In order to maintain your dog's health and be proactive about their grooming, there are a few things to keep in mind. If a dog goes an extended period of time without grooming, there are a few health problems that can occur. Matted fur, nails growing into their paw, or parasites living on them to name a few.

Going to the groomers can keep them in tip-top shape, but after a while, it can burn a hole in your wallet.

If you have the bravery to try grooming your dog at home, it's well worth it in the long run.

Getting the tools needed to groom your dog at home will cost you upfront but will pay off big over time.

After you get the right equipment, you'll need to understand some of the dog grooming fundamentals.

Let's cover several pointers so you can know exactly what to do and what not to do. (This first one is the most common mistake I see dog owners make.)

1. Don't Wash Them Too Often

You want to make sure that they're clean, but without overdoing it. A dog's skin produces natural oils to protect them from bacteria and keep their skin from drying out. If they get washed too often, then it can damage their skin and leave them vulnerable. If you're going to wash them, keep it to a minimum and use lukewarm water. In this case, less is better. How often you'll need to wash them depends on the breed, ranging from once every few months to once every week.

A better alternative to washing is to blow dry them until they're clean. Save your nice towels from getting muddy every time they need to come inside after playing. If you want to clean them without stripping their skin of natural oils, try using the dog grooming blow dryer. It dries out their fur in minutes, without doing harm to their skin.

2. Brush Their Coat Often

Running a dog brush through their coat regularly will help prevent any hair from matting. The longer their hair goes unbrushed, the more likely it is to start matting up. If your dog has short hair, you don't have to worry about this as much. Golden retrievers and other long hair breeds are more susceptible to hair matting. Get yourself a good quality dog brush and add this to your grooming routine.

3. Cut Your Dogs Hair

If you're going to do this at home, make sure you proceed with caution and use the right tools. You'll need grooming clippers made specifically for dogs, regular clippers aren't recommended. Our dog grooming clippers have adjustable settings so you can cut the right amount of hair, every time. They're completely safe to use and the ultra-quiet motor makes them great to use on anxious dogs that get startled. The areas where you'll need to check are over the feet and eyes. If you notice hair getting too long, make sure to cut it as needed. This may not apply to all breeds but something to look out for if your dog has long hair.

4. Clean Inside Their Ears

It's good to take a look inside your dog's ears every once in a while. If there is dirt built up in their ear, it might be a good time to clean inside there. Using dog-specific ear wipes or cotton balls is a great way to go. This process can be uncomfortable for some dogs, be patient and move forward once you have their compliance.

Regular ear cleanings will lower the risk of ear infection, here are the giveaway signs to look out for:

- Shaking their head and itching their ears
- Ear is swollen/ irritated on the inside
- There is fluid/ discharge coming out of the ear
- Cries out when examining their ears

5. Check Their Skin

It's a great idea to check your dog's skin for rashes, irritation, and other abnormalities. After a long day of rolling around in the grass or dirt, they might come into contact with something that irritates their skin. If something goes untreated, it's possible to get worse and spread or go away on its own. It's best to be aware of it and see how it's progressing in case you need to take further action.

Every once in a while, check their skin by running your hands through it. Feel for dry skin, abnormal lumps, bumps, or if there are any fleas. Yes, what you find may alarm you, but it's good to identify a problem before it gets worse.

6. Reward Them For Cooperation

One of the biggest keys is having your dog look forward to grooming time. No, they may never enjoy grooming time, but if they know that if I do this, I will get XYZ, then I'm willing to put up with it. If they're food motivated, have some treats on hand to let them know they're doing great. If they're praise-motivated, be ready to cheer them on as they are going out of their comfort zone to make you happy. After a while, they may not mind grooming time anymore, and at the very least, they're more willing.

If you want to reward them with healthy treats, check out our crunchy delicious training biscuits.

7. Carefully Clip Their Nails

This is only necessary if your dog doesn't play in rough terrain or walk on pavement often. If you're going to do this at home you'll need to proceed with caution. You'll only want to cut the excess nail all while avoiding the quick. Under our nails, we have skin that's incredibly sensitive, the quick is a dog's equivalent to that. In order to avoid it, you'll only want to trim a small amount off of the excess nail.

Make sure your only cutting the transparent part of the nail while leaving some room before the quick. Cutting it too short can lead to infection and I'm sure your dog wouldn't be too fond of you after that. Cut it only as much as you need and if the nails are hitting the ground when they walk, it's time for a trimming.

Feeling ready to give it a go? The team at Pet Control HQ believes in you! Once you get down the basics, it'll feel like second nature. Hope these pointers helped out and leave a comment if you found this helpful!

September 08, 2022 — Nick Flint