What’s better than a dog? A nicely groomed, fresh-smelling dog! At-home dog grooming sessions can be fast and fun, if you have the right tools on hand. Here are the top dog grooming supplies you need to keep most pups looking and feeling their very best.
1. A high-quality dog brush
Most dog brushes are a small investment, and if you don’t let them be used as chew toys, they might last for many years. Look for a brush with smoothly finished teeth that won’t scratch or damage your dog’s skin or coat as you use it.
If your dog falls into the “smooth-coated” category (think Pug, Greyhound or Dalmatian), a rubber curry type brush, such as the Kong ZoomGroom brush, is a good option. This tool fits well in the hand and readily removes the short, shedding hair on smooth coats.
You can use it on a wet coat, such as when you are bathing your dog, or on a dry coat for in between bath touch-ups. Designed to feel like a nice massage, this tool swiftly removes an impressive amount of hair.
For pets with a longer coat you will need a slicker style brush. The bent, metal teeth on this tool are designed to reach past the guard hairs to the undercoat and remove dead hair. It helps defend against mats and tangles.
2. A good comb
Many pet parents miss the important role a well-made comb plays in keeping long-haired coats in great shape. The trick is to use the slicker brush first (as mentioned above) from snout to tail. Then go over the coat with a comb.
Andis’ steel pet comb is made for dogs of all sizes and removes tangles. This comb is designed to find any trouble spots, such as small tangles or areas where dead hair is clumped up and hiding. Get your slicker brush back out for those areas, and then re-check with your comb. Be sure to comb from the skin to the tips of the hair and not just going over the top of the coat.
If you’re dealing with pesky fleas and ticks, pick up a flea comb for dogs. The Safari double row flea comb for dogs is designed to be comfortable in your hand to make the flea removal process more enjoyable for you and your pup.
3. Coat spray
Whether your dog has a smooth coat or long, flowing locks, a mist of coat spray before you begin to brush or comb is a great idea. A spritz of grooming spray will reduce static and help your grooming tools glide through your pet’s fur. It also is formulated to help you work through tangles—and help prevent future ones—while leaving a pleasant scent.
4. Bath wipes for a quick clean up
If your pet rolls on a dead bug, has goop in the corners of her eyes, muddy paws or a questionable potty-area mess, bath wipes are great for a quick cleanup in between bath sessions. Nature’s Miracle deodorizing bath wipes are alcohol-free, with a moisturizing conditioner to help keep your dog’s coat health and shiny.
5. Dog shampoo
If your dog no longer smells good, it’s time for a bath. A shampoo made specifically for pets, like Tropiclean’s gentle coconut shampoo, will help remove dirt without irritating your dog’s skin.
Here’s a grooming tip: Pour a little dog shampoo in a cup or bowl and add a bit of warm water to dilute it. Then dip a cellulose kitchen sponge in the mix and wash your pet. The sponge enables you to get faces, paws and private areas clean, and it helps you distribute the shampoo evenly over your pet.
When you are finished with the shampoo, rinse the sponge well and affix it to the shampoo bottle with a rubber band. Then you always know which sponge is for dishes and which is for your pup.
Note: Unless your veterinarian suggests otherwise, choose the mildest cleansing shampoo possible.
6. Mild dog conditioner
Using a mild conditioner, like Tropiclean’s kiwi conditioner, will help replace the natural oils that the shampoo removed from your dog’s skin. It also is formulated to smooth the cuticles of the hair shafts, leaving your dog’s coat smooth and shiny. In conjunction with good brushing and combing, conditioners can help prevent tangled coats.
Be sure to rinse your pet completely after applying shampoo and conditioner.
7. Drying supplies
After the bath, microfiber dog towels and mitts will help you get your pet dry quickly.
When using dog towels, pat and squeeze the coat, rather than rubbing, which can cause tangles to form. If you want to use a dog hair dryer on your dog, invest in one that will do the job right.
A high velocity dog dryer, such as the MetroVac’s AirForce Commander two-speed dryer, will help dry your pet quickly. This type of dryer is especially well-suited for double-coated breeds, such as Shetland Sheepdogs, Shepherds and Pomeranians. It helps blow any dead undercoat out as it dries the dog, and it has enough power to make Poodle and Bichon coats achieve maximum fluffiness.
8. Dog nail clippers
If you want to take on the task of trimming your dog’s claws, plier-type trimmers are the safest choice. They are designed to be comfortable to hold and feature sharp blades for a clean, neat cut.
Note: It’s wise to have styptic powder, like Remedy+Recovery’s stypic powder, on hand in case a nail accidentally is trimmed too closely. If that happens, press a little powder on the nail tip and the bleeding will stop quickly.
Keeping your pet looking and smelling fresh makes them more pleasant to cuddle with and be around. Beyond that, regular dog grooming sessions reduce the amount of hair you find around your home and prevent painful tangles from forming.
Consider making one night a week “spa night,” and brush and comb your pet while you watch a favorite TV show. Take this time to check your pet over from nose to toes, looking for parasites and irritations. Offering dog treats when your pet behaves well reinforces that grooming time is pleasant, and the results will be, as well!
Daryl Conner is an award winning photojournalist and Master Pet Stylist who has loved making dogs and cats more beautiful for 30 years. You can find her plying her trade at FairWinds Grooming Studio. She shares her meadow hugged Maine farmhouse with her very patient husband and a lot of animals.