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How to Groom a Dog

dog grooming
Everyone who handles dogs and has dog experience acknowledges that each dog may react differently to the grooming process. If you need to stop at any time during this process, some phases will be okay to stop, but others could jeopardize the dog's health. Therefore, you will have to be selective when picking a time to quit.

Grooming the dog can be done in one's home, inside a professional groomers or veterinary hospitals, or outside. For the dog owner, outside is generally a more convenient location to groom the dog since one does not have to clean the house after everything is done. If grooming outdoors then the fur and nail clippings can be swept into the grass to decompose and for the birds to use as nest material in the spring. If one is grooming the dog indoors proper disposal of the fur and nail clippings in the trash is critical.

 In every grooming facility the towels, brushes, and nail clippers used in the grooming will need cleaned in order to maintain a healthy environment and functional equipment for the next grooming session.


 Now you are ready to groom your dog! Before you get started, there are a couple definitions you need to know: Quick - the blood supply to a dog's nail. This is the tender, living flesh of the nail that allows the nail to grow. One can see this region in clear or transparent nails. Depending on the length of the dog's nails this region is closer or further away from the end of the nail. It appears as the red coloration and comes to a point correlating with the shape of the dogs nails.

Styptic Powder - a special coagulant powder commonly used during dog nail clipping if the nail's quick is clipped. The powder is useful to quickly stop the dog's nail from bleeding.


  •  Dog Shampoo
  •  Dog nail clippers
  •  Slicker brush
  •  Dog toothbrush
  •  Dog toothpaste
  •  Styptic Powder
  •  2 Large Towels
  •  Bristle Brush
  •  Comb
  •  Q-tips
  •  Veterinarian recommended Ear flush
  •  Cotton balls
 Additional Materials 

Dog Conditioner - This product is recommended for longhaired dogs. However, one can use on the dog to achieve a softer coat.

 Large Cup - If you are planning on bathing the dog in a bath tub, the large cup would be helpful to soak the fur, rinse near the dog's head, and to ensure that all the shampoo is out of the coat. Using this large volume of water allows for efficient bathing.

Rubber mat – The rubber mat is helpful for dogs on slippery surfaces during the bathing process to help keep their grip to avoid injury.

Another person – Another person can be helpful while bathing larger dog breeds or an energetic dog. In addition, another person might be required to restrain the dog as you clip their nails, brush their teeth, and even clean their ears.

Grooming Phases

Step 1 Clipping the Nails

       1.1 Open the styptic powder container to ensure that it is readily available in case the quick is cut and  the nail begins to bleed

      1.2 Lay the dog on its side. If needed, have another person restrain or hold the dog by positioning himself or herself along the dog's back, while holding down both the front legs and hind legs and positioning the dog's head behind their elbow.

      1.3 Position the clippers at a 45-degree angle at the end of the nail and moving towards the pads of the paw.

      1.4 Using the nail clippers, cut the nail just before the curve of the nail. This avoids cutting the quick and causing the nail to bleed. In transparent nails the quick is visible, so adjust accordingly.

      1.5 Repeat steps 3 through 5 for the other 17 nails on the front and back paws.

Step 2 Brushing the Teeth 

      2.1 Squeeze a small amount of the dog's toothpaste onto the dog's toothbrush.

      2.2 Gently press on the corners of the dog's mouth, towards the back molars, to force the dog's mouth to open.

       2.3 Once the dog's mouth is open, gently brush the dog's teeth with the toothbrush in a circular motion. After brushing there is no need to rinse the toothpaste from the teeth.

Step 3 Ear Cleaning 

      3.1 Saturate approximately six Q-tips and four cotton balls with V.M.D. recommended ear flush. Also, gather a handful of dry Q-tips and cotton balls.

      3.2 Squirt a small amount of ear flush in the dog's ears and rub the base of the dog's ears to break up any loose debris.

      3.3 Using a saturated Q-tip, swab the inside of the ear reaching all the curves and crevices.

      3.4 Repeat Step 3 two more times on the same ear.

      3.5 Take the saturated cotton ball and wipe the inside flap of the ear, removing any excess debris from the external ear region.

     3.6 Repeat steps 3 through 5 using the dry Q-tips and cotton balls.

     3.7 Repeat steps 1 through 6 for the other ear.

Step 4 Bathing 

      4.1 Remove the dog's collar.

      4.2 If desired, place the rubber mat on the bottom of the tub or wherever the dog will be groomed. This prevents the dog from slipping or injuring itself.

      4.3 Place the dog into the tub or onto the mat as the lukewarm water begins to fill the drain plugged tub.

      4.4 Using warm water and a large cup or showerhead, soak the dog's coat to the skin until completely saturated.

      4.5 Place the shampoo onto the dogs back and lather thoroughly.

      4.6 Rinse the coat thoroughly; making sure all shampoo residue has disappeared.

      4.7 If inside, place a large towel on the floor away from the bathing area. Drain the tub and move the dog from the bathing area onto the towel. If outside move the dog to a dry area and start to towel dry the dog.

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