The Top Dog Groomers Share Their Best Tips For An Epic Dog Grooming Session
Tips & Tricks

The Top Dog Groomers Share Their Best Tips For An Epic Dog Grooming Session

Grooming is a crucial part of being a dog owner. Without proper grooming, your canine pal will potentially experience severe health issues over time. Sure, there are other ways of keeping your dog healthy, such as getting them plenty of exercise, food, and the occasional vet visit.

Grooming is a crucial part of being a dog owner. Without proper grooming, your canine pal will potentially experience severe health issues over time. Sure, there are other ways of keeping your dog healthy, such as getting them plenty of exercises, food, and the occasional vet visit. But it’s crucial to remember that grooming plays another vital role in keeping your canine friend healthy. 

For example, if you don’t groom your dog frequently, dead skin and dirt will start to pile up on their coat. When your dog gets a proper brushing, not only are you keeping their coat healthy and glossy, but you are helping remove dead skin and dirt, along with dead fur and dandruff. Fleas and ticks are also another problem dogs are prone to pick up without any grooming. 

Grooming your dog also helps protect their feet and joints. To protect your canine friend's feet and joints, you need to occasionally trim their nails. After all, if they become too long, it forces them to change their gait. It also helps prevent any infections from occurring and find any abnormalities that may require a vet to look over. 

Those are just some of the many reasons why you need to frequently groom your dog. Of course, not everyone is cut out for grooming and may be unsure of what they should do when it comes to grooming. So, in an attempt to help you understand the proper procedures of dog grooming, we’ve decided to get answers from dog groomers concerning this topic.

Here is some advice from pet grooming experts.

Easing your dog into the grooming

Most dogs aren’t used to the idea of going through a grooming process. A good chunk of the time, they’ll try to get away from you, making it challenging to give them a good scrubbing. Not only does it make the grooming session last longer, but it ensures that the grooming process is lackluster. Plus, the trickier parts of the grooming process may not be possible, such as trimming nails. 

Here's what Katlin Primrose, certified advanced professional groomer, has to say on this subject.

“​Dogs need training, we all know that, but for dogs visiting a groomer we need a different kind of training.

Imagine being a dog at a grooming salon where no one speaks your language: it’s noisy, scary, and other dogs are barking constantly. And now a human is using strange buzzing things on ​your paws and face ​and you really don't like that!

Your ​pup needs to​ feel​ relaxed in these environments, and ​we do this by ​mimicking the grooming process at home, ​while giving lots of rewards and treats.

​Practice Grooming Session At Home:

  • ​Massage your dogs paws between your fingers and hands daily.
  • Rub the corners of the eyes gently, and hold the tuft of hair under the chin very gently for a few seconds at a time.
  • Many groomers recommend taking a spoon handle and gently touching it near your dog’s eyes (careful not to hit the eyeball).
  • Try using a vibrating cell phone or toothbrush near them to get them used to the vibration and sound.
  • Use lots of praise and rewards!

This ​routine gets them very comfortable with ​the grooming process. This also makes it a lot easier for a puppy's first groom, ​although it's never too late to start with an older dog.”

The grooming process

If it were as simple as picking up a brush to clean our canine friend, plenty of dog groomers would be out of business. It’s crucial to know how to properly handle your dog through this process, to ensure they remain calm and comfortable throughout the grooming process. You can’t just grab them however you like and expect them to remain still the entire time. That especially applies to dogs that tend to be on the skittish side of things. 

The way you handle your dog is crucial for the grooming process to proceed as smoothly as possible. Here is some advice from Sherry Woodard, Best Friends animal behavior consultant, on how to groom your dog. 

“Start the grooming process by gently touching all the animal’s body parts. If any parts seem sore, stop and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a checkup. If your pet seems uncomfortable with your touch, remember that animals learn positive associations with repetition and praise. You will need to be a kind, gentle leader but remain firm in your intentions. The plan is to teach your pet to enjoy being groomed and to groom your pet on a regular basis, not just when the animal is matted or really dirty.

If you need help, you can start by accompanying your pet to a professional groomer for a lesson. Choose a groomer who is patient, gentle and kind. Most groomers are thrilled to meet people who want to work with their animals in between professional grooming visits.”

Brushing your dog’s teeth

One thing that the majority of dog owners tend to neglect is brushing their dog’s teeth. As you are aware, not regularly brushing your teeth can cause some serious issues down the line, aside from terrible breath. The same can be true for dogs. If they do not receive frequent brushes, it could cause issues down the road. 

Here’s what Leslie Brooks, DVM, MPH has to say about this subject.

“If done right, doggie toothbrushing won’t actually be anything to growl at. Throughout this whole process, use as much positive reinforcement as possible. The goal is to associate good dental hygiene with positivity and rewards.

In the beginning, it’s fine to give your dog treats at any time during this process, even in the middle of brushing. This seems weird to humans because people don’t generally chow down in the middle of their oral care routine. After your dog gets used to the process, you might not have to stop for treat breaks, but it all depends on how well your dog tolerates it.”

