Dogs are one of the best pets to have around. They console you when you’re down, make you laugh at some of their behavior, and provide companionship. Don’t get me wrong, I know they are not always sunshine and daisies.
Dogs are a huge responsibility! Some dogs only require a quick brush once in a while and others need frequent brushing to avoid tangles and knots.
Grooming your dog can be difficult and can get pretty costly at times. For those of you that may be trying to save some money or learn the trade itself, let this be your guide to getting started.
Caring for Your Dog’s Teeth
To properly care for your dog’s teeth, it is best to brush them on a regular basis. Once a day is enough, but make sure you have the appropriate toothbrush and toothpaste for your little pooch.
Many stores have dog toothpaste that is specially made for their teeth that come in a variety of flavors. Be sure to buy a toothpaste specifically for them as human toothpaste is toxic for them.
The best time to start this routine is when the dog is still a puppy. They love the taste of doggy toothpaste, so be prepared for your dog to try and gobble it up.
Go easy on your dog’s gums and don’t press too hard. Be careful when brushing the back teeth to prevent your pooch from gagging.
The Safest Way to Clean Your Dog’s Ears
There are many solutions available on the market for cleaning your dog’s ears. If you’re looking for an at-home solution, try mixing half distilled water and half vinegar together.
Using these together with a washcloth or towel will help prevent infection and help the ears stay healthy.
You can also use a cotton ball or gauze along with a dog ear cleaning solution. Use the gauze or cotton ball to gently clean around the outside of your dog’s ear. If you’re using an ear solution, be careful not to squeeze the bottle to hard.
You’ll need to lift your dog’s ear and squeeze a few drops inside. Squeezing the bottle too hard can cause pain and deposit too much solution into the ear canal.
Gently massage your dog’s ear to give the solution time to work. After a few minutes, let your dog give his or head a good shake to remove the excess. Afterwards, you can use a soft cotton ball to dry out the inside of your dog’s ear.
It’s important to keep the inside of your dog’s ear dry to prevent yeast and bacteria build-up.
Trimming Your Dog’s Nails
This is not always an easy job. Many dogs are not keen on people messing with their paws. This is especially true if you’ve accidentally cut their nails a little too short at any point.
They forgive, but they don’t forget!
Dogs nails should be trimmed on a monthly basis. There are two options when it comes to trimming dogs’ nails: clippers or a nail grinder. You can also use both to help smooth any sharp ridges.
A nail grinder is a little more pricey and takes longer to use compared to nail clippers. Your dog may get nervous during this process. If you have someone that can help you I would advise having them near distracting them.
One easy distraction would be having them hold a spoonful of peanut butter for your dog to lick while you get the job done.
To use a nail grinder first you will need to hold your dogs paw and carefully touch the grinder the tip of each nail.
Some dogs are more afraid of the noise the nail grinder makes than the process itself. If you have a grinder with more than one speed, try setting it at the lower (and quieter) setting.
Where to find the “quick”
Finding the pulp of the nail (or the “quick”) isn’t always easy. This is the area of the nail that you want to avoid cutting into. It bleeds a lot and is painful for your dog.
It’s best to start clipping your dog’s nails a little bit at a time. Work your way down the nail and watch the tip of each nail for a little black dot. When you see the black (or pink) dot, you’ve gone far enough.
If you’re especially nervous clipping your own dog’s nails, it might be wise to get a professional groomer to help. Dogs can sense your anxiety, making the whole process more tense than it needs to be.
How to find the “quick” in black nails
Black nails are especially hard to cut because it’s not easy to see where the quick begins. Again, it’s best to only trim a very small amount and not risk cutting into the quick. If you’re able to clip your dog’s nails on a regular basis, you’ll be able to chase the quick back.
If you’re not comfortable doing this, a professional groomer can help take the pressure off.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Puppy?
It’s funny how many dogs will easily take to swimming, but show them a bathtub and they bolt. There’s no need to force the matter. Oftentimes, dogs don’t need baths unless they’re particularly dirty.
Too much bathing can cause their skin to dry out. Most dogs do a great job of grooming themselves, ensuring their coats are dry and maintained.
Dogs have natural oils on their skin and coat. These oils help to maintain a good pH balance while keeping the skin healthy. Too much bathing can actually strip these natural oils. For that reason, bathing too often can leave your dog’s skin dry and irritated.
When you do bathe your dog, be sure to use good quality pet products that promote skin health. Get brands specifically designed for dogs.
Fur Brushing and Care
Dogs that don’t shed (or shed very little) typically need professional grooming. You can certainly try doing it yourself, but the process is usually a lot harder than it looks.
