Keeping a dog well-groomed is an integral part of being a dog owner. Being a dog groomer means you get to help owners keep their dogs happy and healthy. We know you probably already know the importance of bathing and trimming, but we have put together all our top tips and techniques for grooming each part of a pup into one place for you to find.
Bathing and shampooing
As a dog groomer, you’ll understand the importance of bathing dogs. Bathing cleans the skin and coat, removes any loose hair and dirt and improves the coat’s shine. Bathing too frequently can dry out a dog’s skin, so dogs should only be bathed when they really need it; for example, if they've got dirty on a walk or in the garden, or if there's an unpleasant smell.
There are many types of shampoo for dogs like there are for humans. There are specific shampoos for different types of hair, skin problems and even breeds. Oatmeal or hypoallergenic shampoos are great choices, and you can also use a conditioner afterwards to prevent drying from the shampoo.
Some pups don't enjoy having a bath. Making it an enjoyable experience should be a priority for a dog groomer. Patting and stroking the dog while you are bathing them can distract them and keep them still while you shampoo.
Brushing and combing
Brushing and combing dogs’ hair is an essential part of general pet care. Brushing the hair helps keep away knots and mats that could damage the coat. Brushing also helps distribute healthy oils over the hair shaft, encouraging a shiny and healthy coat.
Some breeds with very short hair may not need traditional brushing, and you can instead buy a grooming glove that gently removes loose hair. When to brush depends on the type of dog. Dogs with short, dense hair like a husky can generally be brushed fortnightly as opposed to long-haired dogs who will probably need to be brushed weekly to prevent the coat from becoming tangled.
Now and then, dogs need their hair trimmed. If it's grown around their eyes, anus or mouth, it can cause irritation, infection and obscure their vision. When trimming the hair around a pup's eyes, you should always take extra care. Ensure you use blunt-nosed scissors and point them away from the dog.
Sometimes debris can get trapped in the fur, and it can be tough or painful to brush out, but you can gently trim these areas to remove it. You can also trim out bad hair mats and knots that cause the dog distress when traditionally brushed or combed.
Paws and nails
Some dogs can have extra hair grow between their footpads that will need trimming as it can catch debris and become matted. Trimming dogs’ nails is another service that a lot of dog groomers offer – it's important to make sure you don't cut the dog’s nails too short as this can cause them pain.
When trimming the nails, start with the back paws as they tend to be less sensitive. Hold the paw firmly in your hand and cut the end off the nail at a 45-degree angle. You can make several smaller cuts or one more significant cut but be sure not to cut too deep. A lot of nail clippers come with a guide so that you can only cut a little at a time. With these, you can trim the nail up as far as a small black dot in the centre surrounded by white.
80% of dogs have periodontal disease or other dental problems like tooth decay by the time they're three years old, and regular brushing is crucial for preventing this. Gum disease can be painful for a pup, so tooth cleaning is essential, and in order to keep diseases at bay the teeth should be cleaned at least once a week. Start brushing early in a puppy’s life so that they can get used to the feeling of it.
There are special dog teeth cleaning products that you can buy like the Emmi-Pet – a whole toothbrush kit for dogs. In addition, it’s good to give dogs clean snacks like carrots to chew on rather than the types of dog chews you can buy commercially.
Dogs’ ears come in all sorts of shapes, lengths and sizes. Keeping the ears clean is imperative for maintaining a healthy dog. Wiping the skin gently inside and around the ear to clean up any dirt and ear wax can stop a build-up that can cause infection. You can also pluck the hair inside the ear to ensure the dog isn't harbouring any yeast or even mites. If the dog has long-haired ears like a spaniel, you should comb the hair to stop any mats from forming.