Think of the top five cutest dogs you’ve ever seen. Now think of their owners. What do you think is common to all of them? Of course, a dog grooming kit. A dog grooming kit is forward and center in keeping your dog cute and adorable.
But even aside from the adorableness, there are several other reasons that grooming your dog is highly beneficial. The most important reason is actually health-related. By grooming your dog, you can help to take care of skin diseases that could put your dog in serious health troubles.
So without further ado…
What Is Dog Grooming?
According to Wikipedia, dog grooming is defined as the routine process by which a dog is cleaned and cared for hygienically. Another definition of dog grooming is that it is the process by which a groomer enhances a dog’s physical appearance.
You must have watched or been to such shows and competitions. The dogs look totally fab and their owners show them off proudly. You know what makes all that happen? Dog grooming! With a dog grooming kit!
Reasons To Groom our Dog
Not every dog needs to be groomed at the same frequency. Yeah… The frequency at which you groom your dog is dependent on several reasons.
The most important of these reasons are his breed, his age, and his state of health. However, however often you choose to groom your dog, grooming your dog has several benefits. It keeps your dog comfortable and also maintains his health.
Here are other important reasons for you to groom your dog:
- Grooming your dog reduces your dog’s risk of contacting certain health issues like scratches, thrush and other similar skin issues.
- It keeps your dog clean and neat.
- It gives you the opportunity to monitor your dog’s health since you’d be able to check out for swellings, cuts, lameness, and heat. By catching these symptoms on time, you can keep your dog from developing a severe illness.
- Dog grooming affords you and your furry friend the opportunity to bond even closer.
- By grooming your dog, you reduce the likelihood of him developing parasitic infestation on his skin.
- It takes out all the dead hair so your dog’s natural oils get evenly distributed. This helps to keep your dog’s skin and coat shiny and bouncy.
- It also helps to improve blood circulation around your dog’s skin.
Now, here are some aspects of dog grooming you should know about.
Aspects Of Dog Grooming
Dog grooming involves several processes. In fact, there are five aspects to it.
Usually, dogs are bathed once every while either using a shower head or with water from a bucket. Some people use hoses, but we won’t advise that. It just seems really cruel.
If you’re going to bathe your dog, you should not use hot water. Use warm water instead so your dog can enjoy his bathing more.
If your dog has a really heavy coat or his coat always manages to get tangled and matted, then always comb first before you bathe. If you don’t comb and demat first, then you’re in trouble. It would be difficult to detangle the coat afterward and your dog is going to hate the process… And to be honest, you will too.
Now, to bathe your dog, you’d need a dog shampoo and conditioner. And no, you can’t use yours. Human shampoos are way too strong for a dog’s sensitive skin.
And even when using dog shampoo, you should mix it with some water before using it on him. Those things can get pretty strong for your pup’s skin. Plus, it also makes proper rinsing difficult.
Rinsing properly after bathing is very important in dog bathing. If you do not rinse properly and some shampoo is left in your pup’s coat, it could irritate his skin.
Beware though, you must refrain from bathing your dog every day. He doesn’t need to bathe as frequently as you do. If you force him to, his skin might lose its natural oils and dry out.
There are certain dog breeds with coats that need constant trimming, and cutting and other such attention.
The way you style a dog is dependent on a number of reasons. It might be for practical purposes or it could also be just as a result of the owner’s tastes. And then again, a competition or a show would require a lot more showiness and dexterity than practical grooming.
Some of the most important tools for hair removal in a dog grooming kit are dog brushes and rubber gloves. They are quite easy to use and most times would work on wet and dry coats as well.
Now, there are some dogs that naturally come with long hair… like really long hair that gets to the floor sometimes. And it’s not just that, they don’t shed so the hair can get really long.
Look at the Lhasa Apso, for instance, their hair gets so long it could even cover their eyes and make seeing quite difficult. In a case like this, the dog owner will need more than brushing, he will need to trim the hair.
But then again, there are some dog owners who don’t mind their dogs having long coats that get to the ground. And although it would require a more tasking grooming routine, some dog parents do not seem to mind.
This is the process by which a groomer takes out dead hair from a dog’s coat. It is usually performed on a non-shedding dog, i.e. dogs that do not naturally grow out their dead hair.
Usually, for dogs with a wiry and hard coat, their hairs grow until the hairs reach a certain max length. At that length, the hair naturally sheds without any interference from any groomer. This does not mean that such dogs do not require grooming though, they still do to keep their coats looking neat.
