how to groom a dog at home with clippers

His overly long fur hangs in his eyes, while the knots drive you crazy. Yes, it is that time again, and Fido is not looking his best.

Fido, in fact, needs a haircut and good grooming session to look his gorgeous best once more. Time for a trip to the doggy beauty parlor, right?

Perhaps so, but how about doing the job yourself, saving you money into the bargain?

It is not as difficult as it sounds! Let me show you how!

Get the right tools

The first thing that needs looking into is a good pair of dog clippers. Not any clippers will do! They need to take his breed into account. Something suitable for a Yorkshire Terrier is imminently unsuitable for, let’s say, a French Poodle. Besides type, the weight and grip of the clippers need consideration. If opting for a battery-operated version, go for one that has a long battery life. It just makes things easier.

Next up are the brushes and combs suitable for longer-haired dog breeds. Bristle brushes should have longer, wider-spaced bristles. They remove dirt and add shine to his coat. Wire-pin brushes are great for dogs with curly hair. Dogs with thick undercoats need a slicker brush. This brush has a slightly bent tip perfect for getting rid of a loose undercoat.

Long coats need a de-matting rake. Remember to be gentle or you hurt your pet.

Other tools you might need to complete his grooming experience include cotton earbuds, good quality dog shampoo (with T-tree oil for dogs with sensitive skin), conditioner, and dog nail clippers. A hairdryer makes drying easier.

First things first: preparation

Make sure Fido has been outside and lifted his leg or squatted to do his business before starting. You do not want him having to hold it in while you are busy with the beautification process. Also, ensure he is not excited. Do this after he has played and got rid of excess energy. Once his bodily needs are taken care of, the process can begin!

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The shampoo and brush session

Bath, dry, and brush your dog before clipping. When bathing, use quality shampoo followed by conditioner. Long haired dogs need extra pampering much like humans to keep their locks in great shape. After bathing, dry their fur. A hairdryer works wonders and stops them from rolling in the sand and getting dirty. Dry fur is not prone to breakage as is the case with wet fur.

When brushing, ensure to brush out all tangles. The undercoat, if needed, needs stripping with the slicker brush. Start clipping on dry, detangled fur.


Decide on the length you wish his fur and select the correct blade. Switch on the clippers, holding them comfortably in your hand. Start anywhere, just not the head. Place the blade flat on his skin, and clip using even slow strokes. Do not press down on the clippers; you do not want to nip him by mistake.

If encountering heavily matted fur, consider using a scissor to break it up a little. Ensure you cut through and then under the mats without getting too close to his skin. Work at it a little at a time until it is loose and then glide over the area with the clippers.

A tip to remember: cut in the direction his hair grows. Going against the direction of hair growth gives a shorter finish.

Once done with the body, focus on the tail, paws, and muzzle. Clip the area around the paws and tail carefully. Ensure to take it slow as these areas nip easily. The area between his eyes needs cutting with a pair of scissors if a smaller dog or if you are new at this. Lift his head and clip the area of his throat, finishing with the sides of his jaw and ears.

Remember, one wrong move on your part has the potential of causing serious damage to your best friend!

dog grooming

The finishing touches

The finishing touches include the teeth, toenails, and ears.

First, the ears

Many people, especially first-time dog owners, ask the question: “Do I have to clean Fido’s ears?” Yes, you do. You clean your own ears, don’t you? He has the same ear problems as humans have!

Ear infections show as discharge, smell, a swollen ear, a red ear canal, or incessant scratching. Take him to the veterinarian if you suspect an ear infection.

For general cleaning, a damp cotton wool ball will do. Clean out the inside ear area. Never attempt to insert a cotton bud into his ear canal. You could damage it.

Now for the nails

There are a few reasons why a dog’s nails need trimming. Long toenails break or tear, causing pain, while they also change the way your dog walks or runs. This causes long-term damage to his toes, which could become arthritic. Active dogs’ nails tend to file down naturally.

You need a scissor type clipper, not a guillotine type which causes pain. The nail clipper size depends on the dog breed. Smaller dogs need smaller clippers, while larger dogs need larger ones.

Cut nails in three movements. The first cut is slanted left, the second right, and the third snips off the middle of the nail. Once neatly trimmed, file your dog’s nails, getting rid of any rough edges. Do not file underneath, as you might touch the quick of the nail and hurt him.

Finally, the teeth

Dogs, much like humans, also get the plaque, gum disease, and bad breath. A good tooth brushing session helps combat this situation. Using a soft bristle toothbrush specifically for dogs does the job. Dog toothpaste is preferable to human toothpaste. If unavailable, try using baking soda. It works really well.

Brushing his teeth from puppyhood makes the process easier, although older dogs can be taught. Older dogs can, indeed, learn new tricks.

Let him sit in a comfortable position and sit in front of him. Put some toothpaste on the toothbrush, and open his lips. Brush his teeth with gentle, circular motions so as not to hurt him. No rinsing is required.

In closing

Careful grooming as and when needed not only keeps your pet looking good but feeling good as well. It is also the perfect opportunity to check him for possible health issues. If any signs of infection present themselves, take him to the veterinarian.

Not everyone wishes to operate a home spa for dogs. This poses no problem, as many doggy parlors will do the job for you.

Before you go start the whole process, have a look at this relative video: