Dog Ownership 101: Grooming

Dog Ownership 101: Grooming

Grooming your dog properly is vital for their welfare. However, you do get to choose between grooming your dog yourself or having a professional do it for you. While grooming is perhaps more important for dogs with longer coats, all dogs benefit from a groom from time to time. That being said, grooming your dog can be an incredibly stressful experience for them which is why it is important to get them used to grooming from a young age. Keep reading to learn more.

Why is Grooming Important?

Regularly grooming ensures that your dog’s coat is in the proper condition. It helps to remove dead hair, dandruff, and any build-up of dirt too. Brushing helps to stimulate the production of oils and fur to help your dog’s coat to remain healthy. Grooming is more than brushing and washing, though. It also gives you or the groomer a chance to look over your dog and give them a health check. 

When Does Grooming Start?

Realistically, the grooming frequency will rely entirely on the breed of dog. That being said, when it comes to working out when to have the first groom, earlier is often better. You want your dog to be totally comfortable with the process, so having their first groom done as a puppy can help them get acclimatized. This is also why you should stick to a semi-regular schedule of grooming too.  

Often, a short-haired dog will only need to be groomed once a week, and this usually only means brushing with a wash less frequently. A long-haired dog will likely need the same with the addition of bi-monthly clipping. Some dogs with a short coat will need stripping as the weather changes; this means brushing out or stripping their old coat to leave the new one underneath. 

DIY vs Professional

You do not need to be a professional to purchase dog hair clippers and cut your dog’s hair yourself. However, it is important to point out that professional groomers are trained, and often it is not as easy as it looks. Also, if you choose to clip your dog’s hair yourself, you do risk injuring yourself or your dog, so bear that in mind. 

If you do choose to groom your dog yourself, make sure you have done your research and be as specific as possible. For example, Native Pet has some excellent resources, including ‘how to groom a golden retriever‘, but if you have a pug, then this is not going to help you. Use the right equipment and try to ensure that there is someone there to help because a second pair of hands is always useful.

A Fear of the Groomers

A fear of the groomers is totally normal. They occur because your dog builds up negative associations. This could be because they feel anxious about being separated from you for an extended period of time because a groom can take a couple of hours. They may also find the groom unpleasant if they don’t like to be bathed or find the brushing uncomfortable. Luckily, there are several things that you can do to help your dog to get over his fear. 

Firstly, you need to work out where your dog’s fear lies. Once you know what they are afraid of, it is all about getting them desensitized to the trigger. If your dog hates being brushed, then go slowly; start by simply taking the brushes out to get them acclimatized to them, but don’t use them. If your dog’s fear lies in being separated, start to leave them for small periods of time. 

The key to reduce your dog’s apprehension is to slowly expose them to the thing that they fear in order to show them that there is nothing to be afraid of. If your efforts to desensitize your dog are fruitless, it might be worth consulting a professional like a dog trainer or even a vet if their fear seems to be particularly debilitating to them. They might be able to point you in the right direction or offer you some guidance. 

Clipping Claws

Nail maintenance is an integral part of your dog’s grooming routine. Overgrown nails can be incredibly uncomfortable and greatly affect your dog’s quality of life. Active dogs don’t tend to need their claws clipping as much because they naturally wear down through walking on abrasive surfaces like pavements or roads. However, if you have an older dog that doesn’t get out much, their claws will likely need to be monitored. 

Clipping your dog’s nails yourself is not recommended because it can be dangerous. This is because your dogs’ nails have a blood supply down to a certain point which is known as the quick. If you cut the quick, obviously, it hurts, but your dog can also lose a lot of blood, so it is better to have a vet or a groomer do this for you. 


Grooming is essential for your dog’s welfare, whether you choose to do it yourself or not. Depending on the breed of dog that you have, for example, if you have a short-haired dog, you can probably take care of most of their grooming needs yourself. If in doubt, always consult a professional. 

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