Hand stripping helps to coordinate the rate at which your dog sheds and it also allows for the growth of a new coat.
You will need to hand strip dog breeds like spaniels and terriers. Oftentimes, groomers would use a stripping stone, or more commonly, a stripping knife. Usually, you’d have to take out the hard and messy top coat to reveal the softer and neater undercoat.
Normally, stripping should be painless if it is done right. If it isn’t, it could become painful and uncomfortable for your dog. And inadvertently, it would be uncomfortable for you.
If you want your dog to enjoy being stripped, you should start stripping him from his puppyhood.
Trimming your dog’s nails is very important for other reasons aside him scratching your furniture and clawing at you. If you do not trim your dog’s nails, it could lead to certain health issues for your dog. How?
Leaving your dog’s nails to grow out would cause his nails to curve into a spiral shape. And when these nails curve into his paws, you can be sure that it’s going to hurt to walk. In fact, putting any pressure on his toes at all would cause extreme pain.
And it gets even worse…
If the nails keep growing, they could pierce the paws leading to extreme pain and, of course, infections.
To keep any of these equally scenarios from occurring, you should clip your dog’s nails monthly. If you don’t cut your dog’s nails regularly, it would get increasingly difficult to do it the next time. So, avoid procrastination and always be on schedule with his nail clipping.
How Often Should You Brush/Groom Your Dog?
Like we already mentioned earlier, the kind of breed your dog is would determine how often you get to brush/groom him. The nature of their coat, its length, and the activities they engage in determines how often they’d need to be groomed.
If your dog has a short coat, you won’t need to brush or groom his coat so frequently. And that makes sense because a short coat doesn’t tangle or mat as often as a long one. Plus, debris won’t get caught in it as frequently as it would get caught in a long coat.
And then dogs with really short coats might not even need brushing at all. But then you might need to brush him down with a soft grooming glove occasionally to take out the loose hair.
There is no straitjacket rule as to how often you should brush your dog. You should do it as the situation demands. And that means you need to observe your dog very closely and regularly too.
If his coat starts getting tangled or starts to lose its shine, then it might be time for grooming.
How long can dog grooming take?
For some dogs, it might take a few minutes, for other dogs, it might take several hours on a weekly basis.
But if you want a rule of thumb as to how often to groom your dog, here’s a guide…
Dog Breeds And How often You Should Groom Them
Short, Smooth Coated Dogs: A good example is a Kelpie. You’d only have to brush him once in every few weeks. And all you’ll be doing is to take out the loose hair.
You know some dogs with a short and smooth coat actually do shed. So, if you brush them once in a while, you’d help them coordinate their shedding so the loose, dead hair can come off.
Short, Heavy-Coated Dogs: An example of a dog with such a coat is a Husky. If you own a Husky or a similar dog, you both can get by with a weekly or fortnightly brush.
Long-coated Dogs/Double-coated Dogs: An example of such a dog is a Border Collie. Dogs like the Border Collie would require a brushing every week to prevent tangles and mats.
Puppies: Puppies will generally not appreciate your acts of grooming. It is normal and to be expected. So, for this reason, you’d have to be a bit gentle with them.
If you can help them to get more comfortable with being groomed, they’ll come to love it over time. And even vet visits will slowly become less of a tug of war.
Now, since we are here, let’s give you a few tips that could help your puppy actually start enjoying his grooming.
How To Get Your Puppy To Enjoy Grooming
Step 1 – Begin With General Handling
You want to start with general handling so your pup gets comfortable. As with dog potty training and other such dog training, you need to employ the praise technique. That means you need to learn how to reinforce good character by praising your pup when he behaves.
In this case, behaving would be remaining calm while you handle him.
Begin handling him around his chest, to the shoulders, then his sides and back and then to each of his legs. As he gets more comfortable, begin to lift each paw gently. Please, do this one at a time.
As he adjusts to that level of handling, you can introduce the next level by touching the bottom of his feet and his nails. And then you can slowly extend to his chin and his ear flaps.
In all, remember to reward calmness. You want your dog to develop a positive mindset towards grooming.
Step 2 – Introduce The Brush But Don’t Use It
Yeah, now you want to introduce the brush but don’t use it just yet. Just keep doing your general handling. But keep the brush close by. If he remains calm, then you should reward him as usual.
What are you doing?
