Dog Grooming For Beginners At Home: Dos and Don’ts

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Proper hygiene habits such as teeth brushing, ear cleaning, nail trimming, and fur trimming are essential for a healthy dog. While most dog breeds do not require daily grooming and hygiene, many dog breeds require regular and daily grooming such as Puli, Komondor, and Golden Retrievers.

When it comes to dog grooming, it is very common for many owners to visit their professional dog groomers, professional dog handlers, or veterinary technicians. The idea of using dog nail grinders or trimmers sounds scary.

However, there will be times when your local grooming office will close (either due to a pandemic or for other reasons) so it’s always useful to learn how to groom a dog at home. Below, we share dog grooming tips for beginners so that you can keep your canine friends looking sharp and clean in between grooming visits.

Dog Grooming at Home

Depending on your dog’s grooming needs and temperament, tackling dog grooming at home by yourself may be easier than you think! Let’s dive into the do’s and don’ts of dog grooming for beginners at home. If you’re ever in doubt or unsure if you’re grooming your pups correctly, feel free to consult with your dog’s breeder.

Your dog’s breeder will be a great source of information when it comes to your dog’s specific grooming needs. They should know how short your dog’s coat should be and the direction of the coat. With that said, let’s get to it.


Take your dog on a walk

You’re probably wondering why taking your dogs on a walk or giving them a good workout is important before grooming your pooch. The simple answer is that this will expend their energy so they will feel calmer and relax during the grooming session and make your job a lot easier.

It’s harder to groom dogs that are very active or full of energy. They will move around a lot or jump off the grooming tables which will disrupt the grooming session. You’ll also have to chase after them to continue the grooming sessions.

Use the right tools

It’s important to use the right tools when grooming your dog. Check with your professional dog groomer and jot down which professional dog grooming tools he or she uses.

You’ll also want to get the appropriate tools such as dog brushes, shampoos, dog blow dryers, DIY dog grooming tables, or even dog nail grinders. Using the wrong tools can be dangerous to your pups.

For instance, some owners prefer to use a dog nail clipper to trim their furry friend’s nails. However, using the nail clipper has a higher chance of clipping into your dog’s quick. This causes immediate bleeding and yelping from your pooch.

In essence, not using the right tool could negatively affect both you and your dog’s experience during the grooming process. They may associate grooming with a negative experience. If your dog’s quick bleeds from nail trimming, there are several ways to stop a dog’s nail from bleeding, including using styptic powder.

Lastly, be sure you have the proper DIY dog grooming table with a grooming arm to hold your furry friend in place.

Use the right brush intended for your dog’s coat

If you have a short-haired breed such as Chihuahua, Beagle, or German Shepherd use a bristle brush. If you have a long-haired breed such as American Eskimo, Bernese Mountain or Shih Tzu, then sleeker types of brushes are best. Before you purchase the brush, check with your professional groomer, veterinarian, and breeder to make sure you’re buying the right one.

Brush Coat Every 2-7 Days Depending on Breed

Depending on the length of your dog’s hair, the amount of brushing needed varies. For example, if you have short-haired dogs, they don’t need to be brushed often. Brushing them once a week does the trick of getting rid of their dead skin cells and hair. If you have long-haired dogs, brushing every 3-4 days is crucial because it will prevent matting.

Brushing your dog’s coat helps to spread natural oils over her hair and creates a shiny coat. In addition, consistent brushing will remove dirt deep in the coat and controls the shedding. After brushing, if the coat is a bit long, you’ll want to use a dog clipper to trim down the coat. You should also brush your dog’s coat before bathing her. If your dogs wear a collar, you’ll want to adjust their collar after brushing.

diy dog grooming

Use a damp towel

After brushing your dog’s coat, use a damp towel to wipe away any outdoor debris, dirt, mud, and pine needles from your dog’s coat.

dog grooming at home service damp towel

Check your dog daily for ticks during tick season

Especially during tick season, it is crucial to check your dog every day to see if she has ticks on her. To learn the safest method to remove ticks from your dog, schedule a time with your veterinarian and ask him or her for safe ticks removal instructions. To remove the ticks, many dog owners choose to go with TickCheck Premium Stainless Steel Tick Remover Kit. If you prefer that your groomer removes the ticks, that is also another option. Please note that the sooner the ticks are removed from your dog, the better.

Check your dog’s paw pads

It’s important to check your dog’s paw pad regularly to make sure they are clean and the excessive hair between your dog’s toes is trimmed. The hair should be even with the paw pads or even slightly shorter. Please do this carefully to avoid cutting your dog. If you’ve never done this before, we advise going to your groomer, vet staff, or breeder first.

