • A healthy coat and skin.
  • It creates a special bond between dog and owner.
  • Prevents the occurrence of fleas and other parasites.
  • Helps to eliminate doggy odors.

How we groom our dogs says a lot about how we treat our pets in general. The overall health and condition or our four-legged friends depend a lot on what we choose to do. Spend the time grooming your dog and you will treasure a long and happy relationship with your pet.

Basic dog grooming to get you started

Basic dog grooming for short-haired dogs

In general, grooming a short-haired dog will require less time and effort than grooming dogs with other types of coats. For most short-haired dogs all you have to do is brush them on a regular basis. Usually a weekly brushing with a good dog grooming brush is sufficient.

However, there are some short-haired dog breeds that are notorious shedders. For example, Labrador Retrievers are perhaps one of the worst culprits when it comes to shedding. During some parts of the year, you may have to brush their coats daily to keep all the loose hair from going all over your house.

Other short-haired breeds like the German Shorthaired Pointer and the Beagle also shed quite a lot. So do not think that just because you have a short-haired dog breed that you will escape your grooming chores.

Basic dog grooming for long and medium coats

Dogs with long coats will require a great deal more attention when it comes to grooming them. Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier, Afghan Hound dogs, the Setters, and the Spaniels will need to be brushed several times weekly, or even daily.

Collie or the Sheltie dogs that have a medium coats, may also have a thick double coat that needs frequent grooming to avoid matting and tangling.

Chris Christensen Boar Bristle Brush If you are brushing a long coat or a medium coat, start with a good brush, such as a boar bristle brush like the IONIC Brass-Boar Bristle Palm Brush by Chris Christensen. You can also use a boar bristle and nylon bristle mixed brush. Boar bristles are good for spreading the natural oils in the dog’s coat.

Brush the coat in the direction that the hair grows. For dogs with a thick double coat, you can brush a second time. This time, brush in the opposite direction to how the hair grows, and then brush back in the way hair naturally grows.

If your dog has a long, flowing coat you can then use a good pin brush to separate out the dog’s furnishing and make sure that you remove any matted fur and tangles. The pin brush is made with metal pins that are good for separating the long hair. Do not use it on the dog’s body as the metal pins can be sharp and can scratch the skin.

Also, you can use a dog comb to gently comb out the long hair.

Bathing your dog

Where To Bath Your Dog

Select the bath tub or washing sink to bath your dog. Which you opt to use will depend on your dog’s size. On warmer days you might want to bathe your dog outside utilizing a garden hose on a low pressure.

Water Temperature

Water temperature can be a important factor in your dogs fear of bath time. The water should be temped. That’s that you can not feel it as hot or cold, test the temperature of the water on on your forearm before applying it to your dog.

Anti Slip Protection

Another reason why your dog fears bath time is that they do not feel safe. Dogs like to be sure footed and any likelihood of slipping is sure to make them more concerned. You can use an anti slip bath mat or just employ a towel in the base of the bath and this will make your dog feel more safe and sound.

This is something we are going to try with Honey the next time we bath her, if we can find her that is. Our tub has little not stick flowers in the bottom but they are meant for human feet. There are too many spaces between them for her to get a grip.

How To Apply Water When Bathing Your Dog

The best thing you can do when washing your dog is to start wetting their feet first and steadily work up the legs, then under the belly, across the back and finally over the top of the head. Use caution not to have the water running to powerful and don’t ever have the water running over the snout or eyes.

It is better to wash the snout and round the eyes with a wash cloth and to never have running water around those areas. If you run water directly over the dogs face they may panic. You’ll also must take care not to run any water in your dogs ears. Water in the ear canal can end up in infection.

Your Approach to Bathing Your Dog

When bathing your dog always be in a good mood, be calm and praise your dog continually. Comments like “good boy” in a calm consistent voice will help your dog feel safe.

If your dog tries to jump up or get out of the bath, understand that this is their reply to a situation they feel they have no control of.

Just say “No, get down” in a quiet and voice, lowering your tone so they understand that you aren’t pleased.

As quickly as they get down, or you help them to get down and back in the bath, give plenty of praise. This way they’re going to be able to determine what you expect of them.

Other basic dog grooming tasks

Besides brushing and combing your dog’s coat, you will also need to brush the teeth and trim the nails weekly.

There are also a variety of dental care products to help your brush your dog’s teeth and maintain proper dental health. Try to get a dog toothpaste that has chicken, beef, or peanut butter flavor. Your dog will love it and brushing the teeth will be a lot easier.

To trim your dog’s nails, you can use nail clipper or a rotary nail clipper. There are various products available to help you keep your dog’s nails in great shape.