You’re trying to make your dog have good thoughts towards the brush. If he can link the brush with pleasant things, you’ve done well and you can now proceed to step 3.
Step 3 – Brush Lightly
Now, once you’ve been able to get your dog to feel comfortable around the brush, you can begin brushing very lightly. Always brush when your pup is relaxed. And, for this phase, keep it to the chest and keep it light.
As time goes on, you can increase the number of strokes per time and you can begin to brush other parts of his body.
Also, for now, keep brushing limited to the direction in which the hair grows.
Step 4 – Introduce The Occasional Brush In The Opposite Direction
After completing step 3, and you’re sure that your dog is comfortable with it, you can move to step 4. Here, you can now introduce an occasional brush in the opposite direction of how your puppy’s hair grows.
Doing that will help you guys do some routine skin checks for fleas, ticks, and dirt.
Step 5 – Trim Mats, Knots, And Tangles Instead Of Brushing
In all of these, as you groom, ensure you keep the experience positive and comfortable. Don’t try to comb out mats, tangles and knots, trim them off instead. If you try to brush them, you’d have to pull too hard, or you might make sudden jerky movements that could cause your pup pain and discomfort.
Step 6 – Stop If He Gets Uncomfortable
You must not complete the entire grooming in a day. It’s not absolutely necessary. If your pup begins to show signs of discomfort, stop immediately. You can always continue some other time when she’s more comfortable.
Step 7 – Use The Appropriate Brush And Brushing Technique
Ensure you’re using the right brush and brushing technique that’s right for your dog. An ideal dog brush must be soft and must not cause any pain.
Plus, ensure that you brush lightly. And if you notice that your brushing is beginning to make your dog feel ticklish, you might have to change technique. You’d know that your dog is feeling ticklish when he begins to make sudden movements while you comb.
Step 8 – Keep The Grooming Sessions Short
Don’t overwhelm your little puppy, so, try to keep the grooming sessions brief. If he’s enjoying it, you could let it extend for a bit but generally, keep it short.
Of course, don’t forget to reward your pup throughout the grooming session. As you know, whatever gets rewarded continues.
Trimming Your Dog’s Hair
Aside from brushing, some dogs might need their hair trimmed every other time. Your vet clinic should be able to show you how to do it safely and neatly. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can also get help from the clinic or hire a professional groomer.
Now, here are some areas on your dog’s body that might require regular trimming…
- Areas around the eyes: Especially when it begins to hinder proper vision or cause some of the irritation, you’d need to trim.
- Around the anus: We know it might sound disgusting but you need to trim around the anus. If you don’t do that, it could encourage an entrapment of feces which could lead to smelliness and infection.
- Areas exposed to dirt and debris.
- Areas where the coat tangles or mats.
Now, whenever you have to trim, always ensure that you use blunt-nosed scissors. And always ensure that the scissors faces away from your dog’s sensitive skin.
Also, be extra careful with trimming around the eyes so the hair doesn’t get into his eyes.
And, of course, reward your dog for remaining calm during a trimming session.
Brushing Your Dog’s Hair
Different strokes for different folks. And we mean that very literally. Different dogs would require different brush strokes and different brushes as well.
You want your dog’s brushing experience to be as comfortable as possible. So, be very observant. Note when the pressure is causing him discomfort. Also, keep an eye out for whether your brush is making brushing painful for your dog.
For the short-haired dogs with a smooth coat, you could stick with a soft grooming glove. You could also use a soft brush to take out the dead, loose hair.
Dogs with a medium coat might need brushes and/or combs that come with longer bristles. But, as usual, make sure the bristles don’t hurt.
Top Seven Must-Have Instruments in Your Dog Grooming Kit
So, we went snooping for you and here’s what we found. Whether you want to be a professional dog groomer or you want to groom your dog yourself, there are some must have tools that must be present in your dog grooming kit.
We are about to get to them without further ado:
Now, the first tool you want to add to your dog grooming kit is a good pair of quality dog clippers. You must make sure you find strong dog hair clippers from a trusted manufacturer. You might be tempted to buy a cheap pair, but ignore that temptation and get a solid pair instead.
There are two kinds of clippers – the corded and the cordless ones. Their pros and cons are obvious from their names. However, there are bigger issues than that like the blade.
But before we get to that, it is important that you look for dog clippers that offer protection and comfortable ergonomics.
