Small dog getting its hair clipped outside.

5 Grooming Mistakes That Dog Owners Make

Share via

5 Mistakes to Avoid While Grooming Your Pet

People are apprehensive about grooming their dogs for fear of making a mistake. Mistakes happen, and your dog will forgive you, but we’re here to give you some tips on how to avoid grappling while grooming.

1. Prep to Avoid the Stress

Take a cue from the boy scouts — be prepared. Prior to bath time, get organized to reduce stress for you and your dog, for example:

  • Take him for a brisk walk to release energy.

  • Try Pettura Calming, this veterinarian formulated dog anxiety treatment is a drug-free option for dogs with a lot of stress during grooming. Simply use the pre-measured pump and apply right onto your dog’s treat to help put him at ease.

  • Brush your dog beforehand to rid his coat of loose fur, and trim his nails to avoid slips and scratches.

  • Move all of your grooming supplies to where you will be working, and close the door to avoid soapy escapes.

2. Easy on the Suds

Shampoo gives your dog a lovely fresh scent, but too much of something good can be bad. Also, bathing too frequently or using too much shampoo can dry out the skin and erase healthy oils your dog needs to have a healthy coat. Our step-by-step guide will help you determine how often to bathe based on your dog’s exposure to dirt and debris, and the thickness of his coat. Using your instincts along with these tips will help:

  • A little goes a long way when it comes to shampoo- start with a dab the size of a quarter, and use more if necessary.

  • Gently place cotton balls in your dog’s ears to avoid suds from sneaking in, but don’t forget to remove them after the bath.

  • Rinse soap completely to avoid skin irritation.

3. Too Close for Comfort

Nail trimming can be worrisome, but it needs to be done regularly to avoid unwanted snags, click-clacking on the hardwood floor, and painful feet for your dog. Cutting too close can cause pain and make your dog skittish around nail clippers, but don’t despair; knowing how to avoid and treat mishaps will help:

  • Use quality clippers sized for your dog.

  • Use a children’s scissors to remove excess hair around toes to clear the space.

  • Trim nails in a well-lit area so the quick is visible.

  • Use your fingers to separate the toes and hold each paw gently while trimming parallel to the nail.

4. Seeing (and Hearing) is Believing

Your dog’s eyes and ears are essential parts of his senses and require regular cleanups. What at-home groomers often get wrong is the tools they use, or avoiding the task altogether.

  • Use cotton balls or a fresh cloth to gently wipe away dirt from eyes and ears, NOT cotton swabs which can be damaging to these vital organs.

  • Moisten the cotton ball or cloth with water for tear stains under eyes.

  • Use mineral oil, olive oil, or witch hazel to moisten the cotton ball or cloth for cleaning ears.

5. Clipping the Coat

For dogs with curly, wavy, wiry, silky or long coats, hair clipping should be a routine part of grooming. This will lessen matting, tangles, and the likelihood of fleas and pests hiding out in the fur; however, clipping mishaps might result in an ‘interesting’ new look for your pet. Avoid fashion flubs:

  • Make sure to brush before getting the clippers out.

  • Check the breed standards for guidance on what your dog should look like.

  • Choose the appropriate guide comb for desired length and clip from neck to the back legs.

For more tips on how to be a great dog parent, visit the Expert Advice section of our website.

Visit our Pet Grooming resources for additional information and products for grooming, clipping, trimming, and bathing your pet.

View All Pet Grooming Articles

What to use