You’ve recently decided to begin grooming your dog at home – awesome! Grooming your pup is a great way to deepen your bond while also staying in tune with any changes in their fur or skin, which can indicate potential health issues.
On your quest to become an at-home groomer, you’ve started researching best practices and whoa! There is a lot of information! It can be overwhelming, but this guide is here to help break down our 4 easy steps to achieving a healthy, happy, and beautiful groom.
First things first: the bath. Bathing is important to keep your pet looking and feeling its best. A good scrub in the tub will remove unwanted dirt, mud, oils, shed, and anything else that may have gotten trapped in their fur. A bath first will also make the rest of the grooming process much smoother because you are removing any dirt and debris that can bog down your clipper blades. Added bonus: They will smell much better!
There is no shortage of shampoo options to choose from but finding one that meets your pet’s needs is key. Common options include shampoos for puppies, sensitive skin, whitening, odor control, shed control, and calming. Avoid pet shampoos with ingredients such as phthalates, parabens, and sulfates as these can cause irritation and allergic reactions. Gravitating toward shampoos with natural ingredients will make for a healthier, happier pup.
Other shampoo products such as wipes, no-rinse shampoos, and doggie deodorants can help you with quick touch-ups, cleaning small messes, and odor control on your pup in between baths.
Before moving on to the next steps, make sure you properly dry your pet’s coat. If you are not sure how, check out this video from Wahl Animal ELITE Educator Brittney Valle!
Brushing is another great way to bond with your four-legged friend. Regular brushing will remove dirt and shed, while spreading natural oils throughout the coat. There are a wide variety of brushes available for dog grooming and understanding your dog’s coat type and needs are important for determining which brush(es) may be right.
If your pup is a shedder, look for tools that are built to remove shed. If your pup has curly fur, a slicker brush may be the perfect option for helping you remove deep tangles and the mats that occur in their unruly hair. For longer coats, a pin brush may be the exact solution you need to keep their flowing fur tangle-free and shiny.
It is important to reiterate that prior to any clipping, you should always bathe and brush your dog first. Not only will this help provide your pup with a stress and tangle-free clip, but will help keep your blade from having to work in overdrive to power through dirt, debris, and mats.
There are two different types of fur clipping products: clippers and trimmers.
Clippers, while great for shave downs, are best used with attachment guide combs to leave your pet’s coat at optimal length for protection from the sun or weather.
Small trimmers are great for trimming around faces, paws, and other sensitive areas. Make sure to trim ears and paws after bathing for a clean and finished look.
If you are not sure which clipper might be right for your pet’s needs, check out our comprehensive guide to learn more!
Lastly we have the nails - the final, yet very important, step in finishing your pet’s groom.
There are a variety of products to choose from and understanding how they work can help you narrow down your search.
Nail grinders are ideal for trimming, shaping, and smoothing nails and can often allow you to dial in on a speed that works for your pet. Grinders can be used on any size dog.
Nail clippers are great for quick nail trims - though often a filer or grinder is needed after to smooth down any sharp edges a clipper can leave behind.
Pro Tip: Always keep a styptic powder or cornstarch on hand in case of an accidental nick of the quick.
For more tips and tricks, check out this video from Brittney Valle!