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The Most Common Dog Grooming Challenges and How to Fix Them

Small brown dog wrapped up in a towel with bubbles surrounding it. "The most common dog grooming challenges and how to fix them" title.

Just like us, dogs need to be groomed on a regular basis to be happy and healthy. Grooming pets help keep their coat healthy, allows you to check for any abnormalities like cuts, bruises, or abrasions, keeps them clear of ear infections, and removes the chance of contracting ticks or fleas. Grooming is one of the best ways you can show your pet that you care and want the best life for them.

However, there are some common grooming difficulties for dogs that you might encounter. Just like with people we need to watch out for these issues to make the grooming process as easy and helpful as possible. Here are the most common grooming mistakes for dogs, and our expert tips for overcoming dog grooming challenges.

Dog Grooming Challenges & Tips to Overcome Them

1. Failing to Groom Train

The number one mistake people make is not training their dog properly when it comes to grooming. Have you ever had a dog that freaked out every time you went near them with water or a brush?

Well, that’s probably because they were never trained to be groomed.

Dogs, unlike people, do not understand what you are telling them, that is why we train them to do things like pee outside and not sit on the couch. Just like training them to go for a walk, they need to be trained on how to act when it comes time for grooming. This can also minimize stress during the grooming process.

The best way to approach training them properly is to start off as young as possible. The minute you get a new dog you should begin training them on how to handle grooming time.

Start by touching them everywhere, the face, paws, belly, and tail. When you are bathing them or brushing them you are going to be touching them everywhere so they will need to get used to it.

Begin holding them the way you would while cutting their nails, giving them a bath, or brushing them. Do this without anything extra, just hold them. This will get them used to being held that way, so they don’t squirm or wiggle.

Introduce them to the sounds of the razor or clippers you are going to use, that way they don’t freak out when they hear it. Allow them to sniff and investigate all the tools you will be using, that way they will be familiar with them.

Lastly, reward constantly during training. Give them their favourite treat every time they do something you want, like sitting still in the bathtub. This will instill it in their minds as a good thing, not something to fear. Even after training it can be nice to give them a little treat every now and then.

2. Infrequent Grooming

The second most common mistake is infrequent grooming or not grooming at all. It can sometimes be difficult to find the time in our busy schedules to clip our dogs’ nails or give them a bath. But it is extremely important for their health that we are.

Dog with tongue out, wearing a shower cap, in a bathtub getting groomed.

Infrequent grooming can lead to dirt build up on and under the fur, long nails, matted fur, and the risk of infection in cuts and scrapes. Just like you, your dog likes to be clean, so leaving them ungroomed can make them upset and lead to health issues.

The easiest fix is to create a schedule. Whether you are grooming your dog yourself or hiring a groomer to do it, you need to have a regular schedule. However, you need to also keep in mind that different aspects of grooming need to be done more frequently than others, so make sure to put that in your schedule.

Finally, keep in mind that different breeds will also require different levels of grooming. For example, if your dog doesn’t shed, it will need regular haircuts and baths. You should look up the recommended frequency for your dog or ask your vet.

3. Improper Bathing

Bathing your dog is a big part of grooming. However, a big issue is that many dogs are either bathed too much or too little. If your dog is bathed too much it can lead to dry skin, remove natural oils, remove proteins in the fur, and ruin their coat. If your dog is not bathed enough it can lead to dirt buildup, matting, and infections.

An easy solution is to ensure that you are bathing your dog about once a month, or as needed. Once a month is typically a good timeline, as it removes harmful substances like dirt and grime, while also allowing their coat to stay healthy through natural oils and proteins.

However, if your dog is running around in the mud or getting dirty between regular bath times, go ahead and bathe them anyways. You should never leave your dog dirty, always bathe them right away after they get dirty, especially if they also get wet.

4. Infrequent Brushing

A major part of grooming is brushing; however, brushing is never done as often as it should be. Like humans’ dogs enjoy having their hair brushed as it makes it shiny and healthy. Without proper or frequent brushing dog fur can become matted, tangled, and lead to brush or razor burn during grooming. Regular brushing helps clear out old fur and make way for new healthy fur to grow.

White, fluffy dog laying on floor while getting brushed by owner.

You should be brushing your dog every other day. This ensures that there are no mats or that you remove them quickly. This also allows you to clear out dead hair. Dead hair can build up and create mats or get stuck in mats causing larger mats. During the hotter months, you can brush your dogs with more hair every day to ensure their coat is healthy and they aren’t overheating.

If you brush your dog regularly it can also help eliminate brush burn or razor burn. Brush burn and razor burn occur when you brush or shave over one area repeatedly in one session. This can be because there is a mat or because the hair is very thick due to the build of dead hair. This then causes irritation to the skin and can later cause bleeding or the skin to open. This is especially common in older dogs who have thinner skin.

5. Not Brushing Before and After Getting Wet

When it comes to brushing not only should you be doing it every other day, but you also need to do it before and after every bath. Not brushing your dog’s hair before bathing can cause mats to form due to the dead hair being trapped. Not brushing after the bath can also cause matting because the mats are not being brushed out.

Make brushing part of your bath time routine. Brush your dog’s hair before they get in the bath, similarly to how you may do it for yourself. Then after the bath is done, dry them off while also brushing them. Their hair does not need to be completely dry after every bath, just ensure it is properly brushed.

6. Clipping Nails Too Fast

Clipping a dog’s nails can often be the hardest part of dog grooming. They will run away, bark, cry, or freak out. So, many people try and get it done as quickly as possible. This is the wrong choice. Clipping your dog’s nails too quickly can cause you to cut them too short, or clip the blood vessel under their nail, which can lead to bleeding and pain.

Dog with tongue out, playing and laying on its back.

Take your time. There is no rush. If your dog’s nails are done properly there is no need to rush the process:

  • First, make sure you are using the correct nail clippers, the ones people use will not work for your dog.

  • Second, try not to cut them too short. Short is good, but too short can cause their blood vessels to either be clipped as well or leave it hanging out.

  • Next, hold them properly. If they are uncomfortable because you are holding them funny, then they are going to run away. Hold them so that both of you are comfortable.

  • Finally, if you don’t feel comfortable clipping them yourself, do not hesitate to hire a professional groomer. That’s what they do.

7. Using Dull Clippers

Would you shave with a dull razor? Most of you probably said no because that would hurt.

However, many people shave their dogs with dull razors or clippers. Just like any other blade, dog clippers get dull. However, most people forget this, either because they just don’t think of it or because they aren’t shaving their dog often enough. Dull clippers can lead to razor burn, cuts, infections, and ingrown hairs.

The best solution is to regularly check the sharpness of the blades or simply replace them. Some dog clippers allow you to remove just the blade and replace it, if yours does you should be doing this every month or so depending on how frequently you shave your dog. If your clippers do not do this, then simply replace the clippers, or invest in a set that allows you to replace the blades.

We hope this was helpful for anyone who needed grooming tips for their dogs. If you are interested in more dog-related content, please check out the rest of our blog page. If you are looking for an amazing and fun doggy daycare or top-notch grooming service, please give us a call or email today for more information.

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Jul 20, 2023
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