Once they’ve taught you the proper procedures, you’ll want to get small, blunt-edged scissors or a small, narrow clipper blade in order to trim dog’s hair. If the hair isn’t trimmed for a while, it could become matted.

Check to make sure your dog’s paw pads aren’t dry, cracked, or injured. Not only do paw pads provide dogs with support and traction, but they also act as shock absorption for the dog’s bones, tendons, and ligaments. A dry or cracked pad can be very painful for your dog and can be a crucial indicator of your dog’s overall health.

Trim nails every 2-4 weeks

teacup chihuahua trim nails use the right tools

If you’ve never trimmed your dog’s nails or do not feel comfortable doing it on your own just yet, don’t worry. We advise that you visit your groomer or vet first in order to learn how to properly and safely trim your dog’s nails. While many owners will use a dog nail clipper, some owners prefer a rotary trimmer or a dog nail grinder as a safer alternative to the clipper.

Please note that a rotary trimmer or a dog nail grinder takes more time than using a dog nail clipper. Dog nail grinder also requires that you train your furry friend to tolerate this nail trimming method. If your dog’s nails are sharp but not long, you can use either a file or the nail grinder to smooth out the nails.

Regardless of which tool you use, always allow your dog to sniff the tool first before using it. You can also have him touch the tool to get used to it. It is true that while some dogs’ nails will naturally reduce themselves when they walk on hard surfaces like concrete or pavement, others do require frequent trimming. 

Always have styptic powder next to you

Whether this is your first time trimming your dog’s nail or the fifth, always make sure you have styptic powder near you to stop a dog’s nail from bleeding if you cut the nail too short. The styptic powder is an antiseptic clotting agent that many pet groomers and veterinarians keep on hand during pet grooming. The powder stops the bleeding by contracting the blood vessels.

It is best to trim your dog’s nails regularly in order to keep both the nail and the quick (nerves and blood vessels inside the nail) from growing too long. Keep the quick of the nail short to decrease the chances of cutting it when you are trimming your dog’s nail. Long nails have long quick. When you trim long nails, you could accidentally cut into the quick as well. If you have a dog that has dark toenails, it can be hard to identify where the quick ends. We recommend that you seek guidance from your veterinarian first before attempting to cut dark nails on your own.

Clean and trim the hair covering your dog’s eyes

If your dog has hair covering her eyes, it’s best to clean the hair with a damp cloth and keep the hair trimmed. When you’re trimming the hair, make sure it doesn’t fall into your furry friend’s eyes. This could irritate them.

Wipe the inside of your dog’s ears weekly

Every week, you should use a moist cotton ball or soft cloth to wipe the inside of your dog’s ears. This helps prevent painful infections. Dogs with long ears are more prone to infections. While you’re wiping the inside of your dog’s ear, look and smell each ear and ear canal. If there’s severe redness, swelling, debris, discharge (brown or yellow), or a yeasty odor, it could be a sign of infection. Schedule a visit with your veterinarian right away. After your dog finishes her bath or swim, thoroughly dry each ear to avoid the accumulation of moisture.

learn dog grooming yellow lab

Brush your dog’s teeth daily or 1-2 times per week

While it sounds crazy and we understand it’s a job most owners dread, brushing your dog’s teeth every day is best because plaque builds up after 48 hours. Instead of brushing every day, many owners will resort to brushing their dog’s teeth at least a few times every week. There are several ways to brush your dog’s teeth.

Use a dog specific dental kit

Dog’s toothbrush has softer bristles and is angled appropriately to making brushing easier. If it’s difficult to use a dog toothbrush at first, you can wrap your finger with gauze or a washcloth and wipe the teeth and massage the gums. Then follow that with a reward.

After you do that, you can begin to do short cleaning sessions with a brush. Slowly build up the length of time after each session. Dental hygiene is important because it helps to avoid health issues such as heart disease and kidney disease. From an early age, set up a habit with your puppy to have her teeth cleaned regularly. This way, your furry friend has healthy teeth and it also saves you from costly dental work as your dog ages.

Bathe once per month

Although bathing is no fun for either you or your dog, it’s essential to keep his coat clean. Try not to bathe her more than this because you may risk drying out her skin. The only exception is if your dog was rolling in mud or dirty water and came home with a foul odor. Use a lot of treats and praise when bathing your dog.

