How to Groom a Dog - Basic Guide DIY Grooming

How to Groom a Dog - Basic Guide DIY Grooming

Author WDF Staff


Grooming is important for several reasons. Not only is it vital for your dog to look their best, but it is essential for their health as well. If you establish a great routine, regular DIY grooming sessions will allow you to check your dog’s body for any signs of health problems. If you ever wondered how to groom a dog, you should know that the grooming session should include brushing, bathing, nail trimming, teeth cleaning, ear and eye cleaning, and anal sac cleaning.


Brushing is the basic thing when it comes to dog grooming. It will keep the dog’s coat clean and healthy, and it allows you to check their skin for any signs of irritations or skin infections. Make sure you brush your dog all the way to their skin. It will promote healthy blood circulation, and you will remove excess dandruff from their skin. A couple of times a week should be more than enough, although the dog’s coat type will determine the best brushing schedule.

dog brushing

The exact equipment you’ll need will depend on your dog’s coat. Some brushes are made specifically for dogs with long coats, and some are better for short, slick coats. There are specialized de-shedding brushes or brushes that will take care of tangles and mats. There are clippers, stripping knives, and all sorts of things your dog might need. If you are not that interested in dog grooming or you don’t want to learn how to groom a dog by yourself, you can always decide on going for a professional grooming treatment.

Another thing brushing will help you control is - shedding. If you regularly brush your heavy-shedding dog, the amount of dead hair can be controlled, and your home will be a lot cleaner.

Nail trimming

Nail trimming is a vital part of dog grooming. A good indication that your dog’s nails are too long is if you hear them clicking on the floor while your dog walks. Too long nails will interfere with your dog’s normal movement and gait. Plus, if their nails are too long, there is a chance they will break. That usually happens at the base of the nail, where all blood vessels and nerves are located. Not only is it painful for your dog, but it can get infected and cause further health issues.

dog nail trimming

Some owners have problems getting their dog used to nail cutting. Again, if you are unsure how to do it, you can always ask professional groomers for help. The nail trimming or cutting can be problematic if the dog is not used to getting their paws handled during their puppyhood. To safely trim your dog’s nails, you can use clippers or trimmers. Check out this article for more information - How to trim dog nails?


Dogs should have regular bathing schedules, but they shouldn’t be too frequent. Too many baths will remove the dog’s natural oils that keep their coats soft and protect them naturally from dirt. A bath every 8 - 12 weeks is enough for most breeds. When bathing your dog, make sure you use shampoos explicitly made for dogs; never use human shampoo on your dog.

dog getting a bath

Keep in mind that bathing can be stressful for some dogs, and some dogs absolutely hate it. Each year, many dogs and owners get injured in a bathtub, and all because dogs aren’t calm. You should apply the shampoo all the way to your dog’s skin, scrub them, and thoroughly rinse the dog’s coat. That will be very hard if the dog is constantly trying to escape the bathing area.

If you don’t know which shampoo you would pick for your dog, check out this article for some suggestions - Best dog shampoo.

Teeth cleaning

Cleaning the dog’s teeth is a part of the answer to the question “How to groom a dog?” However, it is often overlooked by many owners. Dogs usually don’t love getting their teeth cleaned, and it is vital we start getting them used to it while they are still young. Bad oral hygiene can lead to different periodontal diseases and very bad breath in dogs.

dog teeth cleaning

For efficient oral hygiene, you will need a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste for your dog because human toothpaste contains xylitol which is toxic to dogs. If you want to know how to groom a dog properly, you should know that teeth cleaning is essential. Check out this guide for getting your dog used to cleaning their teeth - Dog Teeth Cleaning.

Ear cleaning

Dogs have delicate ears, and they should be regularly checked for signs of infections or redness. If you want to know how to groom a dog, you should know how to clean and inspect your dog’s ears. You should only ever use a damp cloth or a cotton swab for cleaning debris from your dog’s ears. Never insert anything in the dog’s ear canal or force an ear swab inside your dog’s ear. There are also ear drops you can use to maintain perfect dog ear health. Check out this article for some suggestions - Best ear cleaners for dogs.

dog ear cleaning

Eye cleaning

Ensuring your dog’s eyes are clean and healthy is a crucial part of the “how-to” dog grooming edition. For regular eye cleaning, you can use a damp cotton cloth. That will be more than enough to clear your dog’s eye discharge. However, if you and your dog often go for adventures, there is a possibility your dog can get something in their eyes. You can get dog eye drops, just in case. Check out our suggestions here - Dog eye drops.

dog eye cleaning

Anal sacs

Anal sacs are located on either side of a dog’s anus. Healthy functioning anal sacs should discharge a tiny bit of fluid every time a dog defecates. However, these sacs can get infected or impaired. When they stop functioning properly and are left untreated, anal sacs can get infected and even abscessed. Groomers and vets can take care of the anal sac problems, and you shouldn’t try to extract them if you don’t know what you are doing. One of the first symptoms of anal sac issues is if you notice your dog scooting across the floor.

DIY dog grooming may work well for some easy to groom dogs, but there are risks in doing so. Even the best-laid plans can go wrong, and an inexperienced dog owner who decides to give dog grooming a try can cause severe damage. It’s always a good idea to reach out to professional dog grooming services. Before you begin your DIY dog grooming, check out this list of risks you should be aware of when going at it alone.

World Dog Finder team

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