ONCE YOU FINALLY GET THEM TO HOLD STILL, GROOMING WILL BRING YOU CLOSER THAN EVER.

Our pets trust us for so much. Shelter. Food. Squeaky toys. But get out a toothbrush or nail clippers and suddenly we’re the bad guys. Don’t feel bad. Grooming at home isn’t always easy, but it’s an important part of pet wellness. The good news is that it really is a great way to bond, if you do it slowly and carefully.


THE GUIDE TO AT-HOME GROOMING

TRAIN YOUR PET TO BE HANDLED

When should it happen?

As young as possible. If you rescued your pet as an adult, start weeks in advance of their first groom appointment so they’ll be ready.

How do you do it?

  • Get them used to touch — rub their belly, play with their paws, ears and carefully with their mouth
  • Let them sniff a grooming tool (brush, nail clipper), then give them a treat
  • Try touching the tool to your pet without using it, then give them a treat
  • Use the tool on your pet for a brief moment, then give them a treat
  • Let your pet go if they’re upset and give them a chance to calm down
  • Start again, and if they sit still for the grooming give them a treat
  • If your pets get aggressive at being touched, it’s time to call a trainer

Nutrisource GRAIN FREE RABBIT BITES DOG TREATS

Etta Says! SIT! TRAINING TREATS BACON RECIPE

BRUSH YOUR DOG OR CAT

When should it happen?

Every couple of days, no matter what kind of coat they have. For long-haired pets, brushing prevents painful mats from forming in their fur and causing problems like poor circulation and hot spots. For short-haired pets, brushing removes loose hair so they can better regulate their temperature plus it reduces itchiness.

How do you do it?

  • Find the right brush — long-haired pets need pin brushes, shorter-coated breeds need bristle brushes
  • Check for mats behind the ears and under the legs, use a dematting brush to remove them
  • Remove anything caught in their fur, like burrs and grass
  • Check out their skin for any abnormalities, like hot spots, irritations or growths
  • Build up to sessions that are about 15 minutes long
  • If your dog swims, be sure to always brush them out afterwards

FURminator DUAL GROOMING BRUSH

Kong Company ZOOM GROOM - BOYSENBERRY

TRIM YOUR DOG’S NAILS

When should it happen?

Every two weeks. And don’t worry about forgetting — once you hear them clicking on the floor, it’s time for a trim.

How do you do it?

  • Getting started is tricky, so follow our training rules above and check out this tutorial
  • Be aware of “the quick” — it’s the nerve and vein portion of the nail
  • If your pet’s nails are clear, you’ll be able to see this part of the nail
  • If the nails are black, proceed carefully and look at the nail tip straight on after each small clip
  • Once you see a pale oval appear in the tip, STOP — you’ve reached the vein and nerve
  • If you make a mistake and cut the nail vein, don’t panic. Use a pain-relieving powder product to stop the bleeding. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to go to the vet.

FURminator DOG NAIL CLIPPERS

BRUSH YOUR PET’S TEETH

When should it happen?

Two to three times per week. Don’t beat yourself up if the sessions are short, this is a tricky one. Again, build up over time and remember, dental care is so important for overall health that every little bit helps.

How do you do it?

  • Check out our full guide to brushing your pet’s teeth
  • Never use human toothpaste — it’s toxic for animals
  • Lure your dog or cat into opening their mouth with pet-friendly flavored toothpaste
  • Ease them in with toothpaste on a washcloth wrapped finger
  • Build up to using a real pet toothbrush

Wildsaint TOOTHBRUSH FOR DOGS

Wildsaint PLAQUE AWAY TOOTH GEL FOR DOGS AND CATS

DO TOUCH-UPS AS NEEDED

When should it happen?

Any old time that a full bath isn’t entirely necessary.

How do you do it?

  • Use a cleansing wipe to clean your pet up after outdoor play
  • Remove eye discharge with a little saline solution (the kind that people use on contacts is fine) and a flea comb

Wildsaint GROOMING AND CLEANSING LAVENDER WIPES FOR DOGS

Wildsaint TEAR STAIN REMOVAL UNDER EYE WIPE CANISTER FOR DOGS

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