9 Essential Dog Grooming Tips for a Healthy and Happy Pet

If you’ve recently decided to start grooming your pup at home to save money or because trips to the groomer turn into an anxious mess, you’re in the right place.

Your dog is happiest and most relaxed with you, so who better to groom them? You’ll both enjoy the bonding experience and reap the benefits of regular home dog grooming.

Keep reading to learn the benefits of grooming your dog at home, how to understand your dog’s coat, and nine essential dog grooming tips for keeping it soft, clean, and healthy!

Bathing a Staffordshire terrier. Bathing and other dog grooming tips keep your dog happy and healthy.

Benefits of Grooming Your Dog at Home

Grooming your dog at home is essential to keeping your dog healthy and happy, even if you plan to take them to a professional groomer eventually.

Saves Money

Grooming between appointments can save you money at the groomer and make the most of a professional trim. Your dog’s professional style will last longer if you touch it up occasionally, and your pup will stay cool in the heat.

Detect Health Issues

Grooming your dog frequently at home will help you to detect any changes in your dog’s fur or coat. Bring up any new lumps or bumps you uncover with your veterinarian to prevent a potentially serious health condition from spreading.

You can also catch fleas early before your house becomes infested with them and catch ticks that may cause Lyme disease.

Trimming a dog's nails.

Ear Infection Reduction

Cleaning your dog’s ears regularly is important to prevent ear infections caused by the buildup of gunk and grime that happens in the ear area.

Posture Benefits

Your dog will feel better and be more confident after grooming, which will improve posture, but did you know that long nails are uncomfortable for your dog to walk on? This can create bone issues like arthritis if ignored.

Less Shedding

If you have a dog that sheds like crazy, brushing them frequently is the best dog grooming tip to limit the shed. Grooming may not eliminate shedding, but it will drastically reduce the amount of pet hair you find on your furniture and carpet.

Strengthen Relationship

Grooming your dog at home often strengthens the bond between you and your dog. Your dog may initially be nervous, but they will learn to trust you with frequent grooming.

9 Essential Dog Grooming Tips

1. Understand Your Dog’s Coat

Many different types of dog coats can be three different lengths: long, medium, and short. Each coat will need to be groomed according to its type, so the first dog grooming tip is to figure out what type of coat your pup has.

Single or Double

A Shepherd breed dog lying on a lawn.
A Shepherd breed.

Dogs of any coat length may have a double or single coat. A double coat means the dog has a shower undercoat than the out coat, and these dogs usually have soft, wooly fur. Single-coated dogs only have one layer of fur.

Double-coated dogs shed more than single-coated dogs and will need more frequent grooming. They typically shed their overcoat twice a year, meaning they shed their entire coat in response to the seasons changing.

Popular double-coated breeds include Collies, German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, and Corgis.


An apricot-colored Poodle lying on grass.
A Poodle.

Curly-haired dogs benefit from daily brushing to keep the knots at bay. You will need a slicker brush for brushing a curly dog’s hair. A dog grooming tip for curly-haired dogs is to use a curly coat shampoo when bathing your dog.

Curly dog breeds include Poodle, Labradoodles, and Bichon Frises.


A Cocker Spaniel lying on a bed.
A Cocker Spaniel.

Silky coats are soft and the closest dog fur to human hair. While you don’t need to bathe them more than other dogs, they need regular brushing to prevent knots and maintain their softness.

These dogs are normally single-coated and are easiest to brush with a pin brush. Breeds with silky coats include Cocker Spaniels, Irish Setters, Silky Terriers, and Yorkshire Terriers.


A salt and pepper Schnauzer lying on a lawn.
A Schnauzer.

Wire coats can be smooth or rough-coated. Allowing the coat to grow will turn the fur wavy and textured. These dogs need to be hand-stripped, meaning you must pluck out pieces of their dead fur with your fingers or a blunt stripping knife.

A professional dog grooming tip is to strip your dog when dirty so you can grip the hair easier, though groomers are divided on whether you should bathe immediately after stripping or wait. Do what is best for your dog, or ask a trusted local groomer.

Dogs with wired coats include Terriers, Dachshunds, and Schnauzers.


A black and white Chinese Crested.
A Chinese Crested.

You may not think you need to groom a hairless dog, but it’s quite the opposite. Hairless dogs need to be bathed more often! A professional dog grooming tip is to them once a week to keep their skin healthy.