Doodle breeds should be groomed every 4-6 weeks. When grooming Doodle breeds there are several haircuts you can go for on them including: Teddy bear face, Mohawks, fluffy face and tail look, lion, camel, shaved to the bone and the proper doodle cut.
Going to try it yourself?
Ensure you have the necessary grooming tools before you get started. These can include:
- slicker brush (fine-wire brushes to help with matting and tangled hair)
- metal comb (helpful for knots and matting prevention)
- clipper blades
- clipper guards
- grooming scissors
- thinning shears
- detangler spray
- dog hair dryer
- possibly a grooming table (optional)
Best Place to Buy Pro-Quality Grooming Supplies for Dogs
Pet Pro Supply Co. is the place to go for good quality grooming products. You want products made to last. Skip over the poorly made products and check out Pet Pro Supply Co.
This is an affiliate link. That means if you decide to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. This does not cost anything more for you, however.
Doodle Grooming Steps
Before you start grooming for the first time, you may want to check out some videos to give you a sense of where and how to start. We’ve included a video below for you to check out. You can also jump into the steps we’ve added below:
1. Bathe and blow dry
Bathing and blow drying your dog before-hand really depends on the cut your going for.
If using a clipper with guards then bathing and blow drying is a must. If you skip bathing before utilizing the clippers there is a big chance hair will get snagged and won’t work through the coat efficiently.
2. Start with a slicker brush
Using a slicker brush, start from the bottom brushing one line of hair away. Work your way up while adding a little more hair with each brush stroke.
You will do this in a downward motion. Its important to see your dogs skin with each line to ensure you are getting it done properly. Continue brushing all parts of the dog making sure all mattes and tangles are gone.
3. Clip & Snip Time
If you will be using a clipper, make sure to lubricate your blade with clipper oil. This will help with friction. It should only take a drop or two. If you will be using a bare blade, keep in mind your blade will get hot from the friction here and there.
You will need to let it cool off occasionally or use a cooling spray to help the cooling process.
4. Start Clipping!
Start clipping at the top half of the dog.
You should start with the back, back of neck, upper legs and chest. After you have completed the top-half of your dog you will need to move on to the head, face and neck.
When it comes to the face of the dog it really depends on how you want it cut. If your going for a clean face or a short hair its recommended to use your grooming scissors and thinning shears.
5. Ear Trimming!
When trimming the ears, take care of those hairs in the ear canal. It’s very important if your dog is vulnerable to ear infections. You can work on their ears by trimming the outside and the outline with scissors. Then move forward to the ear canal doing the same.
If you’re not sure of what you’re doing around the ears, it’s better to stay away from the ear canal or let a professional do it.
6. Trimming Legs & Paws!
Scissor trimming is pretty easy on theirs legs and paws once you get the hang of it.
Using a comb, comb the hair upwards and trim to the desired length. If using clippers with a guard, go up the paws and legs until the trim is up to your standards.
Carefully shave hair between your dogs toes and paw pads. Sometimes these hairs will get matted so be extra cautious in this area.
7. Belly, Bum, Groin and Tail
To shave the belly and groin areas start from the chest with the shaver and work your way back.
Stay cautious of their nipples or groin area so you don’t harm them while shaving around those. For your dogs tail, you can hold their tail and work your way with a shaver from their bum to the tip of their tail.
Trimming their tail is really up to you as there are many styles you can trim them to have. When trimming their bum area you should shave around their hole so fur can’t get stuck from any future fecal matter.
8. Nail Time
As stated previously, you can use either dog nail clippers or a dog nail grinder.
With the nail clippers trim the tips gradually shortening them. With a nail grinder you can do the same as you will gradually grind away the excess nail to their quick.
Tending to your canine friend’s hair is one of the best things you can do for them. It’s like a little spa day for them. Most of the time when your done your dog will be appreciative and love the fresh feeling from their pampering.
Summing it up
Grooming doodles, poodles, any other curly-haired dog can be a challenge. Messing it up isn’t going to hurt your dog, although he might be a little embarrassed at the dog park!
It takes time to build confidence and skill, so don’t be too hard on yourself. There are plenty of videos online to watch (including the one in this post).
The most important thing is to be careful with the grooming tools. The more enjoyable the process is for your dog, the easier it will become in time.
Don’t forget to give your furry friend some treats for good behavior.
DVM, E. R. (2022, February 24). National Canine Research Association of America. ncraoa.com. https://ncraoa.com/find-the-quick-black-dog-nails/
Farricelli, A. (2016, August 27). Dog Discoveries. dogdiscoveries.com. https://dogdiscoveries.com/curiosity/dogs-groom-themselves