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Tips for Grooming your Pets at Home

Pro Tips for Grooming at Home

Are you used to taking your pet to the groomers or pet-store salon every month or two. The good news is that depending on your dog's grooming needs (and temperament), tackling the task at home yourself might be easier than you think! 

Start with nails 

One of the key steps for keeping your dog groomed at home is giving them regular nail trims every few weeks, even if it's not a task that either of you particularly enjoy. While some dogs' nails will naturally reduce themselves when they walk on hard surfaces like concrete or pavement, others do require frequent trimming. 

Most pet stores or online pet stores sell nail clippers in different sizes to accommodate the size of the dog. Once every four to six weeks is a good time to trim them. Don't forget to cut the dewclaw, a nail that some dogs have on the side of their foot, and if you accidently nick the "quick" (nerves and blood vessels inside the nail), a dab of cornstarch or styptic powder will stop the bleeding. 


Do keep certain key areas trimmed

If you want to extend the life of an existing cut, or maybe aren't quite ready to take on a full groom yourself, just dry trimming the most necessary areas to start with will do. The face, ears, and hygienic areas should be maintained but make sure you have round tipped scissors to avoid hurting you pet. Keeping the hair short and clean in these areas can help with odours and prevent infection.


Do order a grooming kit

For a full-body dog groom, you'll want to buy a pet clipper or packaged grooming kit with different blades. It may take a bit of time and practice for you to get used to the equipment. Be sure to read the instructions to know what kind of blade you're using, and how short it's going to cut your dog's hair. And, unless you're planning on continuing to do this regularly, don't worry about getting a very expensive clipper. 

Do brush before a bath

Step one is to make sure the dog is well brushed — a lot of people don't realize a dog should be brushed before it's bathed. If there's any matting and the coat is not brushed out, it is going to become difficult getting it out later. You can use various brushes or combs depending on your dog's hair. A wide-tooth comb or dematting comb is recommended for tangles. Put your finger between the mats and the dog's skin so that when you're trying to brush it out bit by bit, you're not yanking on the fur and pulling on the skin. A dab of human-hair conditioner or pet conditioner might make brushing the clumps out easier. 



Do give Fluffy a bath

After your dog is well brushed, it's time to give them a bath. While baby shampoo is ok in a pinch, a shampoo formulated specifically for dogs is recommended. There are also shampoos that address specific conditions like flaky skin or hair shedding. Once bathed, towel dry your dog (or blow dry them if you can) and then give them another brush when the coat is fully dried.


Do mind your dog's temperament and condition

Try to give your pet a good workout before you do any grooming. If he's all hyper and you try to shave him, you're not going to have much success. Take him for a good walk or get him tired from playing, so that he'll be calmer when you're doing it. While you're doing the actual grooming, be as firm as you can, talk in a calm voice, and have treats at the ready. 

Excerpts from Truc Nguyen