How to Groom a Dog: 5 Dos and 5 Don’ts

Some people prefer to take their dog to a professional for
grooming while others prefer to do it themselves.  But, regardless
of your own preference, every dog owner should know how to groom a
dog and to do so effectively.

It might seem redundant if you fit into the category of dog
owners who like to leave things in a professional’s hands, but
that’s not exactly true. You might take your dog with you when
you go on a longer vacation and you can’t find a groomer there.
Your dog will still need to be groomed, and if you don’t know how
to do it right, you could end up hurting them.

On the other hand, if you’ve been grooming your dog yourself,
you may think that you don’t need any additional instructions on
how to do it. Even so, you should at least keep an open mind and be
ready to take suggestions because you could potentially learn a new
thing or two and improve your skills.

With that in mind, we recommend that you stick around for a
while and check out what we have prepared for you. So let’s move
on to talking about dog grooming and its five dos and don’ts
every dog owner should know.

Five Dos of DIY Dog Grooming

It’s always best to start with instructions on how you should
do something, and once that is covered, move on to what you
shouldn’t do. The other way around would probably make things
very confusing, especially for someone who is a complete beginner
in the field. Having said that, let’s take a look at the top five
dos of DIY dog grooming.

Number one: Brush your dog’s hair regularly

In this case, regularly means on a daily basis, or if you
don’t have enough free time, once in every two days. All dogs
shed, some dog breeds shed more than the others while some might
seem like they don’t shed at all, but sure enough, they do.
Depending on the season, your dog will shed less or more, but you
should definitely brush them in both cases, don’t skip out on the
process just because you think that there’s no need for it.

If you don’t brush your dog’s hair regularly, you increase
the risk of them developing mats or other similar health issues
like skin irritations or infections. Strands of loose hair will get
entangled with the strands that aren’t loose, thus producing mats
that are basically an ideal environment for bacteria or fungus
growth and are hard to get rid of. Brushing prevents that.

When choosing an appropriate brush for your dog, you should
consider the type of coat that they have. You can find brushes
specifically designed for curly hair, long hair, short hair, double
coated hair and so on.

Once you have found the adequate model and purchased it, have
your dog get familiar with it first and then use it on them.

Always put an old towel underneath the dog before brushing, it
will help you contain the hairs in one place more easily.

And don’t forget, brushing their coat excessively might cause
a counter effect, because you could end up plucking the hairs that
aren’t loose instead of removing only the loose ones.

Number two: Trim your dog’s nails

This is a bit tricky and difficult task, but if you’re patient
enough and careful enough, you shouldn’t have any problems with
it. You can do this with two different tools, it all depends on
which one you feel the most comfortable with when using it.

One of them is an electric nail grinder or a nail file and it
doesn’t cut the nails but instead just grinds them down to the
desired length. The other one is a tool that’s pretty much a pair
of scissors, shears, or a miniature guillotine designed to cut the
nails cleanly and swiftly.

Regardless of which one you decide to go with, the process of
cutting the nails is about the same. You need to be careful not to
nick the vein that goes along the center of the nail, which means
that you absolutely mustn’t cut or grind too deep.

If you accidentally do nick it, even barely, there will be a lot
of blood everywhere, so try to keep your calm and take your dog to
the veterinarian immediately, just in case.

Number three: Trim your dog’s hair when necessary

If your dog’s hair touches the ground when they’re standing,
you should cut it right away. Otherwise, it will drag along the
ground and collect all of the dirt off of it. This can cause some
skin and hair issues relatively quickly and you don’t want that
to happen.

You can use a pair of electric
dog clippers for thick coats
to cut the hair or you can do it
the old fashioned way with a pair of shears and a comb, whichever
works best for you.

Pay special attention to small details that shouldn’t be
overlooked, like clipping the hairs that can go in the dog’s eyes
if left untouched, or trimming the hairs between and underneath the
paw pads, as well as those around their ankles, both of which tend
to accumulate dirt when their length is longer than it should

Never cut the hair in winter, otherwise your dog will feel
chilly and quite possibly catch a cold due to poor insulation.

Number four: Bathe your dog

Once you notice that your dog has attained a weird odor and that
their coat has become too dirty from mud or dirt, it’s time to
give them a bath. You can do it in a bathtub or outside in a
portable plastic tub, depending on the season and the weather

Before that you should go to a pet store and buy the appropriate
shampoo and soap, preferably those that are specifically meant for
your dog’s breed. Apart from that you don’t really need
anything else, just some warm water, or lukewarm water, a towel and
that’s it. Maybe a hair dryer as well, it will help you to dry
your dog’s coat much faster than a towel.

Never bathe your dog outside in the winter, and don’t bathe
them too often because there’s no need for it and it might make
their skin extremely sensitive and irritable.