Use veterinarian-approved hygiene products

The products we suggest and recommend are based on reviews from many happy dog owners.


Don’t use human hygiene products

If you have perfume, shampoo, conditioner, or toothpaste that is meant for human use, do not use them on your dog. Some products such as human toothpaste contain chemicals such as xylitol that are toxic to dogs.

human toothpaste toms of maine toothpaste

Don’t clip dog’s nails unless you’ve learned proper technique

Make sure you feel comfortable clipping your furry friend’s nails, have a proper nail clipper or a rotary trimmer, and styptic powder should there be bleeding. Remember, if you clip too short, it can be very painful to your dog in addition to the bleeding.

Don’t treat dog’s injuries or wounds yourself

No matter what type of injuries or wounds your dog has, it is best to call or schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Don’t shave dog’s hair without proper training

Unless you’ve been properly trained and have the right grooming tools and knowledge to safely groom the sensitive areas of your breed, it is always best to learn from your grooming professionals first.

Don’t cut mats out of dog’s coat yourself

Instead of reaching for the scissors, the best way to remove a mat from your dog’s coat is to use your fingers. Place your fingers between the mats and your dog’s skin. Dab a bit of dog conditioner to help brush the clumps out easier. This way, when you’re brushing it out little by little, you’re not yanking on the furs and pulling on her skin. Get different types of combs (whether wide or fine-tooth depending on the breed). Have patience. This process will take a lot of time.

Don’t spray non-veterinarian approved scents

dolce gabbana perfume prada perfume

If you have perfume in the house, avoid spraying it when your dog is around you. Many human products contain ingredients that are dangerous for dogs. Not only are dogs more sensitive to fragrance than humans, but also if you have sensitive dogs, the fragrances from the perfume could cause respiratory problems.

Don’t bathe dog outdoor in cool or cold temperatures

Bathing your dog outdoor in cool or cold temperatures can be dangerous because it could cause your dog’s body temperature to drastically drop.

Don’t remove foreign objects from dog’s eyes yourself

Whether during grooming on in general, if you notice anything in your dog’s eyes, nose, ears, mouth, or paw pads, call and consult your veterinarian first. If you’re not trained yet, do not attempt to remove them yourself as you could make it worse.

Don’t express your dog’s anal gland yourself

If you notice symptoms of your dog’s anal gland problem, contact your veterinarian or groomer for help. If you’d like to learn to do it yourself, your veterinarian can train you in the correct way to do so.

Keep the Kwik Stop Styptic Powder nearby whenever you’re trimming your dog’s nail. If you accidentally cut your dog’s nail too short or accidentally cut into the quick part of your dog’s nail, the styptic powder helps stop the bleeding quickly.

Kwik Stop Styptic Powder Key Features:

  • Styptic powder stops bleeding quickly caused by clipping nails
  • With pain relieving benzocaine

What customers are saying:  


✅ Many owners of this product were happy that they had this styptic powder nearby when they accidentally clip their dog’s nail too short. As soon as they applied it, the bleeding stopped.

✅ Some owners noted that nothing worked as well as Kwik Stop. They pointed out that there is a numbing agent, which eases the pain of quicked nails. They noted that just a tiny pinch of the powder stops the bleeding instantly.

✅ Owners recommended that this is the solution when accidentally clipping the dog’s nail too short. As soon as they apply some powder on the nail, they could immediately see the pain leaving their puppy’s face and the pup was visibly relaxed. Due to this experience, they will always have this powder on-hand when clipping any of their dogs.


❌ A few customers advised avoiding putting this powder near metals as it causes metals to dull and rust. So it’s a good idea to avoid contact with sharp grooming equipment such as shears and clipper blades!

The Conair Bristle Brush is great for dogs with short and curly coats. It contains 50% natural boar and 50% synthetic bristles that allow for easy brushing and helps distribute oils in your dog’s coat. After brushing your dog’s coat, it will be easier for you to trim or wash.

Conair Bristle Brush Key Features:

  • The brush contains 50% natural boar and 50% synthetic bristles allowing easy brushing through short and curly coats
  • Fits perfectly in the palm of your hand
  • Durable and great for at-home grooming

What customers are saying:  


✅ Many owners are happy with this pet groomer tool. They said the brush does a wonderful job of pulling away loose hair and dry skin from their dogs and their dogs love whenever the owners brush them with this brush.

✅ Owners noted that this brush is not too hard and not too soft. It is coarse enough to brush their dogs without any discomfort to the skin.

