Tips for Dog Grooming

As you schedule vaccinations, checkups, and other activities, make sure a dog grooming session is on your list to keep your pet happy and healthy. Your pup’s health and well-being reflect your care for him.

Grooming a Dog - Yorkshire Terrier getting his hair cut at the groomer

Grooming your dog helps keep them happy and healthy.

What is Dog Grooming?

Grooming is the process of keeping your dog clean and comfortable through regular baths and brushing, as well as frequent nail trimming and ear care.

Dog grooming helps your dog's coat and skin stay healthy and tangle-free. It also reduces shedding, which could help reduce human allergies. Plus, grooming regularly helps you spot any skin problems, such as rashes, infections, lumps, or other changes that could be bothering your dog or require your vet’s attention.

Additionally, grooming can be a truly bonding experience for you and your pet, providing quality time together as you help them look and feel their best.

How to Groom Your Dog at Home

Regular dog grooming is always a good idea, but it's especially important at the end of summer, when changes to your dog's coat happen in preparation for the colder months ahead.

Dog Grooming Tools

Before you start, be sure to have the right grooming supplies on hand. These include:

  • A quality dog shampoo and conditioner
  • A brush appropriate for your dog's coat type
  • A nail trimmer with safety features
  • A clean cloth for ear cleaning
  • Healthy treats for rewards!

Caring for Your Dog’s Coat

Brushing Your Dog

Brushing your dog is one of the most important things you can do for your dog's coat and skin. It helps remove dirt, debris, and loose hair while stimulating blood flow and distributing natural oils. It also prevents mats and alerts you to any possible problems.

How to Brush Your Dog

  • Start with a brush that's appropriate for its coat type.
  • Next, gently comb through their fur in the direction it grows, being especially careful around sensitive areas like the belly and groin.
  • If you encounter any mats or tangles, work through them slowly and patiently with your brush.
  • If your dog has a long coat, you may also want to invest in a de-shedding tool to help remove loose hair. Be sure to use this sparingly, however, as over-brushing can damage your dog's coat.

Bathing Your Dog

Grooming a Dog - Dog being bathed in tub

Bathe your dog every few weeks and avoid using human shampoo on them.

Bathing your dog every few weeks helps their coat stay clean. Just be sure to use a quality dog shampoo that's safe and gentle on your dog's skin and coat. Simply follow the instructions on the shampoo label and make sure to rinse their coat thoroughly after lathering.

Please note: Avoid using human shampoo when bathing your pet. Pet shampoos are formulated to clean but not strip away natural oils or irritate the skin and coat.

After shampooing, applying a gentle conditioner or choosing a shampoo containing a conditioner designed for dogs can help detangle their fur and leave it looking shiny and healthy. Just be sure to rinse away the shampoo and/or conditioner completely before drying.

Learn more about choosing the best dog shampoo for your pup.

Trimming Your Dog's Nails

Trimming your dog's nails is important to their mobility and comfort. If you can hear your dog's nails clicking on the floor as they walk, it's time for a trim.

Nail trimming can be tricky, however, so this might be a job that you leave to the professionals. If you do trim at home, be sure your trimmer is sharp and includes added safety features, which help ensure you only clip the tips of your dog's nails. Cutting too far down can damage the sensitive area called the quick, making it a painful experience for your dog.

Cleaning Your Dog's Ears

Cleaning your dog's ears helps prevent infection and keeps them free of dirt, debris, and wax buildup.
To keep your dog's ears clean, use a soft, clean cloth to wipe the inside of your dog's ears, being careful not to go too deep into the ear canal. You can also use a dog-safe ear cleaner, following the instructions on the package.

Rewarding Your Dog!

Don't forget to give your dog some healthy treats throughout the grooming process. This will help your pup see grooming as a positive activity, which will make the experience more enjoyable for both of you.

Why You Might Need Professional Dog Grooming

If you're uncomfortable grooming your dog at home, or you don't have the time to do it regularly, consider a professional dog groomer. Not only can an expert groomer keep your dog's coat and skin clean and healthy, but they usually provide other services that pet owners find challenging, such as nail trimming, ear cleaning, and anal gland expression.

Discover why Hartz recommends professional grooming at the end of summer.

Performing a Deep De-shedding

During late summer, removing excess shedding will cool off your dog. Much like spring shedding makes way for a lighter summer coat, your dog can always use a little help with some grooming and brushing before autumn.

Performing a Deep De-shedding

Grooming a Dog - Red miniature poodle and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at grooming salon

A professional groomer can clear up uncomfortable tangles or mats quickly and painlessly.

A groomer has the tools and training to remove excess hair without harming your dog's coat or skin. They can also show you how to properly groom and brush your dog at home, so you can do it yourself between appointments. Just be sure to have the right grooming tools on hand to take care of everyday shedding.

Removing Tougher Tangles

Removing tangles and matted fur can be tough. When there are grooming tasks you just can’t tackle on your own, it’s time to call the professionals.

Bringing your dog to a professional groomer means any uncomfortable tangles or mats can be cleared up quickly and painlessly. Not only will your dog look great, but he or she will feel great as well.

Protecting Against Parasites

Unless you’ve got an expert eye, spotting fleas and ticks on your pooch might be difficult. If you want some reassurance that your pet is pest-free, take them to the groomer or vet for an extra once-over for ticks and fleas.

It's a well-known fact that fleas and ticks love dogs, mostly because thick and lustrous fur makes for a great hiding place. While you should be doing your best at home with a flea comb and flea control products, a professional groomer can give your dog the extra checkup that gives pets and owners peace of mind.

Putting You and Your Pup's Mind at Ease

Professionals are great at the tough stuff, like trimming nails, expressing glands, and helping dogs with special grooming needs.

Cutting your dog's nails isn't easy, especially for pets with long quicks, so it’s best to have someone trained in trimming safely for your pet’s pedicure. Equally as difficult can be caring for your dog’s anal glands, as it can be difficult and even dangerous to do it at home. And finally, for dogs that dislike baths, a professional groomer can use calming techniques to help them to the finish line.

Whether you’re grooming your dog at home or having them primped by a professional, it’s always a good idea to give your pet a complete grooming in the late-summer months. That way you can both enjoy the fall as their fuller winter coats start to come in.

Hartz® Groomer’s Best Professionals 6-in-1 Dog Shampoo - 18oz.
Hartz® GROOMER'S BEST® Combo Brush for Dogs