Also, the clippers must be quiet! If the clippers are too noisy, it could make spook your dog and make them uncomfortable.
Now, to the blades… you’ll be wise to get an array of blades. You should have a vast array of blades of different kinds and different lengths. Like we once told you, dogs are of different kinds and would, therefore, require different kinds of blades.
Lastly, you’d have to maintain your clippers if you want them to last longer and do their job well. You might also want to get some coolant and wash oil to help maintain your clippers and keep them running.
Next item you want in your dog grooming kit is a pair of scissors. Your scissors must be sharp but comfy, and at the same time, your scissors must have a blunt nose. It helps to prevent the scissors from poking your dog’s skin while you trim.
Different Sizes And Shapes Of Scissors To Add To Your Dog Grooming Kit
There are different kinds of scissors you can add to your dog grooming kit. The different scissors types have their individual functions. You cannot do everything with one pair of scissors. That’s why your dog grooming kit must come with more than one pair.
Here are the major scissors types you must include in your dog grooming kit:
- Thinning scissors.
- Round-tipped scissors.
- Blending scissors.
- Texturizing scissors.
- Thinning scissors.
- Curved blade scissors.
There are all kinds of clippers you can add to your dog grooming kit. From the plier clippers to the guillotine style clippers, there are all kinds. It’s best to use nail clippers that you’re used to and clippers you’re comfortable with.
It might also be a wise idea to first test out your nail clippers before deciding to include it in your dog grooming kit. You need to choose something that is comfortable for you. If it is comfortable for you, it will be easier to use it on your dog without causing him pain.
And then, there are the nail grinders. Nail grinders are life-savers if you are too scared to trim your pooch’s nails yourself. Adding those to your dog grooming kit could make your work a whole lot easier.
Dog Brushes And Combs
This is another group of tools that should be forward and center in your dog grooming kit. After the clippers, brushes and combs play the most pivotal role in dog grooming. And you must make a good selection.
Ensure you get the right brush. In your fight against tangles and mats, it will be your foremost ally. You must invest in adding a good set of brushes to your dog grooming kit.
Here are some brushes you must include in your dog grooming kit.
- You’ll need a slicker brush. A slicker brush will help you detangle the knots formed in your dog’s coat.
- Again, you’ll need a pin brush. A pin brush will help you keep your dog’s coat pretty and fluffy.
- Another brush you’ll need is a bristle brush. This is the brush you will need to keep your dog’s coat shiny.
As for combs…
Combs are a very important part of your dog grooming kit. They help to get through to the tangles even better than a brush can. Just like brushes, combs come in different styles. Now here are some combs to try out…
- A mat breaker.
- An undercoat rake.
- A greyhound bomb.
You know that in the process of grooming, your grooming instruments will come in contact with all kinds of dirt and bacteria. You must not reuse them on your dog without cleaning and disinfecting them first.
For that reason, make sure that you have the following included in your dog grooming kit…
- Antibacterial soap: You’d need this for washing your clippers and other instruments in your kit.
- Rubbing alcohol: You’d need this to sterilize your clippers and other instruments in your kit.
Some dogs can get really excitable and that’s why you might need grooming restraints, Well, you’d more commonly find grooming restraints in a professional dog grooming kit. But it might not be a bad idea to get them if your pup is the really excitable type.
However, one thing is important… Whether you’re grooming your dog yourself or you’re taking him to a professional groomer, the grooming restraints must be comfortable. It must not make your pup feel uncomfortable.
If your dog shows any sign of discomfort, make sure you remove the restraints and try something else or find another method to make him stay still.
Finally, you need safety equipment in your dog grooming kit. So, think first aid kit – a doggy first aid kit and not a human first aid kit. Make sure you always have it on hand when you groom your dog.
On the other hand, if you’re taking him to a groomer, take it with you. A professional groomer should have one, though, but don’t count on it. Go with yours just in case.
So, that’s all for now. You’ve been a good sport and we are glad that we were able to contribute to your education on dog grooming and a dog grooming kit.
Remember, the key to getting your dog to love grooming is to get him to associate grooming with pleasant things. So, you must always reward so you can reinforce good behavior.
Finally, you can groom your dog yourself. But if you feel you’re not doing it right and you feel your dog is very uncomfortable, go to a professional groomer. Or if your dog’s coat is too long, dense and confusing, then take him to a groomer.
All in all, grooming your dog is a must and owning a dog grooming kit will help to make that job a lot easier.