No matter what kind of dog you have, or how often you may visit a professional groomer, it’s fairly common to need basic grooming supplies at home for your pet. Having quality, basic dog grooming supplies on hand can allow you to take better care of your dog, and make grooming sessions easier. Regular grooming helps owners to bond with their furry friends, and helps keep your pet looking and feeling healthy. Below, we’ll highlight some of the basic dog grooming supplies that every dog owner needs to have at home, and some of the details to consider when purchasing those supplies.
A good quality dog brush doesn’t cost much, and usually will last for quite a long time. Just don’t let your dog use it as a bone or chew toy! When considering brushes for your dog, they should have smooth and soft teeth, that won’t irritate or cut into your dog’s skin. You also need to consider the kind of coat your dog has, in order to choose the best type of brush for them.
Dogs with smooth, shorter coats usually benefit the most from curry-type brushes, often made from rubber or a similar material. They are meant to remove the short hairs that typically shed on smooth-coated dogs, and work equally well on wet coats (such as during a bath) or dry coats.
Dogs with longer or thicker coats need a slicker-style brush. These brushes are constructed so as to reach past the outer hairs to the undercoat, removing dead and damaged hair, and preventing mats and tangles that can become a nightmare. Choose a brush sized to easily fit in your hand, and appropriate for the size of dog you have.
Most dog owners have a grooming brush, but often forget about a good grooming comb for their dog. Combs play an important role, especially in helping keep long-coated dogs’ coats in good condition. It’s recommended that a slicker brush be used first, and then the grooming finished with a comb. The brush will remove the dead and damaged hair, and the comb will help straighten, fluff, and untangle the remaining hairs.
Most combs are made from steel or other metals, and are suitable for dogs of any size. It’s important to note, however, that grooming combs are meant for grooming – to help straighten and untangle hair. Dogs suffering from flea or other infestations require a separate, different kind of comb (usually called a flea comb) for those conditions.
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When you’re grooming your dog, especially in between baths (dry grooming), grooming spray can make the entire process easier. It can also help keep your dog’s coat healthy, straighter, and fuller, and makes working the hair with a brush and comb a lot less difficult. Grooming sprays typically help reduce static, as well, so you and your pet won’t experience any kind of sudden, unpleasant shocks during or after the grooming process. Grooming spray also helps remove tangles, and prevent new tangles from forming. They are usually available in scented or unscented styles, depending on what you and your pupper prefer.
Bathing your dog requires a dog-formulated shampoo – human shampoo is too harsh, and even baby shampoo isn’t designed for the chemistry of your dog’s coat and skin. A gentle dog shampoo will help remove dirt from your dog’s skin and coat, and leave them smelling and feeling fresh and clean.
You should always choose a shampoo that is as mild as possible, to avoid irritating your dog’s skin. Experts advise you don’t apply the shampoo directly to your dog. Rather, put a bit of shampoo in a cup or bowl with warm water to dilute it. Use a sponge to absorb the diluted shampoo and use it so scrub your dog gently. This ensures better coverage with the shampoo than when you apply it directly, and avoids “hot spots” that can irritate the skin.
After shampooing your pet, gently rinse the shampoo and dirt away with water. Try to avoid getting shampoo or water in your dog’s ears, eyes, or nose – they won’t like it and it can cause irritation and infections.
Just as with human hair, after shampooing, conditioner can help to replenish the oils and other substances that shampooing removes, to leave the hair in the best condition possible. Dog-formulated conditioners help leave your pet’s coat shiny and fluffy, and can even help reduce or prevent tangles. Always follow the instructions on the bottle, just as with shampoo, and be sure to rinse your pet thoroughly after using the shampoo and conditioner before drying.
Speaking of drying, after a bath, you need to dry your dog – it is best not to let them entirely air dry on their own. Proper drying helps prevent coat tangling and matting, or allowing bacteria or infections to take hold on wet skin and in wet hair. It also will help keep your dog from getting too cold (especially in cooler months).
After bathing, you can dry your dog with dog-specific microfiber towels, and/or drying mitts, which are often easier, especially if you have a very active and squirmy pup. In a pinch, regular human towels can be used – the softer and fluffier the better. In any case, it’s best to gently pat the dog’s coat – rubbing their coat can create braids, tangles, and knots.
Dog dryers are also available and can be used, but be sure to purchase one meant for dogs – human hair dryers should not be used, as they can get far too hot, even on low settings, and burn your dog’s sensitive skin. A good dog dryer is especially important for breeds that have double coats, promoting removal of the dead undercoat during drying.
In between baths, or when you only need to spot-clean your pet (such as if they step in something stinky or messy), alcohol-free bath wipes are a good bathing alternative. The best choice is a deodorizing bath wipe meant for dogs or furry pets, rather than baby wipes for human babies, as they are designed to help promote coat health, and often include a moisturizer/conditioner to replenish any oils removed in the cleaning process.
Keeping your dog’s nails in good condition is important to ensuring they don’t hurt themselves (or you/your friends/family/etc.). Many people prefer to leave clipping or trimming to professionals, but it can be done at home, too. Plier-style nail clippers are usually the best choice, offering a simple mechanism and safe, sharp blade for a clean cut (reducing the risk of injury or difficulty).
With any clipping or trimming, there is always a risk of bleeding if you cut too much nail off. It’s best to have some styptic powder in your basic dog grooming supplies, to help stop the bleeding and promote healing right away. If you’re not sure how to clip your dog’s nails, there are plenty of good video resources and tutorials online, including several articles we have posted on the subject.
By ensuring you have these basic dog grooming supplies on hand, you can help take proper care of your pet. Keeping them clean, looking, and smelling good will make them feel better, and more of a joy for you to cuddle and play with. Dog grooming also helps reduce unwanted shedding all around the home, reduce tangles and knots in hair, and helps keep your pet cleaner between baths. If your pet doesn’t like grooming, take things slowly and gently, and use treats to train them if necessary. Always allow your dog to smell and investigate any grooming implements you plan to use on them, and be firm but supportive in your approach to grooming them. This will help acclimate them to the experience and become more comfortable with it – making things easier for both of you.
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