It’s a good question! I originally posted this blog in 2020, in the midst of the Covid pandemic. At the time, dog groomers were not being classified as essential workers. Grooming salons that did remain open were often urging owners to forgo regular salon grooming, at least temporarily. What was an owner to do? Regular grooming is an important part of proper pet care. Is it worth it to learn to groom your dog at home?
What type of grooming does your dog require on a regular basis? Just a quick brush and a nail trim, or something more complex like a haircut? How familiar/comfortable are you, and your dog, with grooming tools? A person who is inexperienced with a specific tool, paired with a dog who may be unfamiliar, or even fearful, of said tool could be a recipe for disaster. Is your dog anxious, old, hyperactive, sick, or otherwise compromised in any way? Some dogs, more so than others, can really benefit by being groomed by someone with a steady, experienced, hand.
I’ve always been a proponent of owners being at least somewhat self-sufficient when it comes to their pets’ personal hygiene. Grooming our dogs on a regular basis can be an awesome way to spend some quality time with our pets. I joke that I groom my dogs myself because no professional groomer would spend as much time as I do stopping to rub their bellies. Nor would they tell them how handsome they are nearly as many times as I do.
It can be easy to miss medical issues that may lay hidden your dog’s fur. Especially if you have a long haired dog! Back when my papillon, Kitsune, broke his tail he never showed any signs of being in pain. I discovered his newly kinked tail tip during one of his regular weekly grooming sessions! Other things to look out for can include any new lumps and bumps, fleas and other parasites, new skin or fur abnormalities, hidden injuries, etc.
At the very least, brushing your dog on a regular basis is a great thing to do at home. A lot of dogs don’t enjoying having their teeth brushed at first, but dental health is really important, so getting some kind of dental care established at home is ideal too. If you, and/or your dog, aren’t ready to jump right to regular teeth brushing, consider at least offering healthy dental chews and perhaps using a dental spray while you work towards getting your canine pal used to his/her toothbrush. Depending on how often your dog needs to be bathed, doing that at home can be advantageous too. I tend to bathe my dogs at least once every other week. I’d personally hate to have to take them to the groomers that often.
I cut my dogs’ nails at home, but I totally understand why some owners choose not too. I’m pretty confident with a pair of nail clippers (and a nail dremel when it comes to Kitsune). I trim Kitsune’s hair at home too (and once in awhile the fur on the bottoms of Fen’s feet). But I had some experience with cutting dog’s hair even before I got Kitsune. I really enjoy grooming my dogs myself, but don’t recommend people who have never done it before jump right into giving their dog(s) home haircuts. At best, your first dog haircut will probably look pretty rough. At worst, wiggly dogs can be hurt by clipper blades wielded by inexperienced hands.
That will, of course, vary from person to person, and dog to dog. Grooming is important, but so is safety! If you’re not comfortable clipping your dog’s nails or hair at home, that’s ok. If you can’t get to a groomer, veterinarians usually offer basic grooming services such as nail trims and emergency haircuts (removing mats, etc.).
Do your best when it comes to grooming your pets. If something feels outside of your, or your dog’s, comfort zone don’t be afraid to call in the experts! Learning to groom your dog at home can be advantageous in so many ways, but don’t risk accidently hurting your dog if you’re not 100% comfortable grooming at home. Basic tasks such as bathing, brushing teeth, and brushing are easier to do at home. Things like clipping nails and haircuts can require a bit more skill, and present a bit more risk if you make a mistake.
Comment below – we always love to hear from our readers! Do you groom your dog at home normally, or take them to someone for grooming?