DIY Dog Grooming During Our Stay At Home Restrictions
Have you noticed your four-legged friend looking a bit wilder lately? Maybe you are finding more dog fluff and hair around the house than you had before.
Since the new Stay at home restrictions were put in place at the end of March, it is not just our hair that is starting to get out of control… our “fur babies” are taking it to a whole new level.
Our local dog groomers across the country are temporarily shut as they are not classed as an essential service and with our hairdressers shut too, it is time to start considering a bit of at home DIY.
When our Stay at home restrictions are lifted the first place we will go is to our trusted local dog groomer or if it will be your first time to visit, you can find a list of qualified groomers on the Irish Professional Dog Groomers Association website.
They have a nationwide directory and they also have a Facebook page where our amazing Irish dog groomers are starting to offer tips for at home grooming.
Dog Grooming at Home for Beginners
If your furry friend just needs a basic grooming – let’s call it a “Wash & Blow Dry” – there are some steps you can follow to help keep your dog’s coat under control, until a professional can give them a “Cut & Style” when they reopen.
If you feel you have a hair-raising issue on your hands, please do Not try to cut your pets coat yourself as you may cause damage to their coats or even accidentally nick their skin – Just think of them as being more cuddly for now!
You might also enjoy reading: How to take care of your puppy (Grooming and Handling)
The Basics – Handling and Grooming
If your dog is well acquainted with their local dog groomer, then your at home DIY which be much easier to approach, as they will be used to being handled.
A puppy or an adult dog that has not had a visit to a dog groomer yet, may be more of a challenge. The best way to establish a grooming routine is to create a positive association with it for your dog.
When your dog understands that being handled and groomed is a fun, positive experience you can both relax and enjoy this bonding time together.
Using a treat to reward your pet during the grooming process will create this positive association. A good tip is to use something they see as high value that they don’t get too often – maybe chicken for example.
This positive association will prove invaluable when you need to examine their paws / gums / ears as part of a regular at home health check.
A calm firm approach is best and of course please be gentle!
Start with your pet’s head and examine gums/teeth, then ears, then handle their paws (including nails).
Some breeds will be more resistant to your handling their paws then others (terriers have a particular dislike to their paws being touched) but gently persist, as it may be essential for you to examine their paws to help them, if they have an issue at a later stage.
You can of course use their favourite treat intermittently to reinforce a positive association.
Should I Bath My Dog?
Dogs produce oils that help keep their coats clean.
Brushing their coat regularly will help stimulate production of these oils so giving your dog a bath is not a requirement.
However, if they have decided to roll in something they think smells delightful (like foxes’ poo!) then a bath does become a requirement.
Preparation is key! So, for that emergency post fox poo roll, please ensure you have the correct items to bath your dog with:
- Dog Shampoo
- Fragrance Free pet Wipes
- Grooming brush (A double sided pin and soft bristle brush suits most coats).
You can order these pet care items online if you are not able to visit your local pet store, during the current restrictions and we discuss this in our recent article.
If the delivery time is too long you can use other household items, for example:
- A baby shampoo or a mild product like Sanex for sensitive skin.
- Baby wipes that are fragrance free.
It is also advisable to only give your dog a full head to toe bath if absolutely necessary. You can simply give them a tops and tails wash instead to only target where they need to be cleaned.
They must be fully towel dried after and finished with a hairdryer to avoid catching a cold. Please keep your hair dryer on a low setting as a high setting can be quite startling for them.
Always keep them indoors after a bath until they are fully dried.
Of course, the degree of grooming, bathing or cleaning depends on the type of coat your dog has.
Short-haired dogs, for example, terriers or beagles, generally need minimal bathing – regular brushing can take of most of their coat’s requirements.
Dense coats will need more attention. Old English Sheepdogs have a double coat which will require the assistance of a groomer to keep it maintained properly but brushing now while you are stuck at home together will help greatly.
There are also certain breed specific items to watch out for. Cocker Spaniels ears need regular cleaning to avoid ear infections developing, for example.
You might also enjoy reading: 5 Ways To Make Grooming Your Dog Fun And Easy
How To Bath My Dog
Brush out their coat first whilst it is still dry taking care to not pull at their skin. This will get rid of some of the dust and debris stuck in their coat.
If you find a knotted section that is difficult to brush and you have to use a scissors to cut it out. Always place your hand flat between their skin and the scissors to avoid nipping their skin by mistake.
The reason we brush out the coat first whilst it is still dry is to have the coat knot free before you use water and shampoo.
If you bath them without brushing first, any knots will tighten, and their coat can tangle whilst wet, which will make it nearly impossible to brush after and you may yourself at your local groomers when they reopen, asking for your pets coat to be shaved!
So, when you have their coat brushed through, wet the coat with warm water (starting over the back of their neck / shoulders and towards their tail).
Do not pour water over their head or near their ears. This will help keep them relaxed and it also a good idea to gently massage them as the water washes over them and you begin to add the shampoo.
- Use your fragrance free / sensitive baby wipes to clean their ears.
- Use cotton wool dampened with warm water to clean their eye area and always wipe in the direction away from their eyes to avoid infection.
So, when their coat is wet, massage in a coin size blob of dog shampoo and work it to a lather, rinse out most of it and then massage in a little more shampoo. When you are doing the final rinse, ensure you have washed out all residue of shampoo to avoid irritating the skin.
Remember to avoid going near their head throughout this process.
Once the shampoo is fully rinsed out, wrap them in a towel and then you can finish off drying their coat with a hairdryer.
Keep the hairdryer at a low setting and ensure the air is always blowing in a direction away from their heads.
Reward them with treats as you are bathing and drying them to create a positive association with the process.
Taking care of your pets basic grooming needs while your local dog groomer is temporarily closed, can be a lot of fun for both of you. The end result of a fluffy fresh fragranced dog is an added bonus.
Please share your Dog Grooming Questions with Us!
We would love to help any of you with specific questions about your pets grooming needs, so please share them with us in the Comments below.
We will ask our dog groomers on the IPDGA directory for their advice and include their replies in a “Dog Grooming at Home Q&A” in our next blog.
In the meantime, embrace your pet’s new fluffy coats and enjoy!