5 Simple Dog Grooming Tips

Dog bath
Dog bath
Bath Time at Home


You should NOT have to live with a matted, smelly dog… so I want to give you 5 SIMPLE GROOMING TIPS to help you maintain your pet’s appearance at home.

The cost of professional dog grooming is climbing.  Taking your dog to a groomer can be inconvenient and very expensive.

Here are 5 steps YOU can take to groom your dog without feeling anxious about the process.  You can BREAK FREE of the high cost and inconvenience of professional grooming!

The problem – pet owners feel that they lack time, money and skills to groom their dog

There are 3 common reasons why you are not grooming your dogs more often.

  1. You may feel that you don’t have time to brush your dog everyday.
  2. Not having the skills to do any scissoring or clipping.
  3. Perhaps not having the discretionary income necessary to spend with a professional dog groomer.

How much time are you wasting feeling like you are neglecting your dog?

How many fun times are you missing out on because you don’t want to take your dog out in public looking like he is dirty and matted?

Do you feel people are judging you because of the way your dog looks?  Are hiding in the house with your dog or only going out with him at night?

The pain and struggle ends today… YES you can have a dog that looks like a pampered show pet…

1. Brush the Coat

The purpose of brushing the coat consistently is to untangle matted hair and remove dirt and debris. This does not have to be done everyday. However, it needs to be done often enough to discover ticks, fleas and other pests during this process.  The proper brush or massage tool will help stimulate oil glands to bring out the shine in the hair coat.

Ask your groomer or breeder which tools are best to use on your dog’s coat.  I first brush Gusto’s double coat with a pin brush and then take a comb through it to remove any loose fur after the bath and blow dry.

Pin Brush to Remove Loose Fur

Removing dead fur alone makes a dramatic difference in the appearance of the coat and eliminates the need for frequent baths. You may find that your dog will not cooperate with you when you try to brush the belly, behind the ears and the rump.  If so, put your pet on a grooming table or a surface. Then you will better be able to control his body position and see the mats or extra fur that needs to be removed.

Loose Fur

By making a habit of wiping the paws and underbelly every time you come in from a walk, you will be conditioning your dog to automatically offer up these areas when he sees the towel.  Gusto has a habit of going to his treat cupboard after this routine and you may find small treat rewards will make your dog happy too.

2. Bath Time is Inevitable So Make It Fun

The most comical videos on social media are showing dogs doing everything they can to hide at bath time. They hide under the bed or run outside or pretend that they don’t hear you calling them or go totally limp when you try to pick them up.

If you want to have the freshest smelling dog with the least amount of struggle, make bath time a fun time.

You can start by rewarding your dog every time you approach the bath area.  Continue to spend time in this area either playing with a toy or rewarding with treats as you teach him to stand so that you can pick him up.  It is next to impossible to pick up a dog that struggles with resistance…lol.

Prepare Your Pet and Place

Put cotton in your dog’s ears to keep excess water out. This is also a good time to check for infections near the surface so that you can eliminate them early.  After bathing, use an alcohol-free, herbal formula that does not sting your dog but soothes and dries the ear canal as you remove dirt, odor and waxy build ups.  This is especially important if your dog has floppy ears  such as Labradors and Cocker Spaniels that hold moisture inside the ear flap and canal.

Dog and cat bath

If you don’t want to use your personal tub or shower, there are now portable tubs available that can be set up inside your own shower stall or can stand alone. If you don’t want to deal with clean up, then there may be a coin-operated self-wash dog laundramutt in your area that you can use.

Prepare the bath area by making sure the surface of the tub is not slippery. Have enough towels on hand to soak up the water from the coat once you are done with the bathing process.

Where to Start

You will want to use warm water so that your dog is less resistant to having water sprayed on him.

There is a difference of opinion about where to start spraying water on your pet.  I heard a veterinarian instruct a technician to start spraying the dog’s head first to drive any fleas back away from the face.

As a groomer, I was taught to start at the rear end to make the pet comfortable with the spray.  This also enabled me to soak the rear end under the tail with extra shampoo to remove stains and smelly odors while I moved forward on the body.

Use a Shampoo Formulated for Pets

Coin-Operated Pet Wash

It is important to select a shampoo that removes odors and leaves coats silky soft and shiny.

Canine skin is ph neutral so shampoo should be for dogs and not humans whose skin is more acidic. Although blue shampoo is sold for white coats, be careful that the blueing does not soak into your dog’s white coat.  This has happened with the wiry West Highland Terrier coat, much to the dismay of the bather who thought they were doing the right thing for the coat.

