Grooming your Dog

"Scrub A Dub Dub"

Reading about your particular breed of dog will help you to understand your breed and know how to brush your dog correctly. Taking the time to patiently and kindly teach your dog about grooming is time well spent when you receive the reward of 10-15 years of happy doggie bath time. Proper hygiene is important.

Accustom your puppy to being touched all over, brushed, handled, teeth and ears inspected, bathed, nails clipped and overall physically examined comfortably by you and others. It is much more productive to relax, take it slow and easy with brief exposures to a myriad of good things.

Just as you feel better when you are clean and healthy, your dog will also. Start bathing and brushing your dog when they are very young so it becomes fun for them and an activity they look forward to. Here is how you bathe your dog.

Brushing your dog

Brushing your dog regularly will help you to discover anything unusual that is going on with your dog. You can check your dog's body and coat to make sure there are no burs caught in their hair or foxtails between their toes or in their ears. Look at your dog’s skin each week to see that it looks healthy and if it has any cuts or sore spots on it. Use a soft brush and brush in the same direction that the hair goes. Delicately brush behind the ears, the stomach, the tail and the legs.

Some dogs have coats with two layers of hair. The beautiful hair on the top layer you can see. The undercoat is a hidden, second layer of hair. This undercoat helps a dog stay warm and dry in cold weather and it protects your dog’s skin from the hot sun in the summer.

This second layer of hair may also develop a "wet doggie odor" and your dog will require more frequent baths than a short haired dog. Blow drying the hair can really help with this. It also requires much more attention and brushing than short hair.

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Clipping your dog's Toenails

It’s very convenient to know how to clip your dog's toenails yourself. Toenails that are too long and curl under your dog's feet can make it difficult and painful for your dog to walk. Many vets will trim your dog’s nails for you when you are in for an appointment and you can watch them and learn how. Clipping off just the tip of the toenails about every 2 weeks for a puppy and then check their nails every month as adults is best.

Many people use regular people nail clippers on puppies and then step up to real dog toenail clippers at about 5 months when their puppy's toenails start to grow too big and strong for nail clippers. Many people use a dremel to gently grind their dog's nails. You just have to get your dog used to the sound of it. It's a matter of personal preference.

Clipping Puppy's Toenails


Many people prefer to take their dog to a professional dog groomer or have a mobile one come to them for bathing and nail trimming. There are also the “Do It Yourself Dog Washes” where you can pay a fee to use the facility. They generally have nice tall tubs and you can use their soap, dryers and towels or bring your own. It’s always good to start out slowly and gentle with anything you do with your dog.

Some dog owners bathe or have their dogs bathed and groomed every 1 to 2 weeks and on the other end of the spectrum there are lots of people who do not bathe their dogs at all unless their dog goes out and find something smelly and rolls in it. This is definitely a personal hygiene issue between you and your dog.

Short haired dogs, because of their short, sleek coats, may not require bathing as often as long haired dogs. Of course, if you or anyone in your house have dog allergies, you may have to bathe your dog more often.

Many neighborhood children love to bathe dogs. Of course you need to supervise the activity, and what a wonderful way to socialize your dog and spread joy and Doggie Love in your own neighborhood! If kids are bathing your dog, be sure to invite their friends.

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General Bathing Information

Start your dog off early in the tub if you are planning on bathing them regularly. Be prepared for the occasional wet shake-off during the bath time and after. If you pay close attention and use your towels wisely, you can avoid your bathroom floor from being soaked.

Make sure you use a good quality dog shampoo so that you don't wind up with a dry, brittle coat and scaly, flaky skin.

If your dog runs into a skunk, there are odor-removal products on the market, available at pet-supply stores, intended to get rid of the eye-tearing, strong odor, but you may still be left with the lingering scent for a few weeks. Whatever you use, be sure to rinse very, very well, as dried shampoo could cause humans and your dog to itch.

Bathing your dog is easy. Many people use the bathtub or sink, so their dog can have a warm bath. Other people use a hose in their yard and have some buckets of slightly warm water around when the weather is colder. It is important to make bath time a fun time for your dog and having an inside, warm bath is much more desirable than a cold bath in the yard.

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Bathing your Puppy

"7 Simple Steps to a Great Dog Bath"

  • Step 1: Take a walk or run with your dog. It might sound a bit odd, but a great way to start a bath for your dog, is with a nice, long walk. It feels good to your dog take a bath after a nice walk or long run.

  • Step 2: Brush your dog. If you have a long haired dog, you’ll want to brush out all the tangles that can be found. Wet tangles can be painful to comb out. Brushing can take all the loose, dead hair off of your short haired too.

  • Step 3: Set up the bathing area with your 4 or 5 towels, shampoo, some Q-Tips, and a container (pitchers, clean cottage cheese containers, etc…)for each person to pour water over your dog.

  • Step 4: Get your dog into the tub. If your dog is small, it’s no big deal, but once they are pretty large, they have to be gently lifted by a few people or one big strong guy, or they need to know how to obey the “get in the tub” command. Make sure you have some of the skid free appliqués or a skid free mat on the bottom of the tub.

  • Step 5: Talk to your dog and rub their body as you turn on a warm stream of water. Fill up your containers and pour them over your dogs back and neck, making sure not to get water in their eyes and ears. Let the water keep gently running so it fills up the tub to the bottom of your dog’s belly and keep dipping your containers into the water and pouring them over your dog.

  • Step 6: Start working a little shampoo into your dog's fur from shoulders to tail, paying special attention not to get any water or shampoo in the eyes, ears and mouth. Keep pouring water over them. Once your dog is all lathered up, you will need to rinse your dog off really, really well, so there is no residue of shampoo on them whatsoever. Rinse and Rinse some more. If you don’t thoroughly rinse the shampoo out of their hair, your dog might get itch skin! As far as their faces are concerned, simply use a wet wash cloth and wipe it clean.

  • Step 7: Dry your dog really good. Let the water out of the tub and then towel dry. Say: "Shake Off" and then they shake off and you continue to towel dry more. Tell your dog “out” or help them out of the tub. Towel dry them some more.

    Some people will blow dry their dogs with the blow dryer. This will help your dog not to have the wet dog smell if they are long haired. You have to get them used to the blow dryer sound and let them feel comfortable with it. You can invite your dog into the bathroom while you blow dry your own hair or someone else to help this process along.

    Before your dog is good to go, you need to take a Q-Tip and gently swab out their ears. There are lost of crevices in a dog’s ear that can get filled with moisture, water and dirt, so this needs to be done. Do not go down into the ear canal. If you are not sure about this just take a dry wash cloth and kind of dry the ear on the inside delicately. Your vet can check and clean your dog's ears for you also.

  • After the bath, most dogs will excitedly run around very playfully for a few moments and even rub their bodies on the carpet if you have carpet. Enjoy your bath time!

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    To learn all the basic training that your dog will ever need:
    "Take our Free Puppy Training Course"