10 Tips for the Best At-Home Dog Grooming

Groomer working with a golden retriver dog in pet grooming salon.

Keeping your dog clean and well-groomed is important if you want to keep him happy and healthy.

This means regularly trimming his nails, bathing him and brushing his teeth, as well as general grooming like shaving or brushing his coat.

You can also use these tips on how to groom your dog at home to train him to sit still, making the process easier for both of you.

These 10 tips will show you how to bathe, brush and style your dog quickly and easily.


1) Brush your dog with a rubber brush

Rubber brushes are useful because they pull out loose fur, which acts as a magnet to pick up dirt and debris.

This reduces shedding by keeping your dog’s coat cleaner and more comfortable to live in.

These brushes also promote healthy skin by stimulating blood flow, getting rid of dead skin cells, and promoting new hair growth.

Use rubber brushes on dogs with long or thick coats at least once a week, or daily if you want to be really thorough.


2) Brush your dog before bathing

Brushing your dog’s fur before giving him a bath can eliminate dead hair and reduce tangles.

Always brush against your dog’s natural lay, which helps distribute oils throughout his coat and keeps it healthy.

Start at his head and work down toward his tail, brushing any mats you encounter along the way.

If you run into a mat, try to gently pull out as much hair as possible with your fingers before taking scissors to it.

And don’t forget about those ears!

Cleaning your dog’s ears is an important part of grooming—it removes wax buildup that could cause infection.

To clean them, use a cotton ball or swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe away any dirt or debris in his ear canal.


3) Wash your dog first

You’ll want to wash your dog before you start any trimming or clipping.

The goal is a healthy and clean dog, so begin with a good bath.

Rinse your pup, making sure to get all soap and shampoo off of him/her before you start working.

After rinsing, check for fleas; if fleas are present, use an appropriate product and follow directions carefully!

If there are no fleas, move on to drying.


4) Pre-treat shedding areas with special products

There are several different products on the market that claim to make your dog’s coat shine, so to speak.

These topical remedies are great at pulling loose hair out of your dog’s coat before it ends up all over your house.

If you’re going to spend money on grooming tools or a DIY de-shedding tool like we talked about in tip #1.

Why not shell out a few more bucks and treat your pup before you start snipping?

This will save you time and money down the road.

Plus, shedding is natural—but it can be prevented with these special products designed to help your pet keep his cool during seasonal changes.


5) Rinse your dog after cleaning

After you’ve bathed your dog, be sure to rinse him with water.

This will not only remove excess soap, but it will also calm your dog as he begins to associate rinsing with positive things.

To help him even more, try adding some soothing music into a portable speaker (like a boom box) and have it playing while you wash and rinse.

Not only will it ease your pup, but it’ll also keep other family members entertained!

The right tools make all the difference: Invest in high-quality pet grooming tools—this includes everything from nail clippers to brushes.

Cheap tools can cause injuries or irritate your dog’s skin.

It’s worth spending a little extra money on something that won’t cause pain or discomfort.


6) Apply conditioner afterward

Apply a small amount of conditioner to your dog’s fur after shampooing. This will soften her fur and make it easier to brush out.

It also helps detangle any knots that may have formed while you washed her, keeping her coat smooth and shiny.

Use non-abrasive brushes: Avoid using brushes with metal or plastic bristles; these can cause irritation on your dog’s skin.

Instead, opt for soft rubber or nylon brushes when grooming your pet at home.

Be sure to give them plenty of breaks: If you want your dog to enjoy his bath time.

Remember to give him frequent breaks throughout each session.

Dogs get tired just like people do, so they need frequent rest periods in order to keep their energy up throughout the day.

Take advantage of professional services: If you don’t feel comfortable giving your pup a bath yourself.

Consider hiring a professional groomer instead.


7) Focus on paws

The best time to focus on your dog’s paws is right after they’ve had a bath.

Why? Because their feet will be soft and clean, so you won’t get as much of a mess on your carpet or upholstery.

Be sure to use lots of lather (if your dog allows it), and get under their nails, too.

Use water first to rinse out any excess soap, then check them over carefully with a dry towel and nail clippers.

Pay special attention to how long their nails are getting—they should never touch the ground when standing—and trim accordingly.

If you don’t have professional nail clippers, try using small scissors instead.

Just make sure that if you do trim them yourself, you do it in one quick motion!


8) Style her fur like a pro by pulling hair into sections with clips

It’s best to clip your dog’s fur from her ears down (dogs have less hair around their ears than other parts of their body).

Using a pair of grooming clippers or scissors, trim about 1⁄4 inch off at a time.

To get a neat, symmetrical look, start with one side and work in small sections until you reach her tail.

You can also remove dead hair by rubbing her with a slicker brush.

Avoid cutting too much hair off at once because it will be difficult to keep track of how much she has left.

If you do accidentally cut too much, use an electric trimmer at low speed so that you don’t burn her skin.

And remember: The longer her coat is, the more likely it is that she will need professional grooming services.


9) Dry your pet as soon as possible

Waiting until your dog is completely dry can cause their fur to fall out and make their skin itchy.

Therefore, try to dry them as soon as possible after you bathe them so they don’t get cold or have time to lick themselves clean.

If necessary, you can put a sweater on your pet while trying to keep them warm during what might otherwise be a chilly process.

This will also give them something else to focus on besides biting your hands off in anticipation of food or treats.


10) Reward them for being good during grooming time

Giving your pet treats while they’re getting groomed or bathed can help make them feel loved and cared for during a process that they may be unfamiliar with.

These treats also act as positive reinforcement, so you can reward good behavior during grooming.

Keep some around, even if you don’t plan on using them right away.

If your dog starts to act aggressively towards a family member.

Try distracting him with a treat and praise in order to calm him down.

Check here for Easy and Fun Tricks to Teach Your Dog.

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