How to groom your dog at home

There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when your pupper returns from the groomers, freshly washed, styled and smelling fragrant. Your pup’s happy too, with trimmed nails, clean tidy coat and a clear view of the world.

But if you’re finding the intervals between grooming appointments are stretching out, have you thought about doing it yourself? Even though you might not achieve dog grooming salon results, there are lots of good reasons to groom your dog regularly – and with our current social distancing and self-isolating situation this could be the perfect time to start.

So why is dog grooming important?

It builds bonding

Brushing, detangling, checking ears and around the eyes is really getting up close and personal. The more you do it, the more the trust builds and soon your pupper will get used to being touched, even in sensitive areas. Dogs appreciate routine so they’ll start to enjoy the grooming ritual. They’ll soon learn that you’re doing it because you care, and they’ll feel better for it too.

It’s a health check

With regular grooming, you get the chance to feel for any lumps and bumps and you become more in tune with changes in your pup’s condition. You’ll know if their fur is lush or thinning, you get to feel whether they’re keeping to a healthy weight and it’s a great time to check nails, ears and eyes – and take a peek at their teeth too.

Let’s groom!

1. Brush first

It’s easiest to detangle and brush before bathing, carefully snipping out any knotted fur if necessary. Long haired dogs benefit from weekly brushing, short haired pups less often. The type of brush you use also depends on your dog, with a metal pin brush being preferred for a long coat. Brushing regularly makes washing and other grooming steps easier.

2. Bath time

There’s no set advice for how often to bath your pupper and it really depends on them. If they smell their normal doggy self and don’t appear dirty, then you can skip the bath. But if they’ve rolled in something smelly, or are muddy or dirty, then they probably need a bath – let’s face it, your pupper’s going to get a little more love and cuddles when they’re clean.

Getting ready: Avoid having your dog wait around while you prepare for their bath – check the water is a comfortable temperature and have the shampoo and towel at hand. Using a washcloth helps prevent overwetting your pupper’s head, and make sure you use a specialised dog shampoo (the pH of your dog’s skin is different to yours so don’t share shampoos). When everything is ready, go fetch pup and off you go.

Step 1: Wet their coat all the way to the skin

Step 2: Massage in the recommended amount of shampoo

Step 3: Rinse thoroughly, and then if needed you can apply a hypoallergenic conditioner before rinsing again.

Step 4: Towel dry and then leave to air dry if possible – dogs don’t tend to like noisy blow dryers.

3. Body check

Ears

If your dog has no apparent problems with their ears (they’re not rubbing or scratching them, or shaking their head) then they are best left alone. If ears smell unpleasant or your pup seems bothered by them, then it’s a good idea to get them checked by a vet.

Eyes

Check your pup’s eyes look clear and healthy. Hair can obscure their vision and be irritating, so if you feel confident to do it, carefully trim using blunt-nosed safety scissors and avoid touching the eyes. Ask your vet clinic for help if you need it.

Teeth

Regular brushing will help prevent tooth decay and keep your pupper’s breath smelling fresher. Start brushing their teeth at a young age to help keep their pearly whites clean and healthy – dog-friendly chew toys and dental chews can help too.

Paws

If grass seeds or burrs have become trapped in the fur between your pup’s footpads, remove carefully and trim the fur if necessary. Check nails and if you feel confident, trim a little. Ask your vet to show you how to do it safely.

Tips for a happy dog grooming experience

  • Don’t expect too much too soon – start with simple handling and a little brushing, to full body brushing and onto a bath
  • Keep grooming sessions as short as possible
  • If pupper’s overly frisky, a walk or active game beforehand can help them use up some of that extra energy
  • Remain calm, be patient and take things slowly so they feel relaxed and comfortable
  • Give plenty of praise and speak soothingly 
  • Have tasty dog treats on hand and reward calm behaviour and settling with you.
  • At the end of bath time, bring out their favourite toys for a play – this will help your pup learn to enjoy their bath time experience.

Lyka: keeping pupper healthy from the inside out

Keeping your pupper clean and comfortable on the outside through grooming is just part of keeping them healthy. High quality nutrients that they get from the Lyka range of meals helps keep them healthy from the inside out. A glossy coat and clear bright eyes – it’s all part of helping your pupper live their best life.