Essential Tools for Grooming Your Pet at Home
With some practice and the right tools, you can learn to successfully groom your pet at home.
While professional groomers do an excellent job at maintaining your pet’s coat, skin, ears, and nails, these services are not cheap. Most pet owners can groom their dog or cat at home with just a few basic tools. In addition to saving money, in-home grooming is often, a more comfortable experience for pets and can strengthen the bond between pet and owner.
If you’re planning to groom your pet at home, you’ll want to gather some essential supplies, including the following:
Investing in a quality dog brush is an inexpensive way to keep your dog’s coat smooth and free of tangles. The type of dog brush you need will depend on your pet’s coat and length. Both cats and dogs can have various coat types and lengths, such as smooth coats, short coats, double coats, silky coats, long coats, and curly or wavy coats. Once you have determined your pet’s coat type, consider one or more of these brushing tools:
- Comb – Combs are suitable for general grooming but can also be used to remove small tangles and mats. The length and spacing of the teeth can vary depending on their use. For example, flea combs have tightly spaced teeth designed to catch fine dirt and fleas from the fur. De-matting combs are used to remove mats in dogs with long, heavy, and/or thick coats.
- Brush – This is one of the most common tools used in pet grooming. There are several types of brushes on the market, such as the pin brush that helps get out minor mats and bristle brushes that remove fine dirt and add shine to the coat. A slicker brush is appropriate for medium-to-long-haired dogs and can remove tougher tangles and mats, as well as loose hair from the undercoat.
- Rake – Rakes can be used to groom and de-shed your pet. A standard rake has rounded ends that prevent irritation to the skin as dead hair is removed. This type of rake is best suited for longer-haired dogs and works to gently remove tangles and knots. Undercoat rakes are useful for removing tangles, mats, and loose fur from the undercoat. This type of rake has small, curved blades that safely remove loose fur without irritating the skin.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends bathing pets with medium-to-long coats weekly to every four to six weeks, depending on how well the coat is maintained between baths. Short-haired pets typically require less frequent bathing.
To wash your pet, you’ll need a pet shampoo that includes a conditioning agent that will help detangle any mats and moisturize the animal’s skin. Opt for a dog shampoo with natural ingredients and steer clear of harsh ingredients that could irritate your pet’s skin.
Your cat or dog will naturally get dirty over the course of the day, especially if they spend time outdoors. However, bathing your pet too frequently can remove the natural oils from the skin, resulting in dryness and flaking.
In between baths, use pet-friendly grooming wipes to wipe away dirt, sand, and debris. Grooming wipes are useful for wiping dirty paws, goop from the corners of the eyes, or dirty butts after a potty session.
The average dog requires a nail trim every three to four weeks, according to PetMD. Cats require more frequent nail trimming, usually every 10 days to 14 days. Nails that become too long are at risk of getting caught on furniture or carpeting, potentially getting ripped off.
Choose a pair of nail trimmers that are comfortable to hold and contain sharp blades for a neat, clean-cut. Ideally, the nail trimmers should have a guard to protect your pet. Have a styptic powder on hand in case of an accidental nail bleed.
If your pet has a medium to long-length coat, you may need hair clippers to keep your pet’s fur looking its best. You’ll want to avoid cheap clippers, that do not provide a smooth, comfortable cut.
Compare features when choosing pet hair clippers. It can be convenient to have a rechargeable, cordless option that will allow you to trim your pet without the nuisance of a cord. You’ll also want to choose a quiet option that won’t startle your pet. The standard pet hair clipping kit contains guards, trimming scissors, and clipper oil.
Once your pet’s bath is over, you’ll want to use the proper supplies to get your pet dry. If you don’t mind your pet being a little damp, a microfiber towel or drying mitt can help remove the bulk of the moisture.
If you want your pet to be completely dry, consider investing in a high-velocity dog dryer. Dog dryers are best suited for pets with long, thick, or double coats, such as Pomeranians, Shepherds, or Shetland Sheepdogs.
Grooming Your Pet at Home
It can take time to get your pet acquainted with in-home grooming. It’s important to gradually introduce your pet to these tools by keeping grooming sessions short at first. Keep some treats nearby to distract your pet and to build a positive association with the tools. Over time, your pet will get used to this routine and may even learn to enjoy this time together.