How to groom your dog on your own

Drop your vanities about their looks, and make keeping them safe and healthy your priority

Pets need our help to make them look and smell their best, but most owners trapped in quarantine aren’t experienced groomers. Regardless, if you’re physically able and you have the means, proper pet care shouldn’t fall by the wayside just because you’re stuck at home. 

It is important first to understand the level of grooming pets would need to help them feel better. Wildlife veterinarian and TopBreed ambassador Dr. Nielsen Donato says there are long-haired breeds that need more frequent grooming. Dogs with long ears also need more frequent ear cleaning compared to those with erect ears.

From nail trims to bath time, here are some ways you can keep your pet’s appearances up.

Check claws regularly

Dogs should always walk on their paw pads, so if their nails touch the ground when standing, they definitely need some attention. 

File with a canine nail grinder or emery board (widely available from pet stores and online shops). Unless you’ve been trained to use nail clippers, they are best left for professionals.

Practice proper dog bathing habits

Since the Philippines is a tropical country, the heat can sometimes get harsh. This can lead to dogs’ glands secreting too much oil, which makes them feel uncomfortable. 

Dr. Nielsen Donato

To check on this, one can stroke their dog’s fur and see if there is dust clinging onto it. If such is the case, bathing them once a week with warm water can do the trick. If your dog is of a bigger breed and is prone to heatstroke, bathe them with cooler water instead. 

Donato says the ideal time to bathe your dogs is in the morning, from 9 to 10 a.m. Regular baths should last for about 15 to 20 minutes—starting from the shoulders, then slowly moving on to the back. 

For the head, it is good to use a wet towel or a sponge. Apply shampoo with slow, gentle strokes, making sure to keep shampoo from getting into pets’ eyes. Dogs with erect ears may feel irritated when water gets inside their ears.

And don’t forget to choose the right dog shampoo—veer away from those with strong scents. A good option is TopBreed’s ShamPooch, which has a mild citrus lavender scent that pets will surely love. Made from organic ingredients, ShamPooch has madre de cacao and neem extracts that have antibacterial and antiparasitic properties, organic glycerin that helps moisturize and nourish their skin, and organic keratin that protects the smoothness of the dog coat.

Dry with a soft towel

It is best not to leave your dog outside to air dry as it will likely end up rolling around in grass or dirt. Instead, rub your dog down with a towel to remove excess water. If they are comfortable with a dryer, it will help to do the job quickly and thoroughly. Don’t use full heat, keep the dryer on low and move air around to lift and separate hair. 

Finish by combing through the coat to ensure all dead hair and tangles are removed.

Let pets get used to their owners grooming them

When fur parents start doing the grooming on their own, pets may somehow find it unusual. But similar to any methods of pet training, owners can practice positive reinforcement on their furry friends before their regular grooming session.

Try giving them treats when they follow through the bathing area, but if the nervousness of pets persists, it is best to consult with a veterinarian or a trusted pet groomer.

While it can be exciting to unlock new skill and learn how to groom a pet on their own, pet owners might find some parts of the grooming routine daunting. When in doubt, it is best to entrust complex tasks such as nail trimming and oral grooming to the experts to ensure safety.

TopBreed is a pet care brand from Universal Robina Corporation’s (URC) Robina Agri Partners. Aside from ShamPooch, TopBreed also offers dog and puppy meals.

To learn more about URC and TopBreed, visit its Facebook pages, @URCPhilippines and @TopBreedDogMeal.