Tips To Groom Your Dog at Home and Save Up to $900 a Year – Newsweek
Any responsible pet owner would agree that taking care of your beloved pup is not exactly the cheapest of tasks.
Taking into consideration the costs of veterinary clinic visits, worming and flea treatments, as well as feeding and grooming, it’s only natural that dog owners may find it difficult to manage the expenses that go along with their companions.
But, unlike other necessary outgoings, grooming can be one of the easiest to cut from your monthly budget.
According to HomeGuide, the average cost of a full grooming service in the U.S. can amount up to $75 for large dogs and $40 for small dogs.
Although the American Kennel Club doesn’t specify the required frequency of grooming given how it usually depends on a dog’s size, breed and type of coat, some groomers recommend that pet owners bring their dog in for a professional grooming session once a month.
Based on the average grooming costs for a large dog, this could potentially amount to $900 per year.
Why is Grooming Necessary?
Still, grooming shouldn’t be avoided altogether. Not only does consistent grooming reduce the occurrence of matting and knots, it also ensures that the overall hygiene of your pup is well looked after.
A professional grooming session isn’t all about giving your pup a stylish haircut. It also typically involves brushing, bathing, drying, as well as trimming nails, cleaning ears, and tidying up the dog’s private parts too.
According to Chloe Smith, founder of Tuft, an app for booking and reviewing dog grooming appointments, the prices of grooming services have risen with inflation.
“The industry is a heavy consumer of electricity and water, the rising costs of both of these things will naturally increase the overall cost of the groom,” Smith told Newsweek. “Groomers also have to consider the equipment and products that are used in the salon—all of which will have been affected.”
If you’re conscious about the costs associated with grooming services, you may want to consider doing it yourself from the comfort of your own home.
Newsweek spoke to professional grooming experts, as well as dog owners who regularly tend to their dogs, and is happy to pass on the advice and insight.
What Equipment Does Grooming at Home Require?
Amy Perry, a self-employed personal trainer and content creator from Cardiff, Wales, told Newsweek that she had been grooming her Cockapoo named Teddy for almost two years, saving her roughly £35 ($43) a month.
“I started working in a dog grooming salon to eventually gain my grooming qualification,” she explained. “Unfortunately, I found out I am allergic to some breeds and started to come out in rashes everywhere so I had to leave.”
However, once she and her partner brought Teddy home, Perry started learning how to groom from YouTube and advice from other groomers. “It used to take me a whole day to fully groom him, now it only takes a few hours,” she shared.
According to Perry, the minimum tools needed for home grooming are brushes that suit your dog’s coat, as well as other necessities such as shampoo, nail clippers, round-edged scissors and a dryer.
Molly Bissantz, professional dog groomer and owner of Grooming By Molly in Boise, Idaho, told Newsweek that getting your hands on an undercoat rake should be a priority for any dog owner. For those looking to trim their dog’s hair, she recommended purchasing clippers no smaller than a number 5 (¼ inch) blade.
Tips For Grooming a Dog at Home
Although Bissantz is not a certified master dog groomer, she’s completed almost 200 hours of training in the past two years. As such, she recommends that dog owners receive hands-on training if possible to minimize the chances of accidentally injuring their dog while cutting its fur.
“The number one complication a do-it-yourself owner is going to experience is nicks and cuts,” she told Newsweek. “Not only is this painful for the dog and causes bleeding, but it can easily lead to infections.”
In Bissantz’s opinion, another important part of grooming a dog is taking the time to properly dry it after a bath.
“While it can be tedious, especially for long-haired dogs, it’s the most important,” she explained. As such, she advises against air-drying as this could lead to a dog’s undercoat becoming compacted and matted, in addition to running the risk of potential skin issues.
When it comes to double-coated dogs such as German Shepherds, Bissantz advises against shaving them. “I find this actually makes the undercoat grow in thicker and the dog sheds more,” she explained. “If you’ve ever seen a German Shepherd shed, you know you don’t want it shedding more than it already does!”
Things to Keep in Mind When Grooming a Dog at Home
Lindsey Warren, a professional groomer at UK-based mobile grooming service Lush Puppy, shared that grooming at home still requires basic knowledge of dog behavior and handling.
“One of the common complications in my experience has been pet owners who nervously attempt to cut their dogs nails and end up cutting the nerve which runs through the center of the nail,” Warren explained. “This results in the dogs being very fearful of having their feet and nails touched.”
From Perry’s experience, she highly recommends researching safety precautions before attempting to groom at home and ensuring that your pet is desensitized to all grooming equipment to ensure a more positive experience.
“Trust your gut,” she said. “If you don’t feel like you are comfortable and confident with grooming at home, then please stick with your professional groomer! It isn’t for everyone and that is absolutely fine.”
To ensure that your dog is comfortable with grooming, Perry suggests starting to groom them while they’re still puppies. “Start with introducing them to brushing and combing, then slowly introduce them to water,” she shared.
“I’ve had experiences where owners think they should wait until their dog is a year old to start grooming and by then the dog’s coat is one solid, pelted mass—and their first experience is painful,” Perry told Newsweek. “The dog then thinks grooming is an unpleasant experience, when for many dogs it’s actually the opposite.”