I’ve been getting a bunch of messages on Instagram, asking for home grooming tips. With “non-essential” businesses shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many dog grooming shops are closed. And, while they may be deemed “non-essential”, many of us are finding out just how essential they really are!
Not only do groomers make our dogs look spiffy, but they also help keep our canine kids clean (a must to help prevent infections) and make them more comfortable. Just think about this for a second: How uncomfortable are you when you have a big knot in your hair? Well, when dogs get tangles and mats, it doesn’t feel good for them either! Plus, depending on the breed, weeks without seeing a groomer could mean hair growing over eyes and ear hair so long that it dips into the food bowl at each meal.
Basic Grooming Tutorial
I’ve been home grooming my toy Poodle, Gigi, for a couple of years. I love being able to groom her in the comforts of her own home. She’s calmer and it’s great bonding time. Every few weeks, I bust out my grooming table, blow dryer, favorite buzzers, and scissors to give her a good clean. (I share the full list of professional grooming tools I personally use and love HERE).
While I’ve shared short, tip-filled grooming videos on my Instagram stores (which you can still find in my highlights), I haven’t filmed a formal, step-by-step tutorial. For that, I’ll turn to the professionals!
I recently searched through YouTube to find a great, basic grooming tutorial video and am excited to share this one by AnimalWised. Keep in mind, each breed has specific needs. So, the way I groom Gigi’s snout and top knot, for example, is very different than what’s shown in this video. However, the many tips and techniques in here can be used for just about any breed. Check it out:
Takeaways & Extra Tips
- Always start with a bath to get your dog fresh and clean!
- After bathtime, I like to use a professional dog grooming blow dryer since they are temperature-controlled and powerful. If using your hair-dryer then be mindful of its heat settings. You don’t want to burn your dog.
- When it comes to haircuts, it’s very different for people and dogs. Unlike us — who get haircuts with wet hair — always start with a freshly washed and dried dog!
- Before busting out the buzzers, comb your dog’s hair and gently work out any mats. If you do find yourself head-to-head with a stubborn knot, check out the video in THIS post.
- In the video above, they begin their trim with the feet. Since this is Gigi’s least favorite part, I personally like to do this step last. Whenever you work on your dog’s feet, be careful when trimming the hair in between their paw pads so you don’t accidentally cut the skin.
- When buzzing your dog’s body, always clip in the direction the hair is growing. For example, when clipping the top of your dog’s back (along the spine), you’ll work from their neck to the base of the tail. But, as you shave down and around your dog’s body (closer to their sides), be mindful that hair growth can change directions. You would buzz down the legs … not up. Down the front of the neck and belly … not up. So, always pay attention to the way the hair is growing to ensure a smooth cut.
- When it comes to buzzer blades, remember this: The higher the number, the closer the shave. I personally use a 5 on Gigi’s body.
- If you have a dog breed that requires a buzzed face, gently hold their snout closed when working close to the mouth to avoid accidental tongue cuts. My mom and I learned that the hard way. Growing up, she used to home groom our poodles in between appointments and, one day, she accidentally clipped a tongue. Blood everywhere!
- Clippers can overheat. So, throughout your home haircut, continually check the blade temperature to avoid skin burns. Once the blade is hot, either use a clipper cooling spray, swap out the blade for a fresh one, or take a break.
- Use scissors to clean up the legs. You may want to consider investing in a dog grooming scissors set — like this one!
- I like to use scissors vs buzzers near Gigi’s genitals.
Tools Of The Trade
Andis Professional Corded Clippers – This is the bad boy I use when shaving Gigi’s body. I like that it features two speeds, has good power behind it, and there is an extremely large variety of clipper blades available for any cut. As I mentioned above, I like to use a 5 blade on her body!
Wahl Professional Cordless Clippers – This is perhaps my favorite clipper of all time and I have nothing but great things to say about it. It comes with two rechargeable batteries, so I always have an extra in case one runs out or I forget to charge one. Also, unlike your average clipper, this clipper never overheats. So I don’t have to worry about accidental burns after the blade has been running for a little while. It’s gentle on faces and genital areas. All around – this is a great grooming product!