✅ A lot of owners said they were happy with the design of this brush because it fits perfectly in their hands. It also rests securely in the palm of their hand for greater control during brushing and feels like they’re stroking their dogs.


❌ While many owners say that this brush is the perfect size for their hands, a few customers noted that this brush is smaller than they expected.

The TickCheck Premium Tick Remover Kit comes with a stainless steel tick remover and a specially shaped super fine tip tweezer for removing nymphs and small deer ticks. A great feature of this kit is that it comes with a free tick identification card so that you can easily identify the most common species of ticks in the United States. The maker of this product, TickCheck, supports Lyme disease research and a portion of their proceeds from this product helps fund university research on ticks and Lyme disease.

TickCheck Premium Tick Remover Kit Key Features:

  • Kit includes a stainless steel tick remover which removes large embedded ticks and a specially shaped super fine tip tweezer to remove nymphs and small deer ticks
  • Tick remover and tip tweezer are field-tested and safely removes adult and nymph ticks from dogs
  • Kit comes with a tick identification card to identify the most common species of ticks in the United States
  • Small convenient leather pouch allows easy storage in your first aid kit, car, or backpack

What customers are saying:  


✅ Many owners love that this product is high quality. They noted that both tools in the kit are stainless steel and have nice finished points.

✅ A lot of the owners noted that they like how easy it is to fit this leather case in their shirt pocket so that they can easily carry it with them when they head outdoors with their dogs.

✅ A few owners of this product reminded us of why the right tools are important when removing ticks. If you use the wrong tool, it could accidentally rip off the body of the tick while the head of the tick is still under the skin.

✅ Some owners said the leather pouch material is tough and sturdy. You can feel confident that the tools will be secure inside the pouch. enough to be tossed into a camping bag until you need it.


❌ The customers that reviewed this product said everything is great except that the tick identification card did not fit into the leather pouch. They said it would’ve been nice to have the card included inside the pouch.

The ergonomically-designed BOSHEL Dog Nail Clippers are recommended by many professional pet groomers and veterinarians. The high-quality 3.5 mm thick stainless steel sharp blade dog nail trimmer is both easy to use and powerful enough to trim your dog’s nail in just one cut.

The ergonomic non-slip handles stay safely in your hands for ease of use and prevent any accidental nicks and cuts. Trimming your dog’s nails will now be stress-free, smooth, and quick. The dog trimmer features a safety stop blade, which helps to reduce the risk of cutting the nails too short or accidentally cutting into the quick.

If your dog’s nails are too sharp after you trim them, the clipper also comes with a mini nail file to file the sharp nails.

BOSHEL Dog Nail Clippers Key Features:

  • Durable and will sharp for many years
  • Stress-free, smooth, and quick cuts
  • User-friendly non-slip ergonomic handles for easy grip while trimming your dog’s nail
  • Clipper is outfitted with a safety stop blade to reduce the risk of cutting nails too short or cutting into the quick
  • Includes a mini nail file to file sharp nails after clipping or trimming the nails

What customers are saying:  


✅ Many dog owners were happy with this dog trimmer. It cuts through their dog’s nails without effort and does not cause the nails to split. With the nail guard, they didn’t have to worry about cutting into the quick.

✅ Some owners advised that if the nails are long, don’t try to cut the nail short in one go. Cut a little bit off each week to let the quick recede. They said this product made their life easier and best of all, their dogs don’t mind getting the nails clipped because it is a painless process.

✅ A lot of the owners of this product were first time users. They were nervous to use the clipper at first but when they did, they felt relieved. The clippers worked beautifully for them.


❌ A few customers said their experience wasn’t due to the clipper itself but that they were first-time users and were nervous or it was their dogs’ first time seeing the clipper and was unfamiliar with it. They did say that it will take time for both owners and dogs to get familiar with it. Overall, they were happy with the clipper.

The Arm and Hammer Dental Care Toothpaste is gentle yet effective in maintaining your dog’s oral hygiene. The toothpaste is made with natural ingredients so your dog will love the flavor such as chicken or beef while maintaining good dental health.

Using the dental kit will help to reduce tartar buildup, clean your dog’s teeth, and eliminate bad breath. If you’re a first-time brusher, wrap gauze or washcloth around your finger. Then, put a small amount of toothpaste on it and invite your dog to lick it off. This way, she will get familiar with it. Next, slowly progress to rubbing your finger (wrapped with gauze or washcloth) along your dog’s gum line and teeth.

