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Guide To Grooming Your Dog At Home

image of cavalier king charles spaniel holding brush

Your furry friend’s coat is starting to look messy, and you feel it is the right time to spruce it up. Are you going to pay a call to one of the specialized grooming salons? Or do you know how to take care of it yourself? 

Many dog parents choose to groom their best dog friends in the comfort of their own home. And many of them do it exceptionally well, indeed. So, what do you need to know before having a go at grooming your dog at home for the very first time? 

Several handy tips will help you turn this activity into a pleasant experience for both your pup and you. In this article, you will find a few basic guidelines.

Benefits of Grooming Your Pooch at Home

Why do some owners prefer to groom their dog at home rather than have an expert do it for them? There seem to be several main reasons.

First of all, some owners feel confident enough and possess a sufficient level of skill. They take a great deal of pleasure, spending time with their furry buddies and pampering them. It also provides them with a great opportunity to build a stronger bond with their beloved pup. 

Moreover, some dogs tend to get quite nervous every time they visit a grooming salon. To rule out this cause of anxiety, owners often decide to take care of it on their own.

Finally, learning how to trim your pup’s coat [1] can help you save a considerable amount of money, as this type of service can be quite pricey nowadays.

All things considered, it is clear why more and more dog owners go for the DIY option when grooming is concerned.

Dog Grooming Tools That You'll Need

If you are about to give your furry friend a beauty treatment on your own, always make sure you are equipped with the right set of quality tools.These will make the job far less demanding and much safer for your pet.



High-quality shampoo will clean your pal’s coat thoroughly. It is essential to do this before giving your dog a trim.

Reliable products will not result in skin irritations either. To make rinsing easier, it is advisable to dilute shampoo with water.

image of standard black poodle with shampoo and brush


Comb or Brush

Unless you brush your pet meticulously beforehand, the grooming itself will not run smoothly. A brush with rubber teeth is suitable for short-haired pooches. As for long-haired breeds, the best results are achieved with metal-pinned brushes.  



When it comes to scissors, choose a high quality pair, designed for professional use. They need to be sharp and cut hair quickly without pulling.



The fastest and most efficient way of giving your puppy a proper trim is by using electric clippers. You may not be too fond of this idea. However, you should keep in mind that dog clippers are safer and easier to use than those designed for humans.


Nail Cutter

In addition to looking after their coat, your pet dog’s nails require regular clipping, too. To avoid splitting and chipping, make sure the tool you are using (nail grinders or clippers) is sharp enough. 

How To Groom a Dog at Home

image of dog taking a bath in the bathtub

Bathing Tips

Bathing is a regular part of dog care, and if you approach it in the right way, it can be a positive experience for your canine friend. Give your dog a bath only when necessary – to get rid of unpleasant odor, to remove traces of dirt and loose hair, or to treat an existing skin-and-coat-related issue.

Always check the water temperature before you get your pup’s hair wet. Apply shampoo by massaging it gently into the coat, starting from the neck and chest area, all the way down to the tail. To clean the head area, it is better to use a soft washcloth.

Once you rinse them thoroughly, dry them off with a towel. And don’t forget the favorite treat your pal is looking forward to!

Brushing Tips

Brush your dog whenever you feel they need it. In other words, keep an eye on their coat to see if they are shedding excessively,  if there are knots or matted areas. Regular brushing sessions will give your furry friend’s coat a glossy and healthy look. 

Medium to long-haired pooches will call for more frequent brushing, compared with their short-haired counterparts. Apart from being unsightly, mats and knots can accumulate moisture, prevent airflow, and result in skin irritations or severe infections.

That is why brushing and grooming are seen as preventative activities, as well.

Grooming With Scissors

Scissors are extremely useful for adding a few final touches – around your dog’s ears, face, or legs. However, you need to be extra cautious when using scissors to trim your puppy’s hair to avoid possible accidents.

It is recommended to use only the tips of scissors when trimming the areas mentioned above. By doing so, you will be able to react swiftly and move them away in case your pet moves suddenly and abruptly. 

When cutting the hair around their ears, always hold them , so they stay away from the blades. Ideally, an extra pair of hands helping you hold your pet in place makes the safest option.

image of veterinarian hand grooming dog with the clipper

Grooming With a Clipper

A good clipper will save you a significant amount of both time and effort. It will also minimize the risk of injuries. Another plus is that you can choose the hair length of your preference, owing to different guards available.

Once you are ready, start from the neck area, progressing gradually downwards, in the direction in which the hair grows. Tackle all the matted and tangled spots with care, as they can be close to the skin and may be painful to remove. 

If you use a clipper for too long at a time, the blade can get rather hot and burn your pet’s skin. To prevent this, take frequent breaks to check its temperature.

Grooming time is an ideal chance for you to examine your canine’s skin, too. If you notice redness, irritation, or signs of infection, consult your vet as soon as possible [2].

Brushing Teeth

Statistics related to dental issues in dogs are not very promising. Worryingly, the vast majority of them will develop a condition called periodontal disease when they are four years old. Proper dental care is a reliable preventative measure you should practice regularly.

