Grooming your dog can be an enjoyable experience and is a great way to bond with him. It provides solid health benefits and gets your dog used to being groomed and handled in case it becomes necessary later for medical purposes.

It’s best to get started early, when your dog is a young puppy, but grooming can be learned or begun at any life stage. All you need is the know-how, the right supplies, and time set aside to groom your dog!

Getting Your Dog Ready for Grooming

Naturally, you'll want to keep your puppy just as cute and healthy as the day you brought him home, so be sure to get the grooming tools that are appropriate for his coat. For short-haired breeds, use a brush with natural bristles, a rubber currycomb, or a hand mitt. For long-haired breeds, you'll want a sturdy wide-toothed metal comb and perhaps a mat splitter. Be sure to include a flea comb in your grooming supplies and establish a regular grooming routine as early as possible.

Prepare your dog for grooming by removing all knots and tangles prior to bathing or brushing. Removing knots and tangles helps to avoid irritations and stimulates skin and coat health.

Use a suitable shampoo to cleanse your dog’s skin and coat. Always use warm water when bathing your pup and take the opportunity to thoroughly check for any signs of parasites — such as fleas or ticks — or any irritation. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and towel dry your dog after bathing.

How to Brush Your Dog

Here are some simple tips to help get you started with brushing your dog:

  • Always brush with the direction of the hair, working from your dog's head down to the tail end.
  • Always use an appropriate grooming tool for your dog's size and coat type.
  • Brush gently, and avoid brushing near delicate areas such as the eyes, nose, and ears.
  • Do not force out knots. Instead, gently work through knots with an appropriate grooming tool.
  • If your dog's coat is severely knotted or matted, seek the help of a professional groomer.

Brush your dog regularly to keep him healthy, happy, and looking great!

Nail and Dental Care for Dogs

Regular nail clipping prevents discomfort and pain for the dog and owner, and helps maintain healthy nails. Nail trimming is recommended on a 2–3 week basis. If neglected for a long enough time, nails can splinter, break, cause an infection, grow into the paw, or cause your dog to become entangled or caught on objects.

If your dog walks on hard surfaces, you may find that his nails have filed themselves to the right length naturally. If, however, you think they’re getting too long and risk growing into your dog's foot pads, it’s time to give them a trim with properly designated clippers, available from pet shops or your veterinarian. Never use human nail clippers or scissors.

Press your dog's foot pads so his claws are extended, and look at his nails before you cut so see where the ‘quick’ ends — this is the sensitive nerve of the nail, somewhat darker in appearance to the nail tips. You want to cut the transparent nail tips only and avoid cutting the quick, as this can be painful and, if nicked, will bleed. If this happens, don’t panic — apply pressure with cotton wool and it should soon stop.

Only clip dog nails that need clipping. If you don’t feel confident clipping your dog's claws, your veterinarian or a qualified groomer will be happy to do it for you. If you notice a ripped, torn, or missing claw, consult your veterinarian right away, as your dog may need medical attention.

Dental care is an important part of grooming for dogs, too. We’ve put together a special guide to help you keep your dog's smile fresh, clean, and healthy.

Bonus Grooming Tips for Dogs

Want to see how the pros groom their dogs? Check out some pro tips from the Westminster Dog Show Presented by Purina Pro Plan, with details on the special needs of particular breeds.

For a more detailed dog grooming regimen, check out this handy guide. We hope these tips help make grooming your dog a pleasurable and rewarding experience for both of you.