Beginner’s Guide to Dog Grooming

by | Updated: December 4th, 2016 | Read time: 3 minutes

Many dog owners choose to leave grooming to the professionals. After all, giving your canine companion baths, haircuts and pedicures can seem a bit daunting, especially if you’ve never put your pet salon skills into practice. But if you want to save money and help ensure that your best bud is getting the royal treatment from someone he or she knows and trusts, we’re here to help.

Dog in bathtub covered in bubbles |

Following are some quick tips for grooming your pup in the comfort of your home.

Stock up on the essentials

Grooming your dog regularly is a must if you want your pooch to remain clean, comfortable and healthy. But in order to become an expert, you’re going to need the tools of the trade. We’re talking clippers (choose a pair specially designed for dogs), sharp scissors, a nail file, dog shampoo, a good brush, a comfy bath towel and, of course, plenty of tasty organic, wheat-free treats!

How to give your pet a bath

  • The ASPCA recommends washing your pup at least once every three months
  • Brush your dog before bathing to remove any dead hair/mats
  • Gently place your pup in a sink or tub that contains approximately 3 to 4 inches of lukewarm water
  • Use a cup, pitcher or spray nozzle to wet your dog completely, taking care not to get water in his or her eyes, nose or mouth
  • Massage in the shampoo gently from head to tail and rinse (repeat if necessary)
  • Dry your pup with the bath towel

Did you hear? Cleaning your dog’s ears is important!

  • Clean your dog’s ears with a piece of gauze or cotton ball dampened with hydrogen peroxide, mineral oil or liquid ear cleaner provided by your vet
  • Gently fold your dog’s ear back and carefully wipe away any visible ear wax or debris on the underside of the ear
  • Lift dirt from ear carefully; do not rub it further into the ear

Trimming your dog’s coat

  • Brush out any knots or mats
  • Use clippers in long, smooth strokes, mimicking the direction of the fur growth
  • Use scissors for any touch-ups and to trim fur around your pup’s legs, ears and face
  • To clip your dog’s paws, brush against the direction of the fur growth, pushing the fur between the toes upward and then trim with scissors
  • Clippers can be used to trim the bottom of your pup’s feet

How to clip your pup’s nails

  • Hold your dog’s toe firmly, but gently
  • Hold the trimmer at a slight angle and insert the tip of your dog’s nail into the opening
  • Cut the nail and insert another small portion into the opening
  • Repeat until you can see the top of a circle, which indicates that you are nearing a vein known as the quick
  • Once you see the quick, move onto the next nail and repeat the process
  • Use extra caution if your pup has black nails because the quick will not be as easy to spot
  • After every nail has been trimmed, use a file to smooth any remaining rough edges

Additional advice for pet parents

  • Brush your dog between grooming sessions to prevent dirt build-up, spread beneficial natural oils throughout his or her coat and reduce shedding
  • For a quick clean between baths, try using pet wipes
  • If you notice tiny black specs in your pup’s fur, he or she might have fleas (Try an all-natural flea and tick shampoo or repellent for prevention and relief)
  • Some shedding is normal for many breeds, but contact your vet if you believe your pup may be experiencing excessive fur loss
  • Many canines are prone to ear infections, so contact your vet if your pup’s ear appears red, brown, swollen or emits a foul odor
  • If your dog’s nails bleed during trimming, apply some organic corn starch or styptic powder to stop the bleeding
  • If your dog appears overly anxious, distressed or aggressive, immediately stop whatever grooming task you are performing and bring him or her to a professional