6 Dog Grooming Tips for New Pet Parents

Filed in Dog Health on January 28, 2022

Dog Grooming Tips

No matter what breed of dog you have, regular grooming is essential in maintaining a healthy coat and preventing skin issues. It’s also a great opportunity to bond with your best friend.

Even if you take your dog to a professional groomer for the occasional spa day, there are plenty of things you can do at home to make sure your pup is looking and feeling his best.

In this blog post, I’ll discuss 6 dog grooming tips for the new pet parent to keep your dog healthy and groomed properly.

My Top 6 Dog Grooming Tips for the New Pet Parent

1. Start Early

One of the most important things you can do with your dog, regardless of age, is get him used to the grooming process. Whether you’ve brought home a puppy or an adult dog, you want him to be comfortable with being groomed, so my first dog grooming tip is to start early.

You can begin by getting him used to being handled from nose to tail. Be gentle and go slow to avoid making your dog uncomfortable or nervous. Many dogs do not like having their feet or tail handled, so spend extra time making sure your dog is comfortable.

Use plenty of verbal praise and treats if needed. Remember, you want to make this a positive experience for your dog.

Professional groomers are experts in handling dogs of all ages and experience levels, so you might consider taking your dog for a basic bath and brush, even if you plan on grooming him yourself.

Most groomers recommend grooming puppies for the first time at around 16 weeks old or as soon as they are fully vaccinated. During the first few appointments, your groomer will probably only bathe and brush your puppy with little or no trimming.

These first few appointments are crucial in making a puppy comfortable with the grooming process, so most groomers recommend saving the haircut for a later date. However, the key is to take your puppy in before his coat begins to mat.

2. Check for Potential Health Issues at the Same Time

brushing-her-dog

Grooming is not only an excellent opportunity to grow your relationship with your dog, but it’s also a great time to check his overall health and wellness. As you go over each part of your dog, you’re able to check for any issues or abnormalities.

Once you develop a regular grooming schedule, you’ll be able to quickly spot any problems that weren’t there during your last grooming session.

There are many health problems that can progress quickly if left untreated, so the sooner you’re able to spot any potential issues, the sooner you can seek treatment.

Though most grooming focuses on your dog’s coat and body, be sure to check all areas.

Look at his paw for any injured pads, broken toenails, or hotspots. Remember, some dogs are sensitive about their paws, so go slow and use positive reinforcement.

As you groom your pup’s face, have a look at his eyes, ears, and teeth. Any discharge or odor coming from the ears could be signs of an ear infection.

If you are interested in maintaining your dog’s dental health at home, this is also a great time to get him used to teeth brushing.

While you comb or brush your dog’s coat, be on the lookout for any redness, flaky skin, or hair loss. Though these symptoms may not require an emergency vet visit, it’s important to keep any eye on them so that you can address it before your dog experiences serious discomfort.

3. Use the Correct Tools and Techniques

dog-grooming-tool-set

One of the most important aspects of grooming your dog at home is using the correct tools. The correct tool will depend entirely on your dog’s coat type as well as his size. You would not use the same brush on a Chihuahua as you would use on a Bernese Mountain Dog or Poodle.

If you aren’t sure what type of brush you should use on your breed of dog, consider asking a professional groomer. Your local groomer will be able to recommend the best tool for your dog’s unique coat type.

You’ll also want to learn how to use your tools properly to groom your dog effectively. Deshedding blades are a popular tool for owners of shorthaired breeds, but improper use can result in damage to the coat or skin.

No matter how long your dog’s coat is, it’s important to use a tool that allows you to brush through the coat down to the skin. Otherwise, you’ll have detangled the top layer of hair, while the layer closest to the skin remains matted.

Most professional groomers use and recommend a method called line brushing, which requires you to brush your dog in sections. It’s worth noting that line brushing takes much longer than simply running a brush over your dog, but the result is a healthy, mat-free coat.

