10 at-home pet grooming tips
Updated: Mar 14, 2019
Hello lovelies, I am often asked "What can I do at home that will maintain Fluffy between grooms"...Well this mini blog will give you hints, tips and tricks for keeping your fur babies maintained enough between their visits with us that the risk of matting, naughty behaviours and smelly coats should be kept at bay.
Its so important to practice home grooming routines with your pets, not just to keep on top of their coats but to promote healthier relationships between you and them, to teach them how to be handled and groomed and as a way to keep a hands on idea of any changes in their skin, coat, nails, eyes, ears and general health.
So lets just get down to it shall we..
TOP TIP NUMBER 1: (DE-SENSITIZE) Touch them everywhere ..often! I literally mean everywhere. During grooming we deal with every external inch of your dogs and we can always tell which ones are handled least because we either get a look of absolute horror and disgust or a hand nearly taken off. Getting your pets desensitized to being handled all over will not only help us, but it will also help to reduce anxieties in your pets and your vet may even thank you also. Hot spots to focus on are FEET/PADS/NAILS (most dogs strongly dislike this) FACES, again another commonly un-liked place to be handled or touched, EARS inside and out (but please don't poke your fingers into their ear canals and BASE OF TAIL/REAR END (you don't have to touch their bits, just the general areas). While these areas are the ones mostly reacted to, ensure you are handling their whole body.
TOP TIP NUMBER 2: (TOOLS/SUPPLIES) Invest in some home grooming essentials..got a pen & paper ready? 1 metal comb (for longer coats), a slicker brush (with the protective balls on the ends of the bristles), a de-shedding rake (furminator or alike), a powered doggie nail grinder (an emry board will take you years), cotton balls, canine ear cleaner or baby oil with a few drops of eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil mixed in, a doggie tooth brush, enzymatic toothpaste, doggie safe pet wipes, tearless pet shampoo or pet dry shampoo, pet towel and some pet cologne (optional) IF YOU ARE UNSURE OF WHICH TOOLS YOU NEED FOR YOUR PET'S COAT...JUST ASK US.
TOP TIP NUMBER 3: (USE) Use the home grooming essentials from top tip number 2. If you need advice on how to use or implement any of the above tools or products we will happily give you easy to follow instructions.
TOP TIP NUMBER 4: (ROUTINE) Set up a routine. pick a time of day where you have at least 15-30 minutes downtime and designate it to a grooming routine. It may take a minute to get into the flow of, but we promise it will pay off in the end.
TOP TIP NUMBER 5: (NO CUTTING) No chippy chopping! Put those scissors back where you found them and step away slowly! We understand that hair grows, especially the pesky stuff around your dog's eyes, but please call us to deal with it for you! Same applies with butts and mats! You are not doing your groomer a favour by getting out the sewing shears and hacking away at your dog's coat in an effort to remove the matting..If you follow step 2 and 3 there shouldn't be any matting, but if you couldn't, then call us and let us deal with it. Our years in the industry have taught us some really nifty tricks to actually remove matting and in many cases save your pet's coat but we can't do that if you've gone and sliced out craters of hair down to the skin...the only cure for that is cutting the rest of the coat down or superglue, neither of which are entirely humane options.
TOP TIP NUMBER 6: (HOME BATHING) If you feel you absolutely must wash your own pet, please try to follow these guidelines to prevent your groomer from a nervous breakdown. IF THERE ARE MATS, PLEASE DONT GET YOUR DOG WET! Ever seen the movie gremlins? well imagine mats are like Gremlins...if you get them wet they multiply and tighten like a wet rope and BOOM its a mini Armageddon in your dog's coat. Try to stick to maximum ONE WASH PER WEEK. If you over wash your pets you will throw off the delicate balance of their skin and coat causing dry, itching, flaking skin and lacklustre coats. Stick to tearless puppy shampoo where possible..they clean sufficiently and are safe to use all over and on all skin types. Where possible, dry your pet thoroughly after each wash..towel dry and then blow dry to prevent residual moisture which can encourage bacteria to grow, especially in ears resulting in yucky infections (you can put cotton balls in your dogs ears during washing to keep them dry), plus they will smell fresh and clean rather than that damp dog smell from air drying.
TOP TIP NUMBER 7: (COMBING/BRUSHING) I kind of touched on this, but it really does deserve it's one blurb...BRUSHING! metal comb and get stuck in! If you want to keep those mats away..comb, comb, comb and repeat! Leave no corner unturned..comb from their nose to their toes and then comb again! Don't forget the feet (be careful, if there are knots there already it can really hurt if you try to yank through one), underarms, legs, bellies, ears, faces, tails, booties...comb it ALL!! And I don't mean gently glide the comb along the tips...I'm talking down to the skin! Mats will form and then sink deep into the coat. Go get em tiger! Remember not to traumatize your pets, but also remember they are more resilient than they look! Help them out by holding the coat to prevent pulling on sensitive areas (Usually where the mats are) Did I mention combing? You can buddy up combing with slicker brushing, but if you aren't sure on techniques, ASK US. WE WILL HAPPILY SHOW YOU.
TOP TIP NUMBER 8: (WET WIPES) Using pet friendly wet wipes will help keep those eyes, ears, and sanitary areas fresh and somewhat stain free if you keep on top of things. Pet wipes are available at most, if not all, pet supply retailers, even kmart. You can also apply dry shampoo or cologne to wet wipes to gently cleanse and freshen the entire coat between grooms.
TOP TIP NUMBER 9: (NAILS) possibly the most terrifying part of the grooming process, but an essential part nonetheless. If you don't feel comfortable or confident cutting your dog's nails, then you need to at least be making an effort to maintain them between grooms. you can do this several ways, the most natural of course is taking your dog for a run on concrete or alike, for lighter dogs this wont work as well, but certainly wont hurt. The next option is filing...but as dogs have fairly dense nails you will want to invest in a nail grinder...another item you can pick up from most pet supply retailer, just be careful not to over-do it.
TOP TIP NUMBER 10: (UNDERCOAT) So this one is for those double coated cuties..the huskies, the German shepherds, Akitas, Aussie shepherds, great pyrenees, bernese mtn dogs etc...that wretched undercoat can be a real pain, but if you keep on top of it as the seasons come and go, you'll find managing it between grooms is a breeze. Grab yourself a slicker brush suited to your pet's size (I recommend the ones with the little balls at the ends for safety) and an undercoat rake (both available at most pet supply retailers) and away you go. If thick undercoat isn't removed it can actually become impacted and lead to a whole array of issues, so best to get onto that asap. If you would like to learn more about the techniques you can use to maximize your effort, get in touch and we'll happily help.