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DIY Dog Grooming Guide | The ‘How-to’ Dog Blog


We all want our dogs to stay healthy, hygienic, and smelling fresh! But it’s not always realistic to take your dog to the groomers for common grooming tasks.

Here’s a helpful guide on some DIY dog grooming tasks, and some that are better left to the experts.


Brushing

  • When: Daily (for long coats); Weekly (for short coats)
  • DIY Level: Beginner
  • How to:
    • Long coats – we recommend a rake or dematting brush to control and detangle fur
    • Double coats – try a deshedding tool or a deshedding blade
    • Short coats or dogs with dry skin – try a curry brush which pulls out loose fur, dead skin, and stimulates the production of natural oils

Bath

  • When: Every 4 weeks
  • DIY Level: Intermediate
  • How to:
    • Get them used to the bath – it’s a struggle, we know. Try to create pawsitive associations with the bath by bringing your dog in without water. You can spread peanut butter on the bathtub walls and let them lick (licking is proven to decrease stress and release endorphins in dogs). When they’re done, just let them out! Try this a couple times, and the third time, slowly turn on warm water.
    • Use a big cup to pour water over your dog while covering their eyes with your hand. Once they’re wet, lather shampoo on their coat and scrub with your fingers and nails. Gently and carefully wash around their face and ears. Rinse by pouring water over them, guarding their eyes from the shampoo. Repeat with a conditioner.
    • Control the fur – if you have a dog who sheds, we know her fur will be everywhere by the end of bath time. Brushing your dog regularly will help control shedding. Brush them right before their bath to further control the fluff (pun intended).
    • Use a hair catcher over your drain to keep their fur from clogging the drain

Teeth brushing

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  • When: 3 times a week is the vet-recommended minimum. 
  • DIY Level: Intermediate
  • How to:
    • We know it can be a difficult task, and it’s definitely something your dog will need to get used to, but regular brushing removes plaque and prevents tartar accumulation.
    • Get your dog used to the toothbrush by putting a small amount of peanut butter or pet-friendly toothpaste on it. Let them sniff, and gently place it in their mouth and around their teeth. Do this for the first few days without really brushing. You just want to get them used to having the toothbrush in their mouth
    • When you’re ready to start brushing, start by doing so for just 30 seconds at a time, and eventually work up to 2 minutes
    • Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and gently brush their front, sides, and back teeth. Make sure you brush near the gum lines to keep those clean and healthy too!
    • Make sure to clean the toothbrush thoroughly in between each use

Nail trim

  • When: Every 3 to 4 weeks
  • DIY Level: Intermediate
  • How to: 
    • We know trimming nails can be a stressful task for both you and your pet. You can try to get them used to the task by petting their feet regularly or showing them the nail trimmer while giving treats. 
    • If they’re nervous, start slow by clipping one nail at a time, and give constant praise and high value treats
    • Pick up their paw and gently place your thumb in between their toes. This will extend their toes and give you a better view of their nails
    • With your other hand, use the clipper to cut straight across their nail. Only cut the part of their nail that is hooked downward. Do not cut too much at once, or else you may cut their quick, which is painful and bleeds.
    • After you’ve trimmed their nails, you can go for a walk which will help file down any rough edges

Fur trim (if you have a dog with a long coat) 

  • When: Every four to six weeks
  • DIY Level: Expert
  • How to:
    • Honestly, we don’t recommend trimming your dog’s fur on your own, especially if you’re trimming next to his eyes and mouth. This is best handled by a professional.
    • If you want to keep your dog looking fresh for longer in between grooms, regularly brush her fur and clean her eyes and mouth with a damp cloth or special cleaning wipes

Anal glands

  • When: Twice a year
  • DIY Level: Expert
  • Gross level: 1,000,000,000
  • How to: 
    • Does your dog ever excrete a strong fishy smell from down there? Yeah, that’s their anal glands. Some dogs need their anal glands expressed regularly, while others may not need it at all.
    • They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy the peace of mind of not dealing with this particular grooming task. As far as DIY dog grooming goes, pass on this one! This procedure is best done by a groomer or vet and costs about $10-$15, a small price to pay to not have to get so up close and personal with your pooch.
    • Okay, if you really want to DIY, here’s a video that shows you how. Warning, it is graphic.



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