Oatmeal-based cleansers are the best products for hairless dogs. Bathing them regularly also helps rid their skin of blackheads, which they are prone to getting.

Hairless dogs can also get sunburns, so you must apply a pet-safe sunscreen to protect them when they are outside.

Dogs that are considered hairless are American Hairless Terriers, the Peruvian Inca Orchids, Hairless Chihuahuas, and Chinese Cresteds.

2. Brush Your Dog Regularly

A woman brushing a Golden Retriever.

Note: Most hairless dogs do not need to be brushed except for the Chinese Crested.

Once you’ve identified the best dog brush for your pet’s coat, the most important dog grooming tip is to brush them regularly, ideally daily, regardless of the dog’s coat. Make a routine while relaxing on the couch watching your favorite show to brush your pup’s fur.

Before you start your brushing routine, quickly examine your pet’s coat to check for any cuts or abrasions that could hurt your dog when brushing over them.

Use soft pressure and brush toward the dog’s hair growth. Gently brush out any mats and knots. After brushing, a shedding blade can help grab dead hairs, reducing shedding and mats.

3. Order a Dog Grooming Kit

Dog grooming kit tools laid out on a table.

Rather than buying everything separately, one smart dog grooming tip is to buy a dog grooming kit. This can help save you time and money.

This kit has everything you need for trimming all coat types, and it comes with an electric clipper to trim the hair around the paws, rump, face, ears, beard, and mustache, as well as thick coats.

4. Trim Nails Every Few Weeks

Closeup of trimming a dog's nails.

You can tell if your dog’s nails need trimming when their nails start to touch the ground when they walk, which usually falls around every three to four weeks.

Walking on nails is uncomfortable for dogs, and your pup will thank you for trimming them as soon as you notice their nails touching the floor.

Buy a sturdy pair of nail clippers with a safety stop and non-slip grip to prevent injuring your dog when clipping. You will need clippers designed for thicker nails if you have a larger dog. A dog nail grinder is also a safe, effective way to trim your dog’s nails.

Clippers are cheaper, though grinders are recommended for black dogs whose nails are difficult to see or long-haired dogs whose fur often is entangled in their nails.

Pro dog grooming tip: If you are new to trimming your dog’s nails or haven’t trimmed them in a while, having a second person to help keep your dog still can make the process smoother and help prevent injury.

5. Trimming Fur Regularly to Maintain the Coat

A black dog lying down with grooming tools nearby.

Hair over the nose, around the paws, and the beard need to be trimmed the most frequently. Regular small trims can help maintain your dog’s coat and prevent the need for lengthy full grooming sessions.

6. Avoid Cutting Dirty or Matted Fur

A Chow Chow at a professional dog grooming salon.

Never cutting dirty or matted fur is an imperative dog grooming tip. If you notice a mat that cannot be brushed, visit a professional. Very bad mats will need to be shaved.

7. Bathe with a Dog-Formulated Shampoo

Choose a dog-formulated shampoo perfect for your dog’s coat, and needs is a dog grooming tip that will prevent skin irritation and keep your pet healthy.

Bathing a Golden Retriever in a bathtub.


Shampoo for White Dogs

Shampoo for Dogs with Sensitive Skin

Shampoo for Dogs with Anxiety

8. Ear Cleaner

Cleaning a brown dog's ears.

A non-irritation solution during routine ear cleaning is a dog grooming tip to prevent excessive ear wax buildup. If your dog has known ear issues, it’s best to speak to a veterinarian about the best ear cleaner for your dog.


Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner for Dogs & Cats

Vet Organics EcoEar Cleaner

9. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Brushing a dog's teeth.

Brushing your dog’s teeth might sound like a hassle, but brushing your pup’s teeth every day (just like a human’s) is a dog grooming tip to elongate the life of your pup’s teeth and save you thousands on your pet’s dental care in the long run.

A professional dog grooming tip is to brush your dog’s teeth in a downward motion. You only need to brush the outward surface of their teeth, so don’t worry about brushing the backs.

Never use human toothpaste or baking soda on your dog’s teeth, which pose serious hazards to your dog’s health. Use pet-formulated toothpaste like Vet’s Best Dog Toothpaste and Enzymatic Toothpaste Set.

Wrapping up 9 Essential Dog Grooming Tips

A terrier dog wrapped in a towel.

With these nine dog grooming trips, your dog will live a happier, healthier life.

Are you searching for other ways to keep your dog healthy and happy? Check out the Best Dog Exercise Equipment for your furry friend.

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