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If you’re on a budget and looking to save on what can be costly professional grooming appointments (especially if your breed requires a cut every 4-6 weeks or if you have multiple pets), DIY grooming may be right for you. The keys to successful at-home grooming are time and preparation. So, if you can commit to the idea that the process can be time-consuming, and that you’ll need some basic, necessary tools in your “home salon,” DIY grooming can be done by following these 5 simple steps. And get the camera ready – nothing is cuter or funnier than a soapy, wet pooch!
Begin the process by gently brushing your dog from head to tail. Be sure to choose the right brush. For instance, if your dog has a long, thick or difficult to manage coat, you’ll need a detangling brush. If Fido has soft, oily hair, a bigger bristle brush designed to remove excess oil may be necessary. Take your time and do your due diligence in removing all debris and locating all matted knots that need to be cut out. You’ll quickly notice which areas will require the most of your attention.
As you get ready to bathe your dog, reassure him with a sweet, encouraging tone. Many dogs get skittish in and around water, so now is a good time to offer comfort if needed. It’s best to wash your dog in a sink or shower with a nozzle/spray attachment for easy, comfortable access and control. Your dog will do best in lukewarm water (a damp, cold dog will shiver). Choose a baby or pet shampoo made for sensitive skin to be safe. If your dog has dry, flaky skin, you’ll want to buy a moisturizing shampoo. If your dog may have fleas, you’ll need a flea-specific shampoo. Lather your pup up well and be careful to avoid his eyes and mouth. After washing the body, clean eyes and ears with a warm cloth only. Towel dry with a large towel and try to remove as much excess water as possible.
You’ll need to purchase a pair of special grooming scissors from a pet store or online. Never use regular scissors on your pet! For an even cut, you’ll need the blades sharp and cut at a blunt angle. Always be extra careful around the face and in hard-to-reach areas like the belly, bottom and feet. And remember to clean up all the fallen hair so you don’t see it tracked all over your home afterwards!
Drying your dog’s hair the right way can also be the scariest part of the process for your pup! The only way to get your dog’s hair completely dry and free of that awful “wet dog smell,” is to use a hair dryer but the mere sound of the blower can often make your dog want to run in the opposite direction. To speed up the process, ask a friend or family member to help hold your dog in place while you dry your anxious pup. Brush your dog’s hair simultaneously while using the dryer for the optimum soft, fluffy coat.
You did it! And your pup not only survived, but now looks fresh, clean and more adorable than before! Celebrate with hugs, kisses, treats and verbal praise. That way, Fido associates bath time with positivity and well-deserved rewards.
After your first DIY grooming session, you may think twice about doing it again, but remember – it gets easier with practice! Your hard work as a stylist is not only a cost-saver, but also provides other benefits. Grooming your dog yourself gives you total control over how your dog is handled (rather than entrusting a stranger) and offers your dog the familiar environment of home where he can be less stressed and have a more relaxed experience. Rest assured that the more you do it, the more of an enjoyable experience it will be…for both you and your dog!