The supplies needed for basic dog grooming are available at pet stores and online. Grooming includes washing, drying, combing or brushing, dental care and nail trimming. Flea and tick removal and prevention might be included in grooming for some dogs. Sometimes grooming even includes perfumes, ribbons, hair dye or nail polish for dogs.
Shampoos formulated especially for dogs are available at pet stores and some grocery stores. Some dog shampoos have ingredients to kill or prevent fleas. You can also use regular shampoo for humans at home, but at a professional grooming shop they will use dog shampoo. Conditioner for dogs is available and ideal for dogs with long fur that tends to tangle or get matted. Mitts or other scrubbing tools can also be used during washing, and a fixture attachment for a sink or tub with an adjustable spray nozzle makes rinsing easier.
Aside from basic towels, a blow dryer or a standing dryer is useful for quickly and thoroughly drying dogs with long hair. Professional groomers often have larger standing dryers with latches and a leash to hold the dog in place during drying.
Combing and Brushing
A sturdy comb or brush is essential for dogs with long fur or dogs who shed a lot. A variety of brush and comb styles for dogs exist on the market. A shedding blade, which is used to remove dead or excess hair, not for cutting, is ideal for long-haired dogs. Short-haired dogs benefit from daily brushing as well.
Part of grooming dogs with long hair includes cutting or shaving the hair off with clippers, especially during hot weather. You can use scissors made for humans or especially for dogs. Dog scissors are usually larger than standard human hair cutting scissors, and sometimes they have a safety tip. Use an electric hair clipper or trimmer to shave the dog or trim hair to a certain length using various attachments. Don't attempt any scissoring or clipping without professional instruction.
Nail clippers for dogs come in two styles, standard and guillotine. Clipping a dog's nails is important because overgrown nails make it harder for them to walk and can cause injury to the pads of their paws. Get a groomer or vet to show you how to do this.
A professional dog groomer or vet may offer dental care services like tooth brushing. You can do it yourself, but not all dogs are cooperative, making it a challenge most owners avoid. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste made especially for dogs; never use human toothpaste on a dog.
Flea and Tick Prevention
Some flea and tick prevention treatments are applied topically, ideally immediately after washing and drying, when the dog is clean. Flea-killing sprays and flea-prevention collars are also available.
Cosmetic or Optional Additions
Perfumed sprays, ribbons, nail polish and even hair dye for dogs are some additions to a grooming routine; some groomers apply perfume, a kerchief or a ribbon as part of basic grooming but get an additional fee for other services.
After using grooming supplies, thoroughly wash and disinfect them, especially if you plan to use them on multiple dogs or in a professional capacity. Remove all hair from brushes, and use a pet-safe disinfectant, rubbing alcohol or Barbicide on supplies such as scissors, trimmers, nail clippers, brushes and combs.
Sheila Zahra began working as an editor and writer in 2004. She has edited full-length works of fiction and nonfiction, and has written articles and essays for academic and business clients. Zahra earned a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and creative writing from California State University, Long Beach, in 2006. She currently lives and works in Eugene, Oregon.