How to groom your dog or cat at home

Household 4 min read

Learning how to groom a cat or dog at home might seem intimidating, but it’s easy. DIY pet grooming keeps your furry friends happier and healthier and helps cut down on expensive visits to the pet spa.

How to groom a dog at home

Regular DIY dog grooming sessions will keep their coat shiny, their nails trimmed, their teeth clean, and much more. Plus, routine grooming sessions make it easy to spot any signs of illnesses in your pets before they worsen.

Brush your dog’s fur

Brush your dog’s coat in soft, steady strokes. If the brush catches on tough, matted hair, use your fingers to break through the matte. Different breeds may need this more often than others, but once a week is a good average for most dogs. You must brush them almost daily if you own a Pomeranian or a Shih Tzu. Long-haired breeds are susceptible to matting, which pulls on their hair and can trap dirt and bacteria close to the skin.

Bathe your dog regularly

As a part of DIY dog grooming,you’ll want to keep your pet clean and smelling fresh, particularly if your dog travels with you. Wet your dog down and suds them up behind their ears, taking care not to get soap in their eyes. Work your way back to the tail. A pet-friendly mild shampoo will prevent the coat from drying out. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a towel or blow dryer.

Brush teeth regularly

Yes, it might sound silly, but your dogs need their teeth brushed just like you brush your own. Some animals will shy away from it, especially if they aren’t used to it. Familiarize them with the process by rubbing your finger along their teeth and gums, and then brush them with pet toothpaste, little by little. Work your way up to a full brush. There are special toothbrushes and flavored toothpaste designed for dogs. Don’t use human toothpaste on your pet as it is toxic to dogs.

Trim your dog’s nails

If your dog is highly active, its nails will likely stay short due to natural wear and tear, but you should keep an eye on them. If you notice your dog chewing or tugging at its feet, it’s time to give them a trim. Specially designed nail clippers will cut your dog’s nails without going too short. If the nail does start to bleed, you can use styptic powder (the same stuff you use when you cut yourself shaving) to stop it.

Clean your dog’s eyes and ears

If your dog has any discharge, gently wipe it away from the eye with a wet, soft cloth. Clean the outside of your dog’s ears with a cotton swab. Never put anything inside your dog’s ears. If you aren’t comfortable cleaning your pet’s eyes and ears, take them to the vet. Discharge can be a sign of infection.

How to groom a cat at home

Routine DIY cat grooming can help you spot injuries or tell if they aren’t feeling well.

Brush your cat

. As a part of DIY cat grooming, it’s important to brush your cat. It’s relaxing and feels like a mother cat bathing her kitten. You need to brush long-haired cats more often, but short-haired cats can benefit from being brushed once a week.

Bathe your cat when necessary

The stereotype is true: most cats dislike water. On the other hand, some cats don’t mind it. At times, if your cat has gotten particularly dirty or shouldn’t lick something off itself, you’ll need to bathe the cat in warm water. Use a pet-friendly shampoo and rinse thoroughly, then dry your cat with a clean towel. A treat or two after can go a long way toward earning forgiveness.

Trim your cat’s nails

Even with scratching posts, cats can’t always keep their nails short enough. You’ll need to trim your cat’s claws every couple of weeks. You’ll notice your cat pulling at its nails if they are too long.

Clean your cat’s eyes and ears

Use a soft, warm cloth, and never insert anything into your cat’s ears. You may want to leave some grooming practices to professionals.

What not to do when pet grooming at home

Never use human products on your pets

The chemicals and ingredients that go into human ingredients aren’t pet-safe. Always use shampoos, toothpaste, and other products specifically formulated for pets.

Don’t clip your pet’s nails unless you know how

If you cut the nail too short, it will cause the nail to bleed and can hurt your pet — and it will make future trims more difficult because they’ll remember what happened the last time.

Never bathe an animal outdoors

Not only can it get dangerously cold, but a pet that’s afraid of baths could sprint away from you — and a wet animal is much more challenging to hold on to.

Don’t try to express your pet’s anal glands by yourself

Expressing glands is a process best performed by a trained professional. Not only can you cause accidental injury to your pet, but you could also spray yourself with smelly excretions.

Grooming your pet at home doesn’t just save money, it also deepens your bond with your pet. Taking care of them, whether feeding your pet healthy foods or helping your pet manage stress and anxiety, is a big part of the responsibility and joy of owning a pet.

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