These are the basic dog grooming tasks you will need to keep your dog looking and feeling great.

Recommended: How To Get Your Dog Used To Cutting Nails

Dog Grooming Tools – A Quick List

To groom your dog properly, you’ll need a nice set of dog grooming tools. When used correctly, quality grooming tools and accessories contribute to the overall condition of your dog’s skin, coat, and hair. Not to mention the fact that you will have a clean and pleasant smelling dog.

There are several types of dog grooming tools that are specially designed for grooming your dog, including professional dog grooming supplies. They are readily available at most online pet supply retailers. Here is a quick list of some of the tools you will need. Keep in mind that some breeds have particular requirements.


There is an amazing variety of brushes available. Most of them come in many sizes and styles. However, three common types of brushes are sold in pet stores and these are…

Combs form an important part of your dog grooming toolbox, and you may need to collect several types of combs to groom your dog. They are available in many sizes and styles, with varying tooth lengths and spacing. Some of the more common types are…

  • Fine toothed combs
  • Medium toothed combs
  • Coarse toothed combs
  • Stripping Implements

These are used to groom and manage most rough coated dogs. Stripping action involves the removal of dead hair strands by employing a special grooming technique. There are two ways of stripping your dog – a manual method that uses scissors and the other by using some other stripping tools. Here are some of the tools you can use for stripping…

  • Scissors
  • Stripping knives
  • Clippers and trimmers
  • Nail Clippers

Nails need constant trimming since they can grow very quickly.

Additional Accessories

Besides these common dog grooming tools, there are other accessories that can make giving a bath and grooming an easier and more pleasant task. Some of the most important accessories are…

  • Gloves
  • Nail files
  • Grooming table
  • Shampoos
  • Conditioners
  • Rinses
  • Sprays
  • Deodorants

Can a dog or puppy enjoy dog grooming

We have already talked about the fact that all dogs require proper grooming no matter the breed, coat type, or age. They all need to be groomed on a regular basis. Whether or not your dog or puppy can learn to love or enjoy dog grooming largely depends on when you start to introduce them to grooming.

If you are adopting an older dog then it will depend on if they were exposed to a grooming routine before you brought them home. If they weren’t, grooming may be a bit of a challenge, but you can still at least get to where they will tolerate being handled and groomed. It just requires effort and patience on your part.

If you have a young puppy, then the key will be to start teaching them about grooming as early as possible.

No one size fits all in dog grooming

There are so many factors that can make dog grooming different from dog to dog, such as size of the dog, the dog breed, their coat type, long coats versus short coats, and so on. But basic dog grooming remains pretty much the same for all dogs. No matter what type of dog you have they will need a bath, regular brushing and combing, ears cleaned, teeth brushed, and nails trimmed.

True, if you have a long-haired dog you will spend more time grooming, and getting your dog or puppy to enjoy grooming will be more of a challenge, but just remember that there are definite benefits to dog grooming. You will just need to practice more often 🙂 .

Because there are tasks that you will have to perform on a regular basis, and because of the benefits, it is important that you introduce your puppy or your adult dog to grooming as soon as you can. The experience will be much more pleasant for both of you if you start early.

Groom your dog or puppy every day

To create a positive grooming experience for both you and your dog or puppy, you must introduce her to the process slowly and often. Allow her to become familiar with all the different dog grooming tools by showing them to her one at a time.

For example, show her one of her brushes and let her sniff it for a couple seconds then reward her with a treat. Next, gently touch her with the brush and reward her with a treat again. Once she has fully accepted the brush, start by brushing her with just one stroke and then give her a treat. Repeat this process another two or three times.

She will soon realize that the brush creates a pleasant sensation for her, not to mention the treats she will be receiving. However, you will want to start phasing out the treats once you see she is allowing you to brush her without any fuss.

The key is to break down any grooming process into small steps and allow your dog or puppy to associate a positive experience with each step. Patience and repetition is important.

Another example would be bath time. Take her to where you will be grooming her and allow her to just get comfortable with being in that area before you begin.

Start a couple days before giving her a bath. Put her in a tub without water and throw in a couple toys and give her a favorite treat. Do the same thing again the following day, but this time add some water. Allow her to get used to the idea of getting wet. Then move on to getting her entire body wet and so on, and so on.

The same process can be applied to other grooming tasks. Follow the same ideas for the nail clipper, the toothbrush, and other grooming tools.

So, can your dog or puppy love dog grooming? They may not necessarily love the idea, but they can certainly learn to tolerate grooming and create a much more pleasant experience for both of you. Just spend the time getting them used to all the different tasks you will be routinely performing.