Pet parents are having to keep their dogs looking and feeling healthy and happy without relying on their professional groomer during the stay home quarantine order we are experiencing in Michigan. Home grooming is a hassle (to put it mildly) for even the most patient dog owner.
Bending over the tub can be a real backbreaker, not to mention the clogged drains in the tub. Whether you have a short-haired, typically low maintenance breed or a long-haired dog who requires ongoing and regular coat attention, all dogs can suffer from dry skin and overgrown nails. We’re here to help you!
When grooming from home, consider doing so at a time when you are most relaxed. The less nervous that you are, the better for your dog. Animals can sense when you’re approaching with apprehension. If you are making the choice to do some home grooming, we’re hoping this tool list will help you, along with reminding you how important it is to remember, you got this! Be confident as best you can and let’s get your dog comfortable.
Home Grooming Tips
- Keep your sessions short
- Have plenty of treats readily available
- Teach cooperative care techniques for handling
- Have all the necessary tools best for your breed of dog and their temperament
- Deep breaths. You got this!
Bathing Your Dog
- Avoid dry skin by bathing no more than once per month
- Consider a portable tub. These are great for taking the anxiety out of the experience for both the dog and the handler. Also, you can get all the way around the dog, 360 degrees.
- Always comb out the dog’s hair, before the bath to prevent matting of the coat.
- Give your dog a massage while you bathe can de-shed at the same time when you use a grooming glove.
- Use non-toxic all-natural ingredients for your shampoo choices. Never use “people” shampoo!
- Consider a two-in-one product that has shampoo and conditioner together in one.
Combs and Brushes for Long-Haired Dogs
Brushing the coat to keep the skin and hair healthy is more important than adding water and soap. Brush – brush and brush some more to help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy. Keep in mind, brushing only removes tangles from the top of the coat leaving the knots underneath the surface. Be sure to invest in a good comb that gets down to the bottom of the coat.
- A flat spine comb. We like this one here!
- Use a gentle pin brush while the dog is still wet. (Adding a conditioner while the dog is wet can assist in working through knots and matted fur!)
- Choose a pin brush that has rounded ends at the end of the bristles to prevent brush burn or skin irritation.
Brushes for Short Haired Dogs
- The Furminator de-shedding tool can make shedding worse when seasons are changing.
- Instead, consider the Zoom Groom made by Kong. This tool also massages as it cleans which dogs really appreciate!
- Consider a de-shedding tool such as the Sleek EZ here.
Scissors and Clippers
If you’ve washed, dried and brushed and your dog still has a matted coat or their hair is hanging in their face, you may need to invest in a pair of safety scissors that have rounded edges. Using safety scissors can help minimize the danger of using sharp instruments, especially when you aren’t a pro or well practiced!
Keep in mind, we really don’t recommend that you cut your dog’s hair at all, but if your dog can’t see, here are a few trimming tips:
- Comb the bangs all the way forward and to the front.
- Sandwich the bangs in between your thumb and forefinger and measure, creating a line that divides.
- Cut only the bangs that stick out past your fingers.
Pet Clipper Kit
We really would rather that you don’t clip your dog’s hair from home. However, if your pup’s fur is matted and causing severe discomfort this may be your only option. When a dog becomes matted this can cause major behavior changes such as irritability or even depression. Not to mention skin irritations and health problems. You may need to shave your dog and start fresh.
You really don’t need an advanced set of clippers, a standard kit from Wahl which includes a variety of guards comes with a “how-to” guide and styling tips. Be sure to move in the direction of the hair growth to prevent skin burning and always work with the plastic heal of the clippers flat against the dog’s body rather than from an angle. Especially when working near the ears, elbows, and tail areas. You really want to avoid touching thin skin next to the clippers moving blades. You really need to be careful near skin folds and flaps!
Your dog might look a little goofy since you aren’t a professional groomer, but it’s better to leave the coat a little choppy than to rush to the vet with a puncture wound, especially right now when veterinary appointments are limited. Just getting your dog comfortable and removing the knots is the objective.
This process creates a lot of anxiety for so many people – and dogs. Remain calm and consider the following tools:
- Scratchboard. See this video here with a dog who knows how to use the board, once taught.
- Clippers with a non-slip grip and safety guard
- Consider a cordless dremel if you would rather not risk cutting the quick in the nail. Consider this one by fear-free makers called the zen clipper precise. You may need to spend time getting your dog used to the sound. Refer to the cooperative care video above for similar techniques related to desensitization.
- Have some Kwik Stop Styptic Powder around, just in case of accidents.
Not having access to our pet care professionals that we know and trust is tough, but roughing it hasn’t been easy either. Who cares if your dog is little goofy looking, as long as he or she is comfortable!