Grooming your pets at home is part of making sure that they’re as healthy and happy as possible. Regular grooming at home is a must in between your pooch’s regular scheduled grooming appointment. This involves brushing them, cleaning their teeth, checking their ears, bathing them and clipping their nails. Although these tasks are relatively simple ones to do at home, it’s important to make sure that you have the right kinds of pet grooming supplies to use and that you consult your groomer for additional information that might be specific to your breed of dog, or your dog in particular. Otherwise, you could end up using a brush that could potentially damage your pet’s coat and skin or not effectively eliminate mats in your pets’ coats, or use shampoo or toothpaste that could bother your pets. Keep the following information in mind when you choose pet grooming supplies for your pets. First and foremost, never use human products on your pets without consulting either your groomer or veterinarian.
Brushes and Combs
Brushing your pet is essential to rid them of dead hair that can build up in their coats and make them look dull. This grooming task also eliminates mats and tangles or prevents them from forming in the first place. You should brush your dog on a regular basis in order to distribute your pet’s natural oils through their coats. These natural oils help their coats stay healthy and shiny. The frequency of brushing will vary depending on your the breed and length of hair of your pet. Your groomer can help you determine the necessary frequency to ensure healthy skin and coat care.
Types of Brushes and Combs
When it comes to choosing brushes for your pets, you’ll find that there are a few different types available. These include the following:
- Bristle brush: You can use these brushes on many types of coat, but it’s important to make sure you choose one that’s right for your pets. These brushes come in different bristle lengths and range from soft bristles to stiff ones. They also have a different amount of space between the bristles. Dogs with longer coats usually need ones that have a lot of space between the bristles and longer bristles. For longer coats, these brushes are only effective when brushing through your pet’s coat several times a week.
- Slicker brush: These brushes are covered with wire bristles that are highly effective at getting rid of tangled fur or mats and are the most popular brushes for use on pet coats rather than show coats
- Wire-pin brush: Some of these brushes have rubber tips, while others have bare tips. Wire-pin brushes are typically used on dogs that have medium or long coats or dogs that have thicker coats or curly ones.
- Rubber Curry or “Zoom Groom” brushes: These are rubber brushes with rows of rubber “teeth” or nubs that facilitate grabbing and removal of dead coat.
- Wide-toothed comb: These combs have teeth that are widely spaced and are typically made from metal or plastic. You can use these combs on any coat to get rid of dead hair, especially when your pets are shedding.
Please Note: Not all tools are created equally. Many of the less expensive tools actually cause micro damage to your pet’s skin and coet. The professionals at Dogone Fun can explain how and guide you in your tool selection.
Which Brush to Use with Different Coat Types
The kind of brush or brushes you’ll need for your pets depends on the type of coats they have.
- Short coats with short hair: For dogs with this type of coat, the most effective and safest to use is the rubber or “zoom groom” brush. You can also choose a bristle brush that has less space between bristles. The bristle brush you choose should also have bristles that are short and either soft or medium.
- Short coats with wiry hair: For dogs that have this kind of coat, you should use a slicker brush to get rid of mats and a bristle brush with firm bristles that have less space between them.
- Medium or long coats: For dogs with this type of coat, you should choose a wire-pin brush and a slicker brush to eliminate mats. You can also use a bristle brush that has long and soft or medium bristles that have more space between them.
- Thin coat: For dogs that have a thin coat, use a wire-pin brush and a slicker brush to get rid of tangles.
- Thick outer coat and a softer undercoat: For dogs with this type of coat, choose a bristle brush that has firm bristles that are longer and have more space between them. You should also use a slicker brush to prevent or get rid of mats. You can also use a wire-pin brush on this type of coat. There are also several types of undercoat rakes designed to help eliminate profuse undercoat. See your grooming professional for selection on proper use of these tools.
Before giving your pets a bath, gather the supplies you’ll need and have them nearby where you can easily reach them. If you’ve already picked out brushes and combs, keep those close, so you can brush and comb your pets before putting them in the bath. This gets rid of dead hair and mats, making it easier to shampoo your pets’ coats. You’ll also need your brushes and combs after your pets are done with their bath. Other pet grooming supplies for baths to have on hand include:
- Towels for drying your pets off after their bath
- Treats if they need to be coaxed over to the tub for their bath
- Shampoo to keep your pets’ coats looking clean and shiny
- Non-slip mat in the tub if you don’t have one already
Choosing Pet Shampoo
Pet shampoos are different from shampoos for people. When you’re choosing these products for your pets, make sure you get the pet friendly kind. Shampoos that are made for people shouldn’t be used on pets, since they can cause skin irritation. What kind of shampoo should you use? You’ll find a variety to choose from, including scented products and ones that are designed to provide specific results, such as whiter fur. Unfortunately, many pet shampoos and conditioners contain ingredients that are can create less than healthy conditions for your pet’s skin and coat, especially when used regularly. It is best to seek guidance from your pet professional when choosing these products. However, keep the following in mind when you’re choosing shampoo:
- Normal skin and hair: Dogs with no skin or hair problems or sensitivities can use regular dog shampoo.
