Grooming Hacks: The Do's and The Don'ts

Want to make grooming sessions go more smoothly and effectively? Follow these simple steps:

  • Do choose the correct tools for the job. Quality grooming tools may cost a little more, but they are kind to skin and coats and will last for a long time when properly cared for.
  • Do use shampoos and conditioners that are designed for pets. There are products available for every imaginable coat type and issue; let them help you achieve excellent results.
  • Do read product labels and use as directed. Many products are concentrated and need to be diluted before use.
  • Do rinse thoroughly to remove every trace of shampoo or conditioner.
  • Do work on clean, dry coats. Unless the dog's fur is so matted that it must be clipped very short (in which case, clipping first often makes sense), brushing and combing clean hair is better for maintaining hair health.
  • Do dry the pet thoroughly after bathing. Not only will this make the coat look its best, it will also help maintain skin health.
  • Do brush the coat thoroughly after the dog is clean and dry.
  • Do use a coat spray as you brush to remove any dead coat, mats, and tangles.
  • Do follow up with a comb on long-haired pets. The comb will show you any thick or knotted areas that the brush missed. You should be able to get the comb from the skin to the tips of the hair, all over the dog's body.
  • Do examine all parts of the dog as you work, checking ears, eyes, mouth, paws, and skin all over to make sure everything appears to be normal and healthy.

Here are some things to avoid while grooming:

  • Don't use brushes or combs that have bent, broken, or missing teeth. Damaged tools can scratch sensitive skin or cause damage to coats.
  • Don't use pre-diluted shampoo or conditioner that has been mixed for more than 24 hours. Bacteria can grow in pre-diluted products and be dangerous to pets.
  • Don't brush, comb or try to de-matt dirty coats. Dirt helps to hold tangles in place, and dematting dirty coats will cause more coat damage than working on clean, conditioned fur.
  • Don't forget to use extreme caution around the pet's eyes, ears, and genital area while drying. Make sure the dryer temperature is safe for the pet, and use the power of airflow safely.
  • Don't use dull clipper blades or scissors animals. Grooming tools are safer when properly maintained and kept sharp and correctly lubricated. (See individual device manufactures instructions.)
  • Don't use dull nail trimmers. Sharp trimmers will clip smoothly; dull trimmers will put crushing pressure on the nail and cause the animal pain.
  • Don't use ear cleaner on ears that appear to be inflamed or infected. Many ear cleaners contain alcohol and can irritate infected skin. Seek veterinary care.

Your grooming game will be on point if you let these ideas guide you as you wash, dry, and brush your way to having well-groomed dogs.