Number five: Regularly clean their ears and teeth

This is a very simple thing to do yet a lot of pet owners
somehow end up forgetting to take care of it. Using a normal wet
wipe, gently clean the insides of their ear canal with your
fingertips every once in a while, or use an ear cleaner, a special
product made specifically for this.

When cleaning their teeth, use a plain gauze and rub their teeth
and gums with it from top to bottom. You can do this every day but
if you don’t have enough free time for it, once in every two or
three days will be enough as well.

Using a toothpaste, or a dog toothpaste to be more precise,
together with a dog toothbrush is also a good way to go, so
consider this as the means for keeping your dog’s teeth clean as

Five Don’ts of DIY Dog Grooming

Now we’ll talk about a few things that should be avoided when
grooming your dog, and a few common mistakes that dog owners might
make when taking care of their dog’s needs. You want your dog to
be happy and healthy, so try to remember all of these and you’ll
be halfway there.

Number one: Never bathe a dog who has mats

This is a common mistake that a lot of dog owners often make. To
be fair, they aren’t making it intentionally, they just want the
best for their dog and usually try to get rid of mats this way but
it ends up backfiring and resulting in the exact opposite,
worsening of the mats.

When long, entangled dog hair gets wet, it tends to get even
more entangled and not clean at all. It also retains moisture for
some time, which attracts bacteria and causes infections fairly
quickly. Even if you use a towel or blow dry the coat, it will
still remain moist. Therefore, if your dog has mats in their coat,
avoid bathing them until the mats are completely gone.

Number two: Don’t try to remove the mats yourself

Mats might seem harmless and simple but they’re pretty much
the exact opposite of that. Removing them is no easy task, and if
you try to take care of them yourself with scissors or grooming
clippers, you will most likely end up accidentally hurting your
four-legged furry friend in the process.

You can get a special tool for removing mats and try it out, but
it may not help much, especially if your dog has a curly hair coat.
Your best bet is to take it to a professional pet groomer and let
them take care of it. They have enough experience to be able to
avoid harming the dog, and they have all of the necessary tools to
finish the job quickly.

Number three: Don’t forget to train your dog on time

If you teach your dog that grooming is a good thing while
they’re still a puppy, you won’t have any problems with your
dog’s behavior when you take them to a dog groomer, but also when
you take them to the veterinarian.

Dogs who aren’t trained this way will be afraid of the tub,
the grooming table, the dog clippers, pin brush, and all of the
other grooming supplies. Even though you can
take certain steps
to reduce the grooming stress for an adult
dog, it is much easier to train a puppy.  This will also prove
itself to be very helpful when you decide to do the grooming
yourself. When a small dog struggles it’s easy to hold them
steady while you finish the pet grooming, but when you have to work
with one of the larger dog breeds, just the size of the dog’s
body can be troublesome, let alone its bad behavior.

Number four: Don’t use a shampoo for humans when bathing your

Thanks to Laundromutt for the Image

Dogs have a really sensitive skin, much more sensitive when
compared to ours, so if you decide to wash them with your own
shampoo, you’ll most likely irritate their skin and cause them
discomfort. Their eyes are also delicate so if some of the human
shampoo gets in them, it will cause them pain and discomfort. The
insides of their ears is pretty much the same, which again means
that shampoo for humans will do nothing but irritate it.

Shampoo for dogs exists for a reason, and if it were identical
to the shampoo for humans, it wouldn’t have to exist. In other
words, use the shampoo that’s specifically created and meant for
keeping dogs as clean as possible. Oh and don’t use other beauty
products either, like perfumes, moisturizers, blueberry facial
masks, makeup, and other stuff like that.

#5: Never act as a veterinarian’s replacement

Grooming your dog allows you to take a really good look at them,
so you might notice something you haven’t noticed before. If by
chance, you see a foreign object in their eyes, ears or nose,
don’t try to remove it yourself. Also, if you see some cuts or
injuries, don’t try to heal them, that’s not your field of
expertise, so you could potentially make things even worse.

In such a scenario, you shouldn’t think twice about what you
have to do next, just go straight to the veterinarian and listen to
their advice.


With these 5 do and don’t dog grooming tips, we have showed
you everything that’s important to keep in mind when you are
grooming your pet. In other words, now you know exactly how to
groom a dog and what to keep an eye out for, as well as what you
should avoid doing. So go ahead and enjoy bonding with your furry
friend by keeping them clean and healthy and most importantly,

About the Author: Tara is a contributor to and the founder of, a great resource for your
dog grooming supplies.

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How to Groom a Dog: 5 Dos and 5 Don’ts
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Source: FS – TheDogTrainingSecret
How to Groom a Dog: 5 Dos and 5 Don’ts