- Puppies: Puppies usually have skin that’s more sensitive, so look for a mild, tearless shampoo, preferably made for puppies.
- Dry skin and hair: Dogs with dry skin and hair need shampoos that have a moisturizing effect. Look for shampoos with oatmeal to help soothe dry, irritated skin.
- Skin problems: Dogs with allergies, hot spots, fleas or other problems might need medicated shampoo to clear up these skin issues and ease symptoms or eliminate flea infestations. DO NOT USE THESE PRODUCTS WITHOUT PROFESSIONAL SUPERVISION.
- White coat: White coats can end up looking dull at times. Look for dog shampoos specially made for brightening white coats.
- Odor: Using dog shampoos that are scented can help prevent pet odor. Just keep in mind that you might want to avoid using these pet grooming supplies on dogs with sensitive skin.
- As a rule, find products that contain fewer ingredients and as natural or organic as possible.
Ear Cleaning Supplies
When you’re picking out pet grooming supplies, don’t overlook ear cleaning supplies. Keeping your pets’ ears clean on a regular basis helps lower the risk of ear infections, which can spread deeper inside the ear and lead to hearing problems. You should check your dogs’ ears for signs of infection regularly, such as wax build up, redness and odor. If you see your dogs scratching or rubbing their ears, this can also indicate an infection. Although all dogs should have their ears cleaned, keep in mind that dogs with floppy ears are more at risk of having debris build up in their ears than dogs with erect ears.
Choosing Ear Cleaning Supplies
You don’t need a lot of pet grooming supplies for cleaning your pet’s ears. In general, you’ll need to look for the following supplies:
- Cleaning solution: Cleaning solutions let you get to areas of the ear that are harder to reach. You can squirt drops of these solutions into the ear rather than sticking a pad or other cleaning items in it.
- Cleaning pads: Cleaning pads or cotton balls with a cleaning solution on them can be used to prevent or get rid of bacteria and other debris in the ear. When cleaning, don’t put anything deep into your dog’s ears. You should NEVER use a Q-tip or clean farther than what you can see with your own eyes.
Dogs remove food particles from their teeth when they chew and lick, but not all particles come off. That’s why it’s important to keep your dog’s teeth clean on a regular basis. Doing so reduces the risk of tooth problems and gum disease that can put your pet’s health at risk. Your pet’s teeth should be maintained a minimum of 3 times per week to be effective. When you’re choosing pet grooming supplies for teeth cleaning, keep the following in mind:
- Toothpaste: Look for toothpaste that’s made for dogs instead of getting human toothpaste, which can give dogs an upset stomach.
- Toothbrush: Dogs should have a toothbrush that’s designed for dogs rather than regular toothbrushes for people. Look for a toothbrush that’s the right size for your pet’s mouth. The bristles should be soft, so that they don’t hurt your pet’s gums, but they should also be firm enough to clean food particles off teeth and prevent plaque from building up.
- Dental toys and chews: For extra care for your pet’s teeth, look for dental toys and chews that are designed to clean off plaque and tartar.
- Dental sprays: Liquids formulated to help keep tartar under control.
Nail trimmers are pet grooming supplies that are also needed for a healthy, happy pet. Dogs with long nails can have trouble walking and can get their overgrown nails caught on fabric and other materials. All you need for caring for your pet’s nails is a set of nail trimmers. You should use these to trim your pet’s nails when they’re long enough to reach the floor.
Types of Nail Trimmers
When you’re choosing pet grooming supplies for nail care, you can pick from a few different types. The kind you get depends on how large your pet’s nails are and how thick they are.
- Scissor nail trimmers: These clip nails off just like a pair of scissors. Scissor nail trimmers are best for dogs with large, thick nails.
- Guillotine clippers: These hold the nail in place and clip off the tip. You can use this type of trimmer for dogs that are small or medium rather than larger dogs with bigger nails.
- Grinder tools: For bigger dogs with thicker nails, grinder tools are another option. These grind the tips of nails down a little at a time.
PLEASE, seek guidance and training from your pet professional prior to purchasing and using these tools. Used incorrectly can cause great pain and “fear” that can stay with a pet for it’s entire life.
Once you have all of the right pet grooming supplies for your pets, you can get started on grooming them in the comfort of your own home. If you run into any problems or need help with any of these tasks, keep in mind that you can bring your pets to professional pet groomers.