Introduce a toothbrush and toothpaste to your beloved buddy step by step. Brush their teeth by lifting the upper lip and exposing the teeth and gums. Do it on both sides, to remove plaque and get rid of smelly breath.

Ear Cleaning

Ear hygiene is one of the factors that contribute to your buddy’s overall health. It is, therefore, important to make it part of your regular routine. It is recommended to check your pet’s ears once a week.

A specially formulated solution suggested by your vet will help you remove excessive wax. To do this safely and painlessly, use a cotton ball dampened with this liquid. Cotton swabs should be kept away from a dog’s ear, as they can lead to injuries. 

Redness, swelling, indications of pain, and irritation should be examined by a vet, to prevent more severe conditions.

closeup image of veterinarian cutting dog toenail with nail clipper

Trimming a Dog’s Nails

Some pooches may feel reluctant to have their nails cut, although this brings several benefits. Though many owners prefer taking their pet to a professional groomer, there are still those who give their pups a gentle pedicure treatment themselves. 

When clipping your pal’s nails, keep away from the pink area contained in every nail (the quick). Nerves and blood vessels located inside it can be extremely painful if hurt. Once injured, your pup may get completely uncooperative and stressed whenever they catch sight of nail clippers. 

Trimmed nails will keep your furniture undamaged, plus you will get a chance to take a closer look at your pet’s paws and scan them for injuries, swellings, or cracks.

Do's and Don'ts in DIY Dog Grooming

What to Do

If you follow several basic guidelines, you can achieve excellent results when grooming your pup at home [3].

  • Get top-quality, professional-grade tools for each segment of your dog's care ( brushes, scissors, clippers, toothbrushes, shampoo, and toothpaste, etc.)
  • Use an adequate brush suitable for your pet’s hair type, to remove dirt, matting, and tangles, giving the coat a shiny look.
  • Trim their nails regularly, checking the condition of their pads.
  • Use a product that will stop bleeding if an injury occurs. 
  • Use a wet washcloth to clean the head area
  • Check your pet pup for ticks.
  • Maintain dental hygiene at a high level
  • Clean their ears regularly, checking them for signs of infections similar issues
  • Choose reliable hygiene products.

What to Avoid

To avoid putting your beloved buddy at any kind of risk, always be aware of potentially dangerous activities.

  • Do not clip your pal's nails unless you have learned the basics of the procedure. Seek advice from professionals or your vet if you are unsure. Having the correct tools is a must, too.
  • Do not shave and clip their hair unless you know how to do it.
  • Do not treat any injuries on your own.
  • Do not use human hygiene products on your pooch, as some of them can be toxic.
  • Do not apply any fragrances on your pup's skin and coat.
  • When the weather is cold, do not give your pet a bath outdoors.

Grooming Tips on How to Calm a Nervous Dog

It is high time you gave your pup a thorough grooming session, but you have been putting it off for a while. The reason for this may often be a high amount of stress your beloved pal suffers on every such occasion.

The key to overcoming this issue is a step-by-step training that will help your pooch get used to activities and tools involved in a grooming session.

Your buddy will start feeling more and more at ease if you pat and stroke them gently, talking to them in a calm voice. Hold one body part, e.g., a leg, at a time, examining it slowly. Rewarding calm behavior with a favorite treat is another effective method. 

Let them have a look at the equipment you will be using. Motivate them to stand still in one place by offering rewards. 

Do not be impatient if your dog remains to be strikingly nervous, but return to this type of training the following day.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you groom your canine?

Several factors may influence your decision about how often your dog needs to be groomed.Dogs with longer hair require more attention of this kind, with more frequent brushing, bathing, and the need to cut their hair. Short-haired breeds can do with less regular treatments.

Pooches that are more active and spend more time outdoors may also require more frequent grooming treatments.

Do you shave a dog wet or dry?

The fact that human hair is cut when wet may be  misleading if you are uncertain about how to cut your dog’s hair. When it comes to canines, the best results are achieved if you shave them once you have washed them thoroughly and let them dry off fully.

Wet shaving can be an option in cases of excessive hair and matted areas, but it should be performed with extra caution.

How do you safely cut your dog's facial hair with scissors?

Your pal’s facial hair is probably giving you the hardest time when trimming it. You can master it over time, but you must always make sure the risk of injury is minimal. 


The best idea is to start from the bottom of the chin, moving your way up around the nose, the eyes and the top of the head. Try to relax and give your pooch a bit of time to get accustomed to having all the tools you are using just next to their head.


Don’t you simply adore the way your four-legged friend looks and smells after the visit to their favorite groomer in town? However, you may not be able to afford these beauty treatments as often as you would love to. So, can you handle it some other way? 

With some practice and enough confidence, you can get pretty good at grooming your pal on your own. Make yourself familiar with essential DOs and DON’Ts and have proper tools within hand’s reach.

Your tail-wagger will feel safe and at ease in your hands. And your friendship is bound to get even stronger, too!