The same goes for other grooming tools and products such as nail trimmers and shampoo. Whether you’re cleansing your dog with regular shampoo or dry shampoo, you need to make the right choice for your dog’s lifestyle, grooming tolerance, and coat type.

4. Be Patient and Go Slow

One of my top dog grooming tips is to be patient and go slow. Grooming is not always a quick, easy process. This is especially true if you haven’t yet developed a consistent grooming schedule. Unfortunately, rushed and infrequent grooming sessions will only result in a dog that is uncomfortable and stressed out.

This is especially true if your dog is still getting used to being groomed. Frustration happens, but it’s important to take a deep breath, slow down, and be patient with your pup.

While some dogs do get used to the grooming process, it’s important to understand that not all dogs enjoy it. Some get to the point where they merely tolerate it, while others readily jump up on the grooming table to be brushed.

No matter how your dog feels about grooming, take your time. If you rush, you may miss those mats behind your dog’s ears or that patch of reddened skin on his thigh.

These issues will likely be worse by the next grooming session, but you missed the opportunity to address them early on because you were in a hurry.

Additionally, this is a time to spend quality time and bond with your best friend. As much as we love our dogs, they won’t be around forever, so it’s important to cherish the time we have together.

5. Brush and Trim Nails Often

Dog scissors nail clipper

Vet using dog scissors nail clippers to trim dog claws

As previously mentioned, regularly scheduled grooming is better for your dog’s coat, as well as his behavior.

A dog that gets brushed once or twice per week is going to have a healthier coat and better behavior on the grooming table than one that only gets brushed on occasion.

The frequency at which you brush your dog’s coat will depend on his breed and coat type. Though most owners do not have time to brush their dog every day, doing so a few times per week can prevent mats and reduce shedding.

As for nails, some dogs grow faster than others and some dogs wear them down more than others. Dog nails can be trimmed as often as once per week and as infrequently as once per month.

Just remember that long nails can be painful for dogs and can seriously impact their mobility and joint health. If you want to learn how to trim overgrown dog nails, Dog Endorsed wrote a whole blog post on it.

Bathing frequency will also depend on a few factors. Dogs with sensitive skin may need to be washed less frequently to prevent dry or itchy skin, while others may get too dirty or stinky to go more than a few weeks between baths.

As I just mentioned, bathing too frequently can result in dry, itchy skin and a brittle coat, but it’s important not to wait too long between baths either.

The buildup of dirt, dander, and dead hair can cause a number of issues for your dog, so it’s important to make sure your dog gets a bath at least every few months.

6. Know When You Need Professional Help

If you’re lucky enough to own a calm dog with a low maintenance coat, you may be lucky enough to never need professional grooming help. However, many owners find that their dogs’ grooming needs exceed their own abilities.

If you are struggling to keep up with your dog’s grooming needs, it’s recommended to seek the help of a professional groomer sooner rather than later.

If your dog’s high-maintenance coat is too challenging to maintain, you may want to talk to your groomer about how to make your pup’s coat care easier.

Whether that’s a change in products, tools, hairstyle, or routine, your local groomer will be able to suggest alternative solutions to your problems.

For owners who struggle with their dog’s behavior during grooming, seeking the help of a professional is also recommended as soon as possible. The more you struggle with your dog, the more likely his behavior is to escalate.

As mentioned earlier, groomers are experts in handling nervous pooches. A professional groomer will be able to work with your dog to improve his behavior.

However, it’s important to note that if your dog is displaying dangerous or aggressive behavior, the groomer may not be able to safely finish the job and may recommend a sedated groom by your veterinarian.

Simply put, the best time to take your dog to a professional groomer is anytime. Though professional grooming can be expensive, it’s often the best choice for both dog and owner.

Conclusion on Dog Grooming Tips for the New Pet Parent

Well, I hope these 6 dog grooming tips will help your dog to look their best.

Most of these tips involve simple actions you can take to make the grooming process much easier in the long run.

Let me know your comments below.

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