Before going ahead with the must-have supplies to stock in your home grooming kit, you need to get your dog or puppy used to being groomed at home.
Preparing a Dog for a Grooming Session
Dogs and puppies, especially after a certain age, can stress out when facing new experiences. Especially with such a lengthy process: washing the dog, using shampoo, drying the dog, brushing and cutting the hair, and so on.
It’s a lot to take in, and it can quickly turn into a nightmare for the dog if you add the new loud noises (clippers, dryer), the bathtub, and all these unfamiliar scents (shampoo).
Start with very short and simple grooming
Before having real grooming sessions at home, you should start with short, fun and easy grooming games. Prepare a lot of treats and make sure you introduce each new thing, one at a time, with a lot of cuddles and treats.
Some dogs will do just fine and you’ll fast forward and start the proper grooming within days; while other dogs are time takers and need more effort on your side.
Increase the duration and works gradually
Never put pressure on your dog and never show forcefulness because you feel like it’s too long of a process. In such situations, there are no bad dogs, only bad owners. Perhaps you are doing it wrong?
Forcing your dog to go through experiences he or she is not ready to face yet is making sure they will always despise grooming, with you or at the groomer. Never force that association!
Take your time. And keep on giving treats to reward good behavior!
Start with playing in the bathtub with no water at all. A day later, add a little bit of water. Another day after, add some more. Start to wet the feet first. And before you know it, your dog will be thrilled to jump into your bathtub for play time (and accessorily, wash time.)
The same goes for the dryer and the clippers. Turn them on when your dog is living his normal life. Start with few seconds, far from your dog. Get closer, for longer. Soon enough, you’ll be able to dry your dog fully.
Go ahead with full grooming sessions
Once you feel like your dog is ready, it’s time to start with full grooming sessions:
- Washing — a good wash is required before any grooming work
- Trimming — time to remove excess hair and clean sensitive areas
- Beautifying — optional step where you can use pet-friendly fragrances and additional products
In order to effectively go through all these steps, you must be well-equipped with professional-grade grooming supplies.
5 Dog Grooming Supplies To Have at Home
Dog grooming equipment is in direct contact with your dog, so you don’t want to be cheap and greedy right now. Buy high-quality items that will last you for years instead of cheap items that may end up unsafe to use.
1 — Dog nail clippers
Even experienced dog owners were, once upon a time, a little worried at cutting their dog’s quick — the nail’s pink area where nerves and blood vessels end. Even if you do, it’s not that big of a deal as long as you use a styptic powder (like Kwik-Stop or Sure Clot) or to stop the bleeding. Several dog nail clippers on the market also featured a safety guard to help prevent cutting too deeply.
There are three kinds of dog nail clippers:
- Scissor Clippers — work like regular scissors and are great for larger breeds
- Guillotine Clippers — work like a guillotine and offer more control
- Grinder Tools — work as a rotary tool for stress-free pet nail trimming
There is no “best type of dog nail clippers” here, just the ones you would feel the most comfortable using.
2 — A quiet forced-air dryer
To start trimming your dog’s coat, you need to wash it first, and then dry it. The skin of a dog is much more sensitive than ours so using a human hairdryer would be too dangerous and would result in severe burns. Additionally, the noise is too bothersome and anxiogenic.
Forced-air dryers are blowing cold air at very high velocity to get the water particles off your dog’s hair. It’s drying much faster that regular dryers and without any risk of burning. Plus, forced-air dryers built for dogs are designed with the low volume in mind.
3 — A set of brushes and combs
- Bristle brushes — ideal for everyday works, just choose the right length and spacing for the pins
- Wire-pin brushes — ideal for curly hair and longer coats, choose rubber-tipped brushes if the coat is difficult and requires you to be firmer when brushing
- Slicker brushes — ideal to deshed your dog’s hair and untangle difficult coats
As a rule of thumb, the longer the coat, the more frequent the brushing — long and silky hair do require daily brushing. Dog owners often brush the back of their dog and forget the tail and feet — that will only create massive knots for you to untangle at a later date!
Wahl has a very good general tips page you can use for a quick reference.
Be thorough in your brushing!
4 — Professional dog grooming clippers
Dogs require regular trimming to get rid of excess hair and also to clean up sensitive areas such as the genitals, ears and feet. Trimming the coat of your pooch is also ideal when the weather gets warm.
When choosing quality dog clippers, be sure to focus on these points:
- Blades — blades should never overheat and should remain sharp
- Noise — dogs can become scared and unpredictable if the volume is too high
- Motor — more power is required to cut through coarse and dense coats
- Design — holding vibrating clippers can provoke wrist fatigue (prefer lighter tools!)
- Cordless — easier to move and work at the same time with cord-free clippers
Good-enough clippers are usually priced over the $100 – mark but will last much longer than cheaper ones.
5 — A pair of high precision grooming shears
Kenchii offers state of the art grooming shears, thinners and scissors. They use the most precious materials to create unique tools loved by all professionals. But each pair costs several hundreds of dollars.
There are plenty great grooming scissors available on Amazon that put the emphasis on ergonomy, weight and blade precision. You may prefer rounded scissors to avoid accidents, especially if your dog is not used to staying still.
Do most of the trimming with clippers and keep your scissors for precision work on sensitive and unattainable areas.
Don’t Overthink It!
Dog owners overthink grooming and always want perfection or nothing. Going to the salon is the best option when you can afford such expenses or when you are involved in conformation shows.
Build yourself a really good kit and start grooming your dog at home today! It’s a formidable time spent with your four-legged friend and all these sessions definitely reinforce the bond between both of you!