How to do an At-Home Groom
Did Someone Say Spa Day? Grooming needs vary wildly based on the breed of dog you have. However, some practices are commonplace for all; like brushing their coat and making sure their nails are trimmed. If you have your groomer in your favorites on your phone, don’t worry you won’t be coming for their job after reading our list, but you might be able to do more than muddle through until you the next available appointment with the help of these tips.
Most dogs need a bath about once per month; a little more often if they roll in the dirt/mud or seem to be smelly, and a little less if they struggle with dry skin or are hairless. Bring your accoutrements into the bathroom before your dog is invited to the party: a brush or comb, shampoo, conditioner (optional), a plastic cup, treats and a towel or two.
Then, fill a shallow amount of warm water in the bath and place your pup in the tub. If you know they dislike the water, try smearing some peanut butter on the wall to keep them occupied while you get to scrubbing. Licking also releases endorphins for them which helps keep them calm. Get your dog wet and rub a small amount of shampoo into a lather over their whole body – avoiding the eyes and inside the ears of course. Rise by using the cup to scoop clean water over them and washing any residue out of their coat, then repeat with conditioner if desired. Brush through wet hair before taking them out of the tub and pat them dry with a towel.
If you’re up for the challenge, try a blow-out after you bathe your pet. Some breeds absolutely love the warmth of a blow dry after getting chilly from the tub! Keep the blowdryer on a low, warm setting and about a foot away from your pet at all times. Move section by section until fluffed to perfection.
Did you think all dogs enjoyed a good brushing before you tried to brush your own? Yeah, us too. Some dogs do love being pampered but for others it’s worse than finding a pill in a slice of cheese. One huge way to help your dog get accustomed to being brushed is by steadily introducing them to the process. Have your dog sit and present them with the brush, let them smell it and feel it out. Then, use any word you’d like (for example, “Brush”) and hold it in front of their face for a few seconds before brushing them a couple of times and handing them a treat immediately after.
Giving them a few seconds to walk away is giving them the choice of staying there to endure the brushing and getting a reward after, or opting out and saying “this is too much for me”, at which point you can leave it and pick it up later. Practicing this basic level of autonomy is good because it prevents dogs from getting overwhelmed and being stressed or aggressive because of their discomfort. With some training over time, they may even be able to sit for the length of the whole brushing without needing a treat until the end. During the spring and summer months also be sure to check for ticks when brushing your pets – tick combs are great options to get the job done easily and help give you peace of mind that your dog’s flea and tick preventatives are working as they should.
Trimming your dog’s nails could be considered an Olympic sport if you ask us. From running around, to couch-wrestling, just to get one millimeter off of one toe? So frustrating. One of the biggest deterrents for dog parents to clipping their pup’s nails is because they worry about hitting the quick (the sensitive nail-bed dogs have) and stress their dog out and leave them with a cut. A great trick for this is to actually hold your dog’s paw backwards, so it points behind them as if they’re taking a step, and from that angle, only cut the tip of the nail that is below the paw pad. This will likely not get the nails as short as absolutely possible but will ensure you don’t hit the quick and it applies to clear and black nails. Having a well-groomed dog is essential for their comfort. It’s also a sign of a well taken care of pet and makes for a happier one!