Trim Excess Fur

This is also a good time to take a round tipped scissor to trim any fur away from the corner of your dog’s eyes that is irritating the eyeball and causing it to tear.  If you have a Schnauzer or Bichon or other bearded breed, any stained fur around the muzzle can be carefully trimmed away at this time also unless you prefer to do this after the coat is dry.

Feel Your Pet’s Body

It is easier to see and feel your dog’s body to check for growths, pests, burrs, etc., when the coat is wet.

So now you have shampooed and rinsed your dog twice.  You may want to add conditioner to help with the final brushing.

Dry Carefully and Thoroughly

How you dry your dog depends on the length of the coat and the weather… Short coats can be dried with towels.  Longer coats will need towels and possibly a blow dryer which will blow out any loose fur and give the coat a beautiful finish as you brush. Commercial dryers are more efficient and are available for the home groomer at a reasonable price.

If you don’t want to have to clean up the flying fur at home, look for a coin-operated self-wash dog bath in your area.  They supply the water, the tub, the shampoo and conditioner and the blow dryer. You do the bathing, drying and quick clean up of the facility.

3. Soothe That Skin

You may have noticed your dog scratching or licking his skin. He may be scratching because he picked up a hitchhiker along the trail that needs to be removed…or he may be releasing fur during the Spring and Fall shedding season and just needs combed out again.

However, if your dog is licking a sore spot or hot spot you can apply a soothing mist that will help calm the skin with a combination of aloe vera gel, marigold, lavender and chamomile and zinc for healthier skin.

Check your dog’s paws for any cuts or abrasions.  There are paw emollients to keep the pads moist for better traction on slippery surfaces.

4. Dental Hygiene

Bully Sticks

No one likes to be kissed by a dog with bad breath. You may not want to have your dog’s teeth cleaned by a veterinarian because you don’t want him to be anesthetized…you’ve heard the horror stories and are fearful of tragic consequences.

So the best thing for you to do is practice prevention…just as you do when you brush your teeth everyday.

A few natural things that you can do include adding a spice such as cinnamon to your dog’s food.

I prefer to use a knobby finger brush over a long-handled toothbrush to gently massage the gums with a gel that I got from Gusto’s  holistic veterinarian.  Some people apply coconut oil or grapefruit seed extract along the teeth and gum line.

My veterinarian also gave me a liquid supplement that I can add to Gusto’s water.

Choose Your Pet’s Chews

Raw bones help abrade any tartar from the teeth.  These must be refrigerated when the dog is not chewing on them and the dog must be supervised while chewing on them so that they do not break their teeth or swallow a large chunk of bone. Hooves were once popular but were very difficult to chew.  Antlers do not need refrigeration. Your vet may sell enzymatic chews.  Avoid rawhide chews since dogs tend to swallow them whole and they create obstructions in the intestinal tract.

Contrary to marketing hype, dry food and treats do not provide the type of abrasion necessary to clean the teeth.

I do give Gusto a soft dental treat that contains probiotics.  He also loves his porky puffs, buffalo lungs and buffalo bully sticks.

If your dog has a short nose or teeth that do not meet properly then chewing bones may not help.


5. How to Have Happy, Healthy Paws

Check Your Dogs Paws

In order for your dog to have a better feel for the surface he is walking on that will result in better balance, be sure trim any fur from the bottom of the paws. You can use round nose scissors for this so that you don’t accidentally stab your dog in case he squirms. You will be able to prevent tar and debris from collecting between the toes by keeping this fur short.

Long Nails Can Cause Discomfort

Pet parents often struggle with trimming their dog’s nails out of fear of nipping the quick and causing the nail to bleed.  Don’t despair, even professionals can nip a black nail or a nail on a dog that is uncomfortable with the process. Styptic powder will quickly stop the bleeding…and if you don’t swoon with emotional pain, your dog will just jerk his paw away or squeal…but neither of you will likely die from a little blood.

I prefer to use an Oster dremel every week on Gusto’s nails to keep them shorter.  There are dremels with covers on them so when you insert the nail, the fur doesn’t wind around the sander also.

Before Bath and Brushing

Bonus Tip

Your dog has been brushed and bathed and smells great until the aroma of onions cooking on the stove adheres to his

After Bath and Brushing


Now, you can provide your dog with a relaxing massage with this Stainless Steel Odor Remover that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.  while also instantly neutralizing stubborn stinkiness. You can even use it to remove the lingering scents of onion, garlic and fish from your own hands, too.

I am happy to share with you where I purchase the products that I use.

I hope you found these tips useful.

Come back for more Miracle Living With Gusto!