Home Grooming 101: Saving Money by Clipping Your Dog at Home
There are studies every year which highlight just how much we fork out to pay for our canine friends. One of the biggest expenses comes in the form of grooming. Sure, it’s unlikely to be a weekly occurrence, but when it does come around it costs the earth – usually because it takes the said professional hours and hours to get the job done.
Well, it’s now time to eradicate this cost once and for all and take matters into your own hands. It’s not going to be a process suitable for everyone, but grooming your dog at home can save you considerable amounts of money. It is going to eat into your time somewhat, but don’t forget that you are also eradicating the two-way journey to the grooming parlor so it’s not all bad news on this front.
Of course, grooming at home isn’t a small feat. It is daunting and we’d bet our bottom dollar that there are going to be some humorous results along the way. If you can master it, it can make life just much easier and more cost effective though.
Bearing this in mind, let’s answer some of the common questions associated with grooming your dog at home.
What equipment do you need to arm yourself with?
While there will be long-term savings with this approach, it goes without saying that there are some upfront costs to contend with. This all starts with the equipment itself.
On the plus side, the main piece of equipment isn’t going to cost the earth. Clippers are exceptionally cheap, and you don’t even need to turn to the products which are specifically designed for pet use. Our biggest piece of advice is to turn to some which are able to be sharpened, as this can extend their lifespan and obviously add to the “cheap-factor”.
In terms of other equipment, a sharp pair of scissors is pretty essential as well. You’ll tend to use this when you start work near your dog’s paws and ears, as clippers will just prove to be a little fiddly.
Some people might suggest that you need a specialist grooming table to help you along your way. While this can obviously help, let’s not forget that we’re trying to save money here. As such, any form of elevated table will do the trick – and this includes something as “normal” as the kitchen table. The only need-to-know fact is to use a non-slip mat on such surfaces, for obvious reasons. Additionally, if there’s anything that you can use to hold your dog with, that can be useful too.
If we dig even more granular, make sure you have plenty of treats on hand for obvious reasons.
How often should you groom your dog at home?
If there ever was a “how long is a piece of string” question, we’ve probably found it. In truth, there’s no right answer here and it all depends on your dog’s coat.
In those cases where his coat seems to be always growing, you’ll probably need to turn to the grooming table every 6-8 weeks. However, if you can at least brush your dog as much as possible, you can extend this frequency. The trick is to keep matting to an all-time low, as this is what will provide you with the biggest grooming obstacles.
You also need to consider the living environment. If you happen to live in a hot place, and your dog has a long coat, you need to ensure that the belly is clipped regularly so they can cool down quickly when they lay on the ground.
What steps can you take to improve your clipping technique?
As you will have probably deciphered through this page, there’s not really a one-fits-all approach to grooming at home. It largely depends on the dog, their coat and just their general personality.
Nevertheless, there are some standard tips which can help you get the most out of the process. Let’s now take a look at some of the best ways.
- Firstly, make sure that your dog is completely clean. Bathing a dog is difficult at the best of times, so we’d only recommend this step if he is truly dirty. If he does fall into this category though, tap into a decent shampoo and get all of the dirt out – it will make the grooming process so much easier. You’ll then have to wait for the fur to dry (which, suffice to say, can take hours and hours depending on your environment), before brushing the hair through to remove the snags.
- You should make sure you choose the correct time to use clippers and scissors. In relation to the former, make sure that you use them in the direction that the hair is growing; emphasizing long strokes. You should only turn to scissors to touch up certain areas of the coat, with the ears, face and legs being the most common places for trimming with them.
- On the subject of the face, the eyes will always need special attention. It might be advisable to turn to curved scissors if your dog is somewhat animated during the process, but just make sure that there is no hair overlapping their eyes which could impede their vision.
- The paws are something else which need specialized treatment. This time, you need to brush in the opposite direction which hair is growing, which will also help to get the hair out from between the toes. You should use a combination of clippers and scissors for this part.
- If you didn’t bathe your dog before grooming, make sure you do it at the end. This will wash away any excess hair and in short, just complete the job. Some owners will opt for a hosepipe, while others might put them in their own bath. It largely depends on your own circumstances (and also the size of the pet).
How should you take care of your clippers?
As we’ve already spoken about, one of the best ways to take care of your clippers and ultimately extend their usage is to sharpen them frequently. Unfortunately, the most effective way to have them sharpened is by visiting a professional, so this is an expense you should take into account.
The only other care-related piece of advice is to buy some clipper spray. The aim of this is to keep the blades clean and lubricated. If you can keep spraying the blades, particularly as they get hot, you’ll do them the world of good in terms of their lifespan.
Every time you finish using your clippers, use something like a toothbrush to get rid of all of the excess hair before then dousing with some more clipper spray.
What if your dog has a matted coat?
Unfortunately, not every grooming case is a simple one. Some dogs will matt much more than others, while if you don’t take regular care of their coat you are likely to run into matting problems as well.
The problem with matted coats is that clippers can prove to be really painful for your canine friend – so other options are advised.
Firstly, you should look to remove the matting. This is where you might need to invest in a specialized comb. On the most part, clippers will suffice though, so long as you use them on the shortest setting to remove all of those matts which are positioned near to the skin.
In some severe cases of matting you will need to take even more steps though. In these instances it’s not uncommon for a vet to provide a sedative which can make the experience a little more relaxing and less daunting for your pet.
All of this is further evidence why it is so important to regularly take care of your pet’s coat. Without this regular maintenance, matting becomes all the more common and as you can see, the steps involved are much more complex and time-consuming.
What if you are dealing with a nervous dog?
Another special-case scenario involves dogs which are nervous. As well as the dog’s feelings, they can be a threat to the groomer in these circumstances so care should always be taken.
Unsurprisingly, treats here are essential and you’ll probably need more than the average case. Another simple tip is to just keep the grooming sessions shorter than average – this can’t cover a long period by any stretch of the imagination.
The philosophy that two hands are better than one is applicable here as well; naturally, if you can have a willing partner to assist, it’s going to make the job all the more easier particularly as one of you can distract your dog.
Despite the difficulties, it’s worth mentioning that home grooming is still probably the best approach for nervous dogs. They will feel much more comfortable in their own environment, while they can also move at their own pace which isn’t necessarily the case if you opt for a commercial establishment.