These Dog Grooming Tips From A Professional Will Make Your Life Easier

Your pup will be so clean 🛀

dog being brushed

Grooming your pup can seem overwhelming, but it’s actually not so hard.

Whether you want to groom your dog at home or you just want to do a touch-up between trips to the groomer, The Dodo spoke to Daryl Conner, a professional groomer and owner of FairWinds Grooming Studio, to get some tips.

Teach your dog to like being groomed

According to Conner, if you teach your dog to like grooming, it’ll be much easier for you.

You can do this by introducing grooming tools, like nail clippers or brushes, to your pup before using them so he can get acclimated. Giving your pup treats while you groom can also help.

And the earlier you teach your dog to like grooming, the better, since older pups tend to get set in their ways. So if possible, try to teach your dog to love grooming while he’s still a puppy.

Get the right kind of dog brush

Choosing the right brush for your dog’s fur is super important.

“Acquire the appropriate type of brush and comb for your dog's coat type,” Conner told The Dodo.

There are different types of brushes for different types of dog hair, so you should get one that’s made for the kind of hair your dog has. Bristle brushes are good for short-haired dogs because they have short bristles that won’t irritate their skin. For long-haired dogs, look for brushes that detangle and remove stuff stuck in their fur, like slicker, pin and deshedding brushes. Deshedding and slicker brushes can be used on short-haired dogs who have double coats or shed frequently, too. Just be gentle when using them so you don’t scratch your dog’s skin with the bristles.

“If you are unsure what tools are best, ask a professional groomer for guidance,” Conner said. “There are thousands of different combs and brushes, and not all of them will work on every coat type.”

Brush your dog regularly

Brushing your dog often is important to keep his coat healthy and clean. But how often you’ll need to brush your dog will depend on his fur.

“It depends on the dog's coat type,” Conner said. “For instance, a smooth-coated breed (like a Doberman pinscher) can go a long time without brushing, though weekly brushing will help keep shedding under control. Dogs with longer fur need more regular sessions with a brush and comb, some as often as once a day, to keep mats and tangles at bay.”

Get the right kind of nail clippers

There are a number of different kinds of nail clippers and grinders to trim your dog’s nails, so it’s important to find one that’s good quality and easy for you to use.

“Using a professional-quality, sharp trimmer is a must,” Conner said. “Dull nail trimmers crush claws before they cut, causing discomfort.”

Whether you should use a clipper versus a grinder depends on which one you feel more comfortable with. Grinders let you have more control and go slowly, so they’re good for people who are new to cutting their dogs’ nails.

Keep in mind that some pups get freaked out by even the quietest nail grinders, so in that case, nail clippers may be the better option.

Trim your dog’s nails regularly

You should trim your dog’s nails any time you can hear them clicking on the floor.

If his nails get too long, they can actually cause major problems, such as difficulty walking, lack of traction, deformed feet and injured tendons and joints, so you should check the length of your pup’s nails on a regular basis.

The most important thing to know when cutting your dog’s nails is where the quick is. The nail quick is the pinkish area in the middle of his nail that contains a blood vessel and a nerve. If you nip the quick, it can cause a lot of bleeding and can be painful for your pup.

If your dog has black nails, you might not be able to see the quick, so it’s best to trim slowly and in small slices. The nail will look darker when you get close to the quick, so when the center of the nail starts to look dark (versus white), you can stop trimming.

“Pet owners should learn the anatomy of claws so they know where to cut,” Conner said. “Cutting a nail too short can result in discomfort and bleeding. Having some form of clotting agent on hand is suggested.”

Styptic powder is the best way to stop your dog’s nail from bleeding if you accidently hit the quick.

You can get this styptic powder from Amazon for $3.99.

Give your dog baths regularly

Most dogs are OK with having a bath once a month, but some dogs with oily fur or no hair need to be washed more frequently.

And if your pup ever gets especially dirty, definitely give him a bath.

“My rule of thumb on bathing frequency is that if the dog looks, smells or feels dirty, it's time for a bath,” Conner said.

And Conner’s tip for bathing your pup is to rinse, rinse, rinse: “Pro tip: Rinse like crazy, then rinse again,” Conner said. “Products left in the coat can cause skin irritation and attract dirt from the environment to cling to the coat.”

Get a shampoo made specifically for dogs, too. Human products can irritate your pup’s skin and can even be toxic if he swallows some.

Check your dog’s skin

While grooming your dog, check his skin for ticks, fleas or other parasites.

Ask your vet or groomer what to look for and how to safely remove ticks, and if you do find any parasites, contact your vet.

Brush your dog’s teeth every day

Vets estimate that about 80 percent of dogs over the age of 3 have dental disease, so professional teeth cleanings are super important. Dogs need to have their teeth brushed every day (or at least a few times a week) to keep them clean and healthy.

Dental treats are also a great way to keep your dog’s teeth healthy. These Greenies treats earned The Dodo’s Paw of Approval, and you can get them from Amazon for $4.98.

Trim your dog’s hair with caution

If your dog has long hair, you may need to trim his hair in between trips to the groomer, especially if his fur gets in his eyes.

But trimming your dogs’ hair can be tricky, so you have to be extra careful.

“As a professional groomer, I caution people to be careful when attempting to trim their dog's hair at home,” Conner said. “Moving animals and sharp tools can result in injury.”

If you want to cut your dog’s hair yourself, Conner recommends getting lessons from a groomer.

Clean your dog’s ears

You may not think of cleaning your dog’s ears regularly, but it’s an important part of grooming your pup.

Most dogs need their ears cleaned around once a month, but dogs with long, floppy ears and dogs who spend a lot of time in water may need theirs cleaned more often because they trap more moisture.

If your dog’s ears seem healthy (pink, odorless, not dirty), you can probably clean them at home. But if they smell or if you notice more dramatic abnormalities, you should talk to a professional.

With these tips, you’ll be able to get your dog started on a grooming routine that works for him. As long as you’re keeping up with his bathing, nail trimming, hair brushing and ear cleaning, your well-groomed pup will stay healthy and look amazing!

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