Arm and Hammer Dental Care Key Features:

  • Comes in 1 Pack, 2 Pack and Puppy Training Kit
  • Available style: Fresh Breath – Chicken, Tartar Control – Beef, Fresh Breath – Vanilla Ginger, Gum Health – Chicken, Tartar Control – Banana Mint
  • The dental kit is safe, gentle, and suitable for all dogs and puppies

What customers are saying:  


✅ The majority of the owners said they were first-time brushers. After using this dental kit on their dog’s teeth and gum and realizing how easy it is, they highly recommended this dental kit for first-timers.

✅ Many owners advised starting slow and slowly introducing the toothpaste and brush. The whole process will take a few days and it is best to be patient. After using the dental kit for a week, they noticed the difference in their dog’s breath and teeth.

✅ Some owners were happily surprised that the toothpaste actually whitens their dog’s teeth. Although the owners were not a fan of the flavor smell, their dogs loved the flavor.

✅ Owners also noticed that the finger brush works best over the toothbrush, but this is a matter of preferences than the product itself.


❌ 1-2 customers said either their dogs loved the toothpaste and hated the brush or loved the brush and hated the toothpaste. It’s all a matter of their dog’s preference.

It is important to use a shampoo specifically for dogs. If your dog has parasitic, fungal, or bacterial infections leading to skin scaling, the Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Medicated Dog Shampoo is the perfect solution. The veterinary-grade ingredients in this shampoo work fast to help relieve itchy inflamed scalp, waxy skin, skin rashes, and flaky skin caused by seborrhea, parasitic, and bacterial infections. It also contains colloidal oatmeal and allantoin which hydrates your dog’s skin and promotes healing.

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiparasitic & Antiseborrheic Medicated Dog Shampoo Key Features:

  • Medicated antiparasitic and antiseborrheic shampoo for dogs over 12 weeks of age
  • Paraben, dye, and soap free
  • Safely treat fungal and bacterial skin infections, skin scaling caused by seborrhea, and parasitic infections like mange
  • The pH balanced treatment is ideal for your dog’s sensitive skin.
  • Great for pets with sensitive, allergic and yeasty skin

What customers are saying:  


✅ Many owners were happy with this product. They used this shampoo for their dogs that have scabies, dandruff, and skin issues and they see the difference because the skin looks healthier and better.

✅ A lot of owners also said the shampoo saved them from a trip to the vet and is a lifesaver because it provided their dogs with relief and healing from itchy skin. Overall, their dogs were happier after using it.

✅ A few owners said if your dog has mange, then this is the product you need.


❌ A few customers complained about the strong smell of the shampoo. It has a medicine-like smell. Other than the smell, they love the shampoo itself because the skin and coat cleared up. The product itself worked like magic, despite the smell.

The Wahl Bravura Clippers are lightweight and include an adjustable 5-in-1 blade to give owners the convenience of grooming their dog’s coat at home. The 5-in-1 blade adjusts between sizes #9, 10, 15, 30, and 40, which offers a convenient variety of cutting lengths.

The durable clipper is made in Hungary and the blades are made in Germany. You can use it on all dog breeds. With the cleaning brush that’s included, you can remove loose hair and build up from your blades. You could also use a pipe cleaner or index card to clean between the blade after clipping your dog.

Wahl Bravura Clippers Key Features:

  • The rechargeable lithium-ion battery has a 90-minute cordless run time of cool running, low vibration, and quiet operation
  • The battery recharges in just 60 minutes or simply plug in the cord and continue to clip your dog
  • Clipper is 7 inches long, weighs 8.8 ounces
  • Includes Wahl’s one-year limited professional warranty
  • Bravura clipper is made in Hungary; the blades are made in Germany
  • Made for use in electrical outlets in the United States only
  • Includes one Bravura clipper, 5-in-1 fine blade set, 6 plastic attachment guide combs, cleaning brush, blade oil, instruction book, charge stand and charger, and soft storage case

What customers are saying:  


✅ Many owners who are also professional groomers said that this pet groomer tool is the most used grooming tool they own. They love the multi-setting blades because it allows them to perfectly shave their dog’s paw pads, face, and more.

✅ Dog owners said this is one of the best professional dog groomer clippers they’ve used. It has a very quiet motor and does not create a ton of vibration that will upset an anxious or nervous dog. This quiet product is perfect because it doesn’t scare dogs away before and during use.


❌ A customer did note that the blades needed to be replaced after 6 months, but that is understandable after using them for that long.

DogLeashPro is here to help dog owners adapt to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We will answer your questions regarding dog grooming and training tips during COVID-19 on our website.