5 Dog Grooming Tips for Families

DIY for Family Fun and Bonding

Keeping our dogs regularly groomed is essential to their health and cleanliness. It can also be a fun (wet) bonding experience for children and dogs.

If you have concerns about your bathroom becoming soaked during a dog bath, take the party outside. Just remember to keep skittish dogs on a leash so that you can easily calm any anxiety and prevent your pooch from continuously darting away (although children might find a game of chase entertaining).

Dog with boy

1. Buy a Good Dog Brush

Not all brushes are the same nor should you use the same type of brush on every dog breed. To avoid scratching your dog’s skin or tugging too hard on his fur (for the long-haired breeds), choose a dog brush specifically for your pooch.

Long-haired dogs should use a brush with wider-spaced bristles to help eliminate matted hair. Short-haired breeds should use a brush with tighter-spaced, soft bristles. Dogs with a thick coat may require a brush to tackle the undercoat.

2. Brush Your Dog Daily

The best way to teach your dog to enjoy being groomed is to begin brushing him daily at a young age.

As he grows accustomed to being brushed, he'll also become more cooperative with being groomed and may even look forward to the activity. It’s also a good way to help your children bond with the family dog and take some responsibility in caring for him.

Dog in bath

3. Choose a Doggy Shampoo

There is a wide variety of dog shampoos available today — perhaps as many as there are for children. Shampoos that are scented, allergen-free, organic, made for sensitive skin, even specially formulated to remove tear or drool stains.

You can shop for dog shampoos online, at your vet hospital and retail pet stores as well as stores like Target and Walmart, and local feed and seed stores.

When bathing your dog, make sure to direct your children to avoid getting shampoo in the dog’s eyes as some shampoos can sting or irritate.

4. Watch the Water Temperature

Dogs have sensitive skin, too; hot water can scald them, on their ears, nose, belly, and on the pads of their feet. Make sure to use lukewarm water when bathing your dog.

If you're giving your dog a bath outside on a hot day, make sure to run the hose water for a few minutes to flush out any sitting water that has been heated inside the hose.

5. Have Plenty of Towels on Hand

If you're bathing your dog indoors, make sure to have several towels readily available.

Place one towel on the floor outside the tub or shower so your dog has a safe, non-slip area on which to stand (and drip).

Use another towel immediately after the water is turned off to shield yourself — or your dog — when he shakes off. Depending on your dog's type of fur, a third towel may be needed for a final rub down to remove excess water. Don't forget to dry the pads of his paws so he doesn't slip on his way out of the bathroom.

One last suggestion: Reward your dog with a healthy treat for being a good sport.