Dos And Don’ts Of Grooming Your Pet At Home

Female dog groomer brushing a bichon frise dog

There are many reasons why pet owners may choose to groom their pets at home. Ranging from cost, travel time to the groomers, incorporating the appointment in an already busy day, or your pet not responding well to unfamiliar people.

Regardless of the reason, if you choose to groom your pet from home, the Good Hands Advice team have developed these helpful tips to ensure that the experience will be pleasurable for both owner and pet.
If you’re unsure about what to do with your specific pet, be sure to ask your veterinarian.


  • Invest in a grooming kit – Dog grooming kits usually include tools and equipment that a home pet groomer will need. While you may think that grooming kits are reserved for professional dog groomers, these specialized tools will make the task easier. Top Dog Tips, a site that helps new and veteran dog owners make informed decisions about their pets, has provided a guide for buying a grooming kit.
  • Brush your dog often – If your dog has long fur, it’s especially important to maintain a regular cadence of brushing. However, no matter the length of the coat, it is recommended by the Animal Humane Society to brush your dog every couple of days. Brushing will remove tangles and prevent matting of the fur on your pet that can help them be more comfortable and may help prevent potential skin irritations.
  • Check for fleas and ticks – According to the Ontario SPCA, fleas and ticks are attracted to three things: body motion, body heat and carbon dioxide. Ticks are also ground-dwellers, so they jump from low shrubbery or the ground to latch onto your pet. Flea and tick season in Canada can also range from March to November. So be sure to be even more attentive during those times.
  • Check your pet’s pads regularly – It’s important that when grooming your pet you are also inspecting their paws. According to Top Dog Tips, dogs’ paw health can be neglected by pet owners. The site provides insight on the seven most common dog paw problems, and what to do about them. Consider wiping or washing your dog’s paws as soon as they come in from outside. In winter, this will remove any de-icing products or ice that has been stuck. A cloth soaked in warm water and gentle massage can help loosen the ice.
  • Check your pet’s ear and anal glands – It may not be the most glamourous thing to do, but it’s still important nonetheless to ensure that you check your pet’s ear and anal glands. Ask your vet if your pet needs their ears cleaned regularly, how to do it and what to look for with their anal glands.


  • Bathe your pets too frequently – Most household cats don’t need regular baths. Dogs on the other hand, according to the Animal Humane Society, would need to take a bath once every two to four months (unless they get themselves dirty). The reason why we shouldn’t wash our pets too frequently is that it may cause their skin to dry out and strip the natural oils from their coat.
  • Use human cleansers on your pets – It is highly recommended to use cleansers that are designed for pets as shampoo and soaps for humans are usually too acidic for dogs and could potentially damage their skin and coat, especially if used frequently. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian to determine which pet cleaning product is right for your dog.
  • Cut nails too short – It may be tempting to want to trim the nails of your pets as short as possible to prevent any scratches from their claws, however, it’s important to only trim the tips of their nails. The Humane Society mentions not to get too close to the pink part of the nail called “the quick,” where blood vessels and nerve endings lie. Just like the pink part of a human fingernail, the quick is very sensitive – cutting into this area will likely cause bleeding and pain.
  • Overwhelm your pets – While for humans a bath may not be a big deal, to your furry pal it can be a stressful situation. Grooming your pet may be a great bonding experience but it’s important to gage their comfort level. So, if there’s a lot to do (e.g. brushing teeth, nail trimming, bath, etc.) try dividing the task into parts to give you (and your pet) a break.

Have we missed anything? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below.

This information has been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice.