Golden retriever getting a bath

DIY - How to Groom Your Pet at Home

Thinking about giving your pup a little spa treatment at home?  Here's how to groom like a pro!

By Dr. Katalin Grant —

4 Minute Read

health + nutrition


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pet-safe shampoo (Did you know that dogs have a different pH levels than humans? So it is not recommended to use shampoo intended for humans.)
  • Cotton balls
  • Towel
  • Non-slip surface

Place your pet on the non-slip surface, and place cotton balls in their ears to keep out the water.  Thoroughly wet them starting with the head and keeping water out of their eyes and ears.  Apply a small amount of shampoo to different areas, lather, and rinse well, making sure not to get shampoo in your pet’s eyes. 

Don’t forget to clean out their ears using a specialized ear cleaner.

Finally, wrap a big towel around your dog and either allow him to air dry or use a blow dryer at a distance, and don’t forget to brush his hair.

If your dog shows signs of stress, take a break.  If they are not tolerating a bath well after multiple tries, try a dry shampoo instead. Frequent brushing sessions, combined with an occasional bath will keep your pet clean and comfortable.

Dog getting nails clipped

Nail Clipping

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Canine nail clippers
  • Good lighting

 Dog’s nails contain a blood vessel called a “quick,” and cutting nails too short can result in a great deal of bleeding and pain.  To avoid the quick, cut just the tips of the nails frequently using specialized canine nail clippers, and never try to cut them when your pet is jumpy.

pomeranian getting hair cut

Fur Trimming

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Electric clippers
  • Comb
  • Brush

** Be sure to do your research to make sure you’re purchasing the right tools for your pup’s coat and skin.

While the specific method of trimming your dog’s fur will be different for each dog, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Give your clippers some TLC

Dull clipper blades will pull your dog’s fur and cause discomfort.  Clippers can also get hot when used for a long period of time and can burn your dog’s skin.  Be sure to turn them off regularly and touch them to test the temperature before using on your pet.

Take your time

While trimming your pet’s fur, don’t push the clipper too fast or it will leave undesirable lines.  It’s also important to guide the clippers in the direction of the dog’s hair growth for a smooth, natural look.  Like humans, dog’s hair can grow in different directions, so make sure to pay attention to the direction the hair is growing as you go.

Work with your dog

Make sure your dog is calm and in a position where they are less likely to move suddenly, and start clipping at the back of the neck and work our way down their body systematically to ensure you don’t miss any spots.  Don’t be afraid to ask a family member for help if needed.

For more tips on grooming your dog, check out our Tips for Grooming your Dog.


About the author

Dr. Katalin Grant, DVM, has 20 years of experience as a board-certified veterinarian, specializing in general and emergency medicine, surgery and dentistry. She's owned and operated five different veterinary clinics and hospitals. Through her extensive research in the areas of pet health and wellness and her work with national health organizations, Dr. Kat continues to show her deep love of animals and passion for educating pet parents on responsible pet ownership. Plus, she's a proud pet mom to 3-legged Shih-Poo mix, Sandy, and 17-year-old Maine Coon, Sushi.


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