What Does Dog Grooming Include? A Full List of Procedures

The five basic pillars that most pet groomers include are baths, then a haircut, along with brushing out tangles, nail clipping, and ear care. Some dog breeds require more attention than others because of their physical characteristics, but every dog needs some level of grooming and maintenance.

If you are looking to groom your dog by yourself, then I would strongly advise you to read our in house dog grooming guide. -Otherwise, below should be enough info to get a general idea on what a dog grooming consists of.

Tricks of the Trade

If you’ve ever wondered what does a dog groomer do, then good news for you – below are the basic grooming for dogs steps.


Brushing stimulates the skin and removes loose dander as well as other particles that might become lodged in a dog’s coat. The regularity of brushing is very much dependent on the length of the dog’s hair; you can brush a dog every day without any adverse effects. Most dogs love to be brushed, and those that don’t will learn to love it after they become accustomed to it.

As a general rule of thumb, shorthaired dogs should be brushed once per month, dogs with medium length hair need brushing once per week, and longhaired dogs should be brushed daily. Any of this can vary based on the activities of the animal. Dogs spending more time outside tend to require brushing more often than dogs that spend more time indoors.

Nail Trimming

Some animals have problem nails that may grow back into their paws if they are not trimmed regularly. Not only is this condition painful, but it can also lead to infection. Nail trims are necessary to prevent this problem.

Dog owners should ask their vet for advice on trimming nails if they are not sure how to accomplish this task safely. Dogs don’t like to have their nails clipped and that dislike will only increase if they are hurt during the process. Check out this article on how to introduce nail cutting to your dog in a nice way. Also, There is a specific length to cut a dog’s nails, and cutting into the “quick” of the nail should be avoided.

In case there is an accident leading to a bleeding nail, keep styptic powder on hand and apply to the nail area to stop the bleeding. Let the dog rest and postpone the remainder of the nail trimming session until another time.


The standard rule of dog bathing is once per month, but once weekly is not too often. It is not recommended to bathe a dog every two or three days because it dries out their skin. If you bathe your dog weekly, use a shampoo formulated for dogs that moisturize the skin.


You probably won’t be thanked by your dog if you give him a haircut, but it is in the best interest of dogs with medium or long hair, especially in the warmer months. How often this is done is solely based on the preference of the owner, but when hair gets in an animal’s eyes and thwarts his vision, it needs to be trimmed.

Ear Care

Keeping foreign materials out of a dog’s ears can be a difficult task. Daily inspection of the ears is the best way to keep them clean and healthy. A gentle ear cleansing needs to be performed when necessary using a product specifically designed for this purpose. With active dogs, especially those that swim frequently, this might need to be done more often, but once every week or so is typically all that is necessary.

If your dog is a wanderer and prone to wading the creeks or swimming in lakes, it is important to give him a good visual inspection every day for parasites, injuries, and other potential problems.

Step-By-Step Guide

Do you know how to groom a dog? The basics are not that hard to learn. If you start on your dog, you can take your time with a dog who knows and trusts you.

The first thing you need to do is comb and/or brush the dog to get rid of all the loose hair. You need to do this before you bath him because once the hair is wet, it is tough to comb out the loose stuff. Depending on the kind of dog you have, you will have to experiment with various types of brushes and combs until you find the right one for your dog’s type of fur.

Then, give the pup a thorough brushing and get rid of as much loose hair as you can.

Then, you can start trimming. You might want to trim the hair that does not look good, such as behind the ears, the back of the legs, etc. Often there is hair on the underside of the paws and around the paws that need to be trimmed away too. Also cut away any hair that could get messy when the dog goes to the bathroom.

In the spring, I like to cut away a lot of hair that hangs down from the stomach and legs, so that it does not drag in the mud and get all dirty. A lot of grooming your dog is personal preference.

If you want a fancier cut, then consult a book or website devoted to your breed of dog for details on how to achieve the cut.

Next, cut the dog’s nails. Be careful not to cut too much, or they will bleed. Have some styptic powder on hand (available from the pet store) just in case.

Now it’s time for the bath. Make sure you use a shampoo made especially for dogs and follow the directions. If the shampoo is supposed to be diluted, then be sure you do that. A small dog can probably be bathed in a sink, otherwise, use a tub. Don’t put in too much water and make sure it is a proper temperature before you put in the dog. Close the bathroom door, so the dog doesn’t escape and run all over the house!

When rinsing out the shampoo, be sure to rinse a lot, and keep rinsing over and over until all traces of shampoo are gone. It is bad for the dog’s skin to leave traces of shampoo, and the skin could get irritated. It is the most important thing to remember when giving the bath.

Don’t do the dog’s head until you are all done with everything else, and then do it carefully. You will see why. Once a dog gets his head wet, he wants to shake and will spray water all over!

Finally, let the dog out of the tub and towel him off as much as you can. You can also try a hair dryer, but some dogs will not tolerate the noise from the dryer, so you might need to let him air dry. If it is cold outside, make sure your dog is dry before you let him out, so he doesn’t catch a cold.

Once the dog is dry, brush him out again to get rid of any more hair that might have loosened, and do a final trim of any stray hairs. Now enjoy your beautiful and clean dog. See, grooming your dog was not too hard, was it?

Pet Grooming Careers

Do you enjoy pet dog grooming? Maybe you have groomed your own dog or cat, and you feel that you would like to do this as a job.

Remember that if you are a pet groomer, you will have to know how to groom all kinds of pets or at least many kinds of dogs and cats. You can’t just rely on the knowledge that you gained by grooming your pup or kitten, although that is a good start to find out if you would like doing this as a business.

So how do you learn to groom all the different kinds of animals that you might encounter? One way is to go to a pet or dog grooming school. Another way is to get a job as a groomer and learn by doing. You might not be able to be hired as a groomer unless you have some basic coursework, though. But it is worth a try. You could maybe start as an assistant to the pet groomer, and then slowly learn the tricks of the trade.

There is more to grooming pets than just bathing them and clipping their fur. You also have to know how to cut their nails, clean their ears, and brushing their teeth. You also need to know how to get along with dogs and cats and how to work with pets that might be nervous or fearful.

If you are not sure if pet dog grooming is the career for you, then try to start slowly, by doing your own dogs and maybe those of friends, and then see if you can help out in a grooming salon, just to see if you would like it.

Maybe you can volunteer to help out at a pet shelter and groom the dogs there. Don’t give up if you think you would like to become a dog groomer. There is sure to be a way to break into the field that would work for anyone’s situation.

If you work in a pet grooming salon at first, you will not have to purchase all the equipment that you would need if you were starting in business for yourself. So it certainly would be wise to work for another pet groomer at first, until you know if the business is one that you want to get into.

In the meantime, you will be picking up grooming knowledge and tips and will be earning money that you can use toward purchasing your own grooming tables and equipment when you are ready to start your own pet dog grooming business.

Taking Paws

So, now you know what basic dog grooming is, however, bear in mind that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to grooming because it is basically a “perform as needed” procedure. Proper attention, regular grooming, and care of your dog will prevent health and safety issues caused by neglect, and your dog will feel better because of your concern for his well-being.