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When Should You Take Your Dog to the Groomer?


Whether you’re a long-term dog owner or just brought home a new pup, it’s important to take your dog to a groomer for steady maintenance. Dogs need baths, trims and nail care just like people do! They just may need them less frequently.

How often should your dog visit a dog groomer? Here are some tips on when to take the trip.

When They Need a Bath

Dogs need cleaning, on average, every six to eight weeks. Washing them more frequently can remove oils from the skin, especially for short-haired breeds. Dogs need the oil on their skin for good health. Without it, they can develop itching, rashes and patches on the skin.

If your Fido has been rolling in the dirt or has otherwise gotten unusually dirty, an appointment with a dog groomer can make him clean again. You can always wash dogs yourself, of course, but it’s often a challenge to get a dog into a bath, let alone get him or her clean. Plus, it’s time-consuming. Let a trained professional do it.

A professional bath can also make sure all areas of the dog, such as paws and ears, get thorough bathing and rinsing. Dirt and even leaves or other debris can get stuck in these areas, and cause pain and infections if not removed.

When They Need a Trim

Dog hair grows, and when it does, it can get too long. The hair of long-haired breeds can get in their eyes and cause discomfort and even, occasionally, infections. Maintain a healthy coat with a trim, which you can schedule along with a bath and other grooming services.

Regular dog haircuts can also have a beneficial effect on any humans in your home who might be allergic to dogs. If you have a breed that sheds, less hair will result in fewer allergens.

When They Need a Brush

Just like you, dogs need quality time with ye olde hairbrush. They need a different brush, to be sure. They also need brushing less often, about twice a week, rather than the 100 strokes a day you should have. Brushing is good for their health. You can do routine maintenance, but a brush by a dog groomer when you take them in is also a good idea.

Without steady brushing, their coats can become matted. Matting is challenging to get rid of because it often forms knots or tangles. In some cases, matted fur needs to be cut off. It can also be painful to your dog, because matting pulls their skin. If they play outside, mud or even insects can be caught in fur that is matted.

Some groomers recommend dogs with heavy fur, or with specific cuts, such as poodles, visit a groomer every two weeks.

When They Need Their Toenails Trimmed

Dogs need toenail trims to keep them healthy. Trimming your dog’s toenails can be tricky. They have a vein, termed a “quick,” in their toenails. You don’t want to hit the vein. Dog groomers are trained to clip toenails safely, so it’s a really good idea to enlist the help of your groomer when your dog goes in for their regular maintenance.

When They Need Their Teeth Cleaned

Maybe you never thought of taking a toothbrush to your dog’s teeth. Most owners don’t! But the fact is, any creature with teeth needs those teeth maintained.

An estimated one-third of all dogs have periodontal disease. Breeds with short snouts are more susceptible to it. Have their teeth cleaned regularly to avoid periodontal disease.

To Get Them Used to Professional Grooming

Some dogs and dog breeds love going to the dog groomer. They are quite happy to be sittin’ clean and pretty at the end! Others, though, see professional groomers as strange, big humans leaning over them and scary places they don’t know. They can get very nervous at a groomer’s, and be a challenge for both you and the groomer.

One solution is to get your dog used to grooming in steady and small doses. If you take them in as a puppy and keep doing it regularly, they will take the experience in stride. If they’re older, start with a bath and a brush. From there, you can work up to teeth cleaning, once your dog is comfortable with a groomer’s touch and the grooming environment.

If They’ve Become Matted

Despite brushing, the coats of some long-haired breeds may become matted due to play or outside adventures. A refreshing dip in a local lake, followed by some hunting, can affect a dog’s fur with burrs, cockles and other outside stuff that may have been wonderful to be a mighty hunter in, but doesn’t feel good once home.

Groomers are professionals in removing matted hair. Don’t try to do this yourself.

How to Find One Now That You Know When to Take Your Dog

If you’re new to dog ownership or have recently moved, there are online resources that can help you find a groomer near where you live.

Dogs need frequent grooming. Be sure to keep up a regular maintenance schedule to optimize their health and cleanliness.

Editor’s Note: If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of dog owner, here are 5 grooming tips and a list of dog grooming supplies you should have at home.


About Author

Emily is a wildlife conservation and pet care writer and avid animal lover. You can read more of her articles on her blog, Conservation Folks, and follow her Twitter, @emilysfolk.


  1. I didn’t know that if dogs hair grows too long it can get in their eyes and cause infections! I have been wondering when I should take my dog in to get a trim and that would be a good thing to check! If it can get into his eyes that is probably a good time to take him in! Thank you for all the great dog grooming tips!

  2. I can see why my dog needs to see a groomer. Her nails are so long, we can hear her coming from two floors away, if she’s walking on the tile. If they have a vein in them, I don’t want to clip them myself!

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