Caitlin UltimoGrooming / Health

At-Home Dog Grooming Cheat Sheet

It’s not always possible to make it to the groomer when you need a service, and many owners want to keep up some maintenance at home in between visits. So here are some tips for when you’re attempting any grooming for dogs at home.

Steps for Grooming Your Dog At Home

  1. Give your pet a bath. That’s right—the first essential step may be an obvious one, but it is important.
  2. Trim your pet’s nails. No matter how big a challenge it might pose, it’s an essential element of pet grooming.
  3. De-shed your pet by using a brush or tool that’s designed to remove undercoat.
  4. Cut or trim your pet’s hair if he does not have fur that naturally sheds.
  1. Home Dog Wash

    Whether your dog just jumped in a muddy puddle or ate your ketchup-doused burger, you may need to give them a bath at home. Ditto suggests you make sure your dog is tangle-free before and during the bath. Avoid getting any soap or water in their ears, and be sure to rinse well to get rid of any dog shampoo residue, she says.

    To make the process easier, consider a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner, such as Buddy Wash Lavender and Mint Dog Shampoo and Conditioner. This gentle conditioning shampoo contains all-natural ingredients such as Aloe Vera and tea tree oil that will leave your pup feeling refreshed and clean.

    You can also use a pet dryer at home to speed up drying time. The Andis Quiet Aire Pet Dryer can be used in your hand or on a stand for hands-free drying, and is adjustable for any size dog. It’s quiet enough to not scare your pup and has four heat and three air settings.

  2. Trimming Nails

    “If you decide to trim your dog’s nails at home, be sure to leave room in front of the quick, which is a vein that runs through the nail and can be painful if clipped,” says Ditto. If your dog’s nails are a light color, you may be able to see the quick, which is the pink part of the nail closest to the toe. If your dog’s nails are dark and you can’t see the quick, Ditto suggests trimming a small section of the nail at a time until you see a dark spot in the middle of the nail, which shows that you’re getting close to the quick.

    A dremel or nail file may also help when you’re not sure where the quick is. Consider the cordless FURminator Nail Grinder, which has an LED light to clearly show you the way and two speeds for total control.

  3. De-shedding

    “If your dog sheds a lot or has a lot of excess undercoat, the best way to curb this at home is through brushing,” says Ditto. She recommends looking for a brush or tool that’s designed to remove undercoat, which can help reduce shedding if you use it regularly in between dog haircuts.

    The FURminator deShedding Edge has versions for long and short hair. It removes undercoat hair and can reduce shedding of loose hair up to 90% when combined with regular brushing.

  4. Hair Cutting and Trimming

    Ditto recommends against doing complete dog haircuts at home, but a little trimming can go a long way as long as you’re cautious. Always use scissors or dog hair clippers that are designed for dog’s fur. And, she cautions, “Do not attempt a trim if your dog is extremely wiggly, jumpy or very matted.”

    If you do want to invest in some clippers for minor at-home trims, consider the Wahl Arco Cordless Pet Clipper Kit, which has plenty of options for dogs of different sizes and different trimming needs. It’s ideal for feet, face and body clipping on small and medium dogs.