Dog Grooming Guide & Must-Have Products

Posted by Dr. Jessica on

Dog Grooming Guide & Must-Have Products

Grooming keeps a dog’s coat looking fresh and shiny, but a great routine goes beyond aesthetics. Grooming dog fur is more than just a canine beauty treatment—the right approach supports their overall skin health, wellness, and longevity. 

Why Is Dog Grooming Important?

When a dog’s fur is brushed, it removes dead hair and skin build-up that compromises their hygiene and, of course, their smell. But this process is also important to:

  • Distribute a dog’s natural oils 
  • Prevent painful hair matting that can cause sores and hair loss
  • Remove any small or micro-critters that may lead to more severe infestations
  • Stimulate new hair growth

As pet parents build a more comprehensive dog grooming routine, it deepens their relationship with their pet as well—creating an opportunity to become more familiar with their dog’s body. This makes it easier to spot and mitigate potential problems by:

Looking for a Dog Grooming Guide?

A dog’s ideal grooming routine depends on their breed, coat, and existing skin or health conditions. This routine covers essential aspects for promoting long-term dog health. But check with a dog’s primary vet or get in touch with the Fuzzy Vet team to see if a dog has any needs that require special attention.

Dog Brushing

It’s good practice to brush a dog’s fur every few days regardless of their breed. But dogs with longer hair are more prone to tangling often require daily coat care. The most effective tools for a dog will depend on the length and texture of their coat, like:

  • A detangling pin brush or sleeker brush for long-haired coats
  • A grooming glove or bristle brush for dogs with smooth, short hair
  • A slicker brush and metal comb for short, wiry breeds

When grooming a dog’s fur, brush in the direction of hair growth and away from their skin. Be gentle—use conditioner or a mat spray for tricky tangles to avoid potential skin damage. The easiest areas to groom are a dog’s back and sides, but don’t forget to:

  • Check for ticks and fleas during each grooming session
  • Comb the feathering along your dog’s legs, backside, and along their tail
  • Detangle or—if needed—trim ear hair with an electric clipper
  • Gently comb facial hair, an especially sensitive area

Dog Haircut

Pet parents might be wondering: “How do I give my dog a haircut at home?” Longer-haired or double-coat breeds can require a little extra maintenance in their brushing routine to:

  • Alleviate symptoms in dogs prone to allergies
  • Cut out stubborn tangles or mats as you brush
  • Remove unruly ear hair that can snarl or promote ear infections
  • Trim facial hair obstructing your dog’s sight

Giving a dog a haircut at home can also make it easier to manage their grooming routine—especially if they’re more active and prone to matting. Whether a pet parent uses shears or electric clippers, choose a product that’s made specifically for dogs to ensure their safety.

Pet parents should not use scissors or clippers around the dog's eyes. The risk of eye injury is greatly increased if the dog is uneasy with the grooming process. Similarly, using scissors to cut away hair or hair matting close to the skin can lead to lacerations. Be mindful of what type of product you use to give a dog a haircut and their tolerance or patience level. Squirming or trimmer fear can lead to an accident. 

Dog Bathing

Using a specialty shampoo to wash a dog keeps their coat clean—and smelling fresh—without compromising their skin health. Medicated products like Douxo Chlorhexidine also help relieve common canine skin concerns like itching or inflammation.

Bathing a dog more than once or two times per month can actually irritate their skin, increasing the risk of infections. Care for a dog’s coat and hygiene—without overbathing—with:

Dog Nail Care

While it may be a luxury for pet moms and dads, manicures are essential to a dog’s well-being. Without regular trimming, nails can easily become ingrown, cause a painful snag, or grow long enough to affect the dog’s ability to walk comfortably.  

Highly active dogs may not need their nails cut very often as they’ll get worn down by hard surfaces. But when a dog’s nails make sounds as they walk across the floor, it’s a good sign it’s time for a trim. 

A dog groomer would handle dog nail care very well but can cost at least $600-1000 per year. Pet parents wanting to do this themselves should use dedicated dog nail clippers, like

  • Guillotine clippers best for small to medium dogs
  • Grinders that wear down and shape the nail—and make it easier to avoid accidentally clipping the nail’s blood vessel, also known as the quick
  • Scissor clippers that generate more force, ideal for larger dogs’ thicker nails

Need More Advice About Dog Grooming?

If—after reading the dog grooming guide above—pet parents have questions about which tools or grooming habits are best for a dog’s breed and needs, contact Fuzzy via 24/7 Live Vet Chat for personalized recommendations and guidance for a specific dog’s needs.

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