She goes on to explain that gum disease has been the cause of many illnesses among dogs.

“Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gum tissue. You’ve heard your dental hygienist warn you about it during a cleaning. It turns out that dogs have to worry about it, too — even more than humans do.

Dogs suffer from gum disease five times more often than humans do. An estimated 80% of dogs have some form of the disease by age three. Those numbers stink worse than dog breath. So, what makes it so prevalent?

Gum disease works like this: A dog eats their meal. When they’re done, their mouths are a great spot for bacteria to thrive. If the bacteria do not get cleaned out of a dog’s mouth, it can mix with food particles and saliva, a.k.a doggie slobber. This combination then forms plaque. Plaque is that whitish film that sticks to teeth.

If plaque isn’t removed by toothbrushing (or by other means), it will turn to tartar. This can happen as soon as 24 hours after a meal, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Tartar is harder and stronger than plaque and can form above or below the gum line. Bacteria love to grow on tartar because tartar is porous.

Bacteria can nestle into the tartar and set up home. They then reproduce more bacteria. Unchecked bacterial growth leads to gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums.”

Brushing the coat

Aside from brushing your dog’s teeth, you also want to make sure their coat is being frequently brushed as well. It’s essential to regularly brush your canine pal’s fur since it ensures that all of the grime and dirt they have accumulated comes off. It also prevents other nastiness from occurring as well.

The process can vary from dog to dog, but some general tips can be applied by dog owners. Here’s some advice from Sherry Woodland once again.

“Brushing and combing should happen daily or at least several times each week, no matter what kind of coat your animal has. If you plan to give your pet a bath, do the brushing part first. Brushing and combing will feel good to your pet; it removes dead hair and tangles, and distributes natural skin oils. If the coat is thick, make sure you are combing all the way to the skin. Be gentle and patient, though; too much pressure on the skin can cause irritation called brush burn, and pulling the tangles will hurt if you try to hurry. A detangler can be used on dry hair to loosen any knots.

Different types of brushes are used for different coats. A curved wire slicker or pin brush works well for long, straight coats. Use a regular wire slicker for medium-length hair and coats with a dense undercoat. I like rakes for brushing undercoats during the shedding season. Short, smooth coats can be brushed with a grooming mitt or rubber curry. After brushing, you can use an all-purpose comb to work out small knots the brush missed.”

Nail trimming

Nail trimming is one of the trickier but necessary parts of the grooming process. This process can be nerve-wracking for most people since dogs tend to freak out when it comes to getting their nails done. That’s especially true if they are not used to getting their nails trimmed. Some experts would even recommend that those with little experience get a professional to do his part instead.

Here’s what Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM has to say about trimming your dog’s nails.

“It is best to begin dog training early in life. In addition to “sit” and “stay,” pups can learn to relax when their nails are trimmed. When petting your new pup, rub her feet and put pressure on her toes. Let her investigate the nail clippers as they lie on the floor, then open and close them so she can hear the noise they make. Next, clip the very tip off a nail while providing positive reinforcement with praise and treats. Your pup should not develop a fear of the clippers if exposed to them in a positive manner at a young age.

Although it is easier to teach a pup, old dogs can “learn new tricks.” Be prepared to spend extra time training your older dog to tolerate nail trims because the steps outlined above for puppies are not quite enough for older dogs that already have a paw aversion. Adult dogs may be fearful of the clippers and the sound they make, especially if they had a previous bad experience (having the nail trimmed too short or “quicked”).

Desensitizing older dogs to nail trimming takes patience. The process cannot be rushed. Monitor your dog’s response as you follow these steps below and repeat steps if your dog has difficulty along the way. “

Leave it to professionals

If you are not feeling confident with grooming your dog, it’s probably best you leave it to professionals to take care of the whole process. If you feel like it makes you an inadequate dog owner,  perish that thought. There’s nothing wrong with being careful when it comes to taking care of your dog. These professionals have been trained to take care of your pup’s needs, so they’ll know the best way to spruce your Fido. If anything, use that opportunity to ask them for some tips and tricks to improve your grooming skills.

Here’s what Katlin Primrose has to say on this matter.

“​Unless you're very comfortable with grooming, leave it to the professionals.

I can’t tell you how many repair grooms I have to fix on a daily basis. Every single time I have someone come in with a dog that’s been chopped up at home, the owners always say it’s so much harder than it looks. Problem is many owners end up cutting their dogs by accident. So now Fido thinks scissors are going to hurt him​. Don’t do it. ​

In most cases it takes 2 grooms (and about 8 to 16 weeks) to fix a dog that has been poorly groomed.”


There you have it, some solid advice from a group of professionals who have been grooming dogs for a while. The advice they offer here should help you get a better understanding of the grooming process. However, if you would like to hire a professional dog groomer instead, check out our app today. It will help you find some of the best groomers in your area. 

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