Grooming is a great way to create a bond with your dog and to enjoy each other's company. Putting together a well equipped box will help make the time spent grooming easier and more fun for both you and your dog. Wendy Nan Rees, author and radio host known as the "Pet Lifestyle Advisor," suggests making the bathing and grooming time a positive experience and giving your dog lots of praise.
The Grooming Box
The box itself can be anything that you want, as long as it is sturdy and can hold all the needed items. You can use a professional tack box, but Wendy says "You can save money by buying a plastic carry-all." A tote with a lid, or a five-gallon bucket also work well. If you will not need to be moving the grooming supplies around a lot, consider designating a cupboard or drawer in your home for storage.
It is best to start your grooming with a good bath to get your dog clean. Before you let your pup get wet, gather everything you need, and have it handy and within reach. Rees suggests having the following supplies handy to make grooming time that much easier:
- Slip lead - A simple slip lead is very helpful for holding your dog in the bath. It should be made of nylon or some other waterproof material.
- Mineral oil - Putting a few drops of mineral oil in your dog's eyes can help prevent soap from getting in them.
- Cotton balls - Put a cotton ball slightly inside each of your dog's ears to help keep water from getting in and causing an ear infection. Make sure to never push it in so far you can't get it out.
- Shampoo - Choose a shampoo that will clean your dog without irritating his skin. Some special shampoos even include flea medicine. You can also try making organic dog shampoo if you want to avoid chemicals, and save some money.
- Conditioner - While it is not always needed for a short-hair dog, conditioner makes it much easier to comb out a long-haired dog's coat.
- Towel - After your dog comes out of the bath, dry him as well as you can with a towel. The towel should be very absorbent and cleaned before each use.
- Blow dryer - A blow dryer is a useful tool for long haired dogs, or ones that dry slowly. Getting a dog dry can help keep their body temperature regulated which is very important for small dogs and puppies. Be sure to get tight places, like between your dog's toes, dry. If these areas stay damp, your dog can develop a fungus.
If you have multiple dogs, or a dog with a long coat, you may need multiple brushes to keep them well groomed.
- Slicker or wire brush - This is a small brush with narrow wire bristles. It is used to help remove mats and to get dead hair out from under the undercoat of the dog.
- Pin brush - This brush has long thin bristles topped with a small plastic ball on each end. This works well for combing out long silky hair and removing tangles.
- Bristle brush - This style brush is useful for any breed of dog. It has soft bristles that work great for shining the coat and brushing off loose hair and dirt.
- Shedding blade - This is a rounded blade with little teeth that pick up dead hair as it is combed across it. This kind of brush works well for any coat style.
- Flea comb - Wendy also suggests having a flea comb in your grooming box. This useful tool can be used to remove adult fleas and flea eggs from a dog's coat.
There are a number of commercial products available that will help your canine look and feel his best.
- Ear cleaner - This is a very useful product that loosens wax and helps clean the ear canal.
- Eye cleaner - Some dogs have problems with their eye's dripping. Eye cleaner works well to keep the area around the eye clean.
- Dry shampoo - Dry shampoo is a spray or refresher you apply to your dog to help condition the coat and keep them smelling great.
- Flea spray or spot on treatment -This is very helpful to apply after your dog has been groomed to keep fleas at bay.
Rees feels these items are a must for any grooming box.
- Cotton swabs - Cotton swabs are very useful for cleaning the outside of the ears, and around eyes.
- Toothbrush - It's a good idea to brush your dogs teeth with just water to help remove plaque.
- Nail clippers - It is very important to clip your dog's nails regularly, especially if they don't do a lot of walking on pavement.
- Hemostats - Hemostats are useful for removing ear hair.
- Grooming Table - If you have a dog with a very long or curly coat, it may be wise to invest in a portable grooming table. They come in a wide variety of sizes and prices.
Some dog owners like to give trimming at home a shot, although it is recommend that these tools only be used with the proper training. After the initial investment in the proper tools, it is usually much cheaper than taking your dog to a groomer.
- Small clippers - These are useful for removing hair from tight area like between foot pads.
- Large clippers - Large clippers are used to trim the entire body.
A Special Time
Rees suggests that grooming should be relaxing for both you and your dog. Start grooming your dog at an early age and he will not fear grooming as he gets older. Don't forget to make sure you are appropriately dressed before beginning your grooming session, as sit can be pretty messy. Once you have your grooming kit put together you will be well on your way to having a grooming spa at home.