It is wonderful that things are slowly starting to open up again, and normal life may resume soon. This still leaves us with dogs that haven’t been groomed properly for weeks and are now, like us, in dire need of a haircut! New safety procedures at grooming parlours may mean you have to wait longer to get an appointment but never fear. We have been talking to expert groomer Alex Tourret from Flawless Paws about easy grooming tasks you can do for your dog at home. All of this information is also on her video here:
Here are Alex’s 5 Top home grooming tips:
1) The right brush
Alex’s most important advice is ‘Get the right brush for your breed’. Many owners have an ‘all-rounder’ which isn’t that good.
Long-haired breeds with a double coat (Alaskan malamute, Akita, German Shepherd, Leonberger etc) need a brush which will reach the undercoat such as an ‘undercoat rake’. You can then brush the guard hairs with a slicker brush afterwards. Don’t be surprised by the amount of hair they give up, it is summer and many are shedding now.
Smooth-coated dogs (Boxer, Dalmatian, Weimaraner etc) need a rubber mitt (google zoomgroom). These give a massage whilst removing loose hair - lucky dogs!
2) Work from the back to the front
Comb in the direction of the coat. Work from the hind legs (back) towards the head. Ideally, your dog will be used to this but if they are not they may get excited or agitated. They will be more willing to accept you brushing the back and working towards the front once they get comfortable rather than you 'diving in' at the head area first. Alex stresses ‘Never force your dog to keep still’. So, if they are not keen, back away and move to a different area then try again once they calm down.
3) Trim tricky areas
Dogs with ‘feathers’ (the longer hairs in areas such as legs) and dogs with hair that grows long between and around the paws can need more careful attention. If these need a trim, Alex suggests having your dog sit in front of you and put their paw on your knee. Backcomb the paw hair away from you towards your dog with a slicker brush and trim the bits left sticking upright. With long feathers, hold the dog’s paw and comb out the feathers so they are pointing down to the floor then trim in a straight line with scissors, pointing away from your dog Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, do your best.
4) Inbetween paws
Look between your dog’s paws. Excess hair growth here can get matted and damp and this can be uncomfortable. Check for red areas and if you do see any matted hair trim it off. Even trimming off a small amount is better than leaving it. Alex does this on her video below but depending on your dog you may need to work with the position they are comfortable in to do this. Many dogs do not like having their paws messed with and may struggle with you. Please don’t attempt to cut your dogs paws with scissors if your dog isn’t completely still or calm.
If you have a smooth-coated dog they would benefit from a bath with a high-quality dog shampoo. You can also use the rubber brush in the bath at the same time. If your dog is fluffy or longer coated just brush them out thoroughly. Bathing could mat their undercoat and this could prove difficult to detangle.
Finally, there are many dog grooming items for sale online which are designed to be used at home. The right brush for your breed is essential and your scissors need to be sharp.
Bonus tip: If you are worried about clipping your dog's nails just use a metal file to shape them down.
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