When I got my first dog, Poppy, I had no idea that I needed to worry about grooming. I had grown up with low- maintenance dogs, and didn’t even consider this when I got her. After two months, her hair had grown over her eyes and she could barely see. Not to mention her ridiculously long nails...
This is when I learned the importance of grooming and nail care for dogs. It’s your duty as a pet parent to stay on top of this before it affects your pup. Luckily, with a Wagmo Wellness plan, grooming is covered! So you don’t even have to worry about doing it yourself.
Depending on the type of dog you have, it varies how often you need to get him/her groomed. However, it’s always a good idea to bathe your pup regularly to avoid funky smells and germs from the outdoors. Who wants a muddy couch, am I right?! Since I have a Wellness plan, I prefer to leave grooming to the professionals. Even if sometimes, things don’t go fully as planned...
However, if you decide you want to try this at home, it’s important to have the proper supplies. So what equipment do you need? This will greatly depend on your dog’s breed. This list of basic supplies will give you a solid start:
- Comb and brush: Medium-toothed combs are the best all-around comb, as well as a slick- brush). You may need other types of combs depending on your pup’s hair/ fur.
- Shampoo and conditioner: A good pH balanced combo for dogs is important! Don’t be tempted by the shampoos that promise to reduce shedding - we tried it...they don’t. Womp.
- Towels: Considering throwing out some old towels? Save them for grooming!
- Toothbrush and toothpaste: Above all, make sure you get pet-safe toothpaste. Human toothpaste is toxic and potentially lethal for pets. If you’re looking for an easy and pup-approved dental solution, we love vet- recommended BarkBright! Have a Wagmo Wellness plan? We’ll even pick up the bill.
- Otic solution, forceps, and gauze: These tools are for cleaning your pup’s ears, though this is best left to the professionals to ensure you don’t cause any accidental damage.
- Electric clipper: If your dog’s coat needs to be clipped, make sure to buy a high-quality clipper. Whatever you do, please don’t shave your dog’s coat! Their coat grows in a very specific way to regulate their body heat and should only ever be trimmed, not shaved.
- Nail trimming supplies: See below for nail trimming tips!
There are many hairstyles and cuts online for specific breeds. Again, this is why I love having a Wellness plan, because I leave the styling to the professionals! Simply snap a pic of your receipt and upload it to your Wagmo account to get reimbursed for your pup’s groom.
Trimming your pup’s nails is not only a benefit to your dog, but also to you. Neglected nails can lead to discomfort, or even infection. This can also affect your home, including your furniture and floors. It’s best to start off with a routine so your pup gets used to nail trims. I personally don’t cut Poppy’s nails, but some pet owners find it cheaper and easier to do this at home.
Step 1: Gather supplies
If you decide to take care of your dog’s nails at home, it’s important to invest in high-quality clippers with a sharp blade and a safety stop. That way, it’s less likely that a nail will get pulled. There are different types of clippers that work best for different dogs. For small to medium- sized dogs, try using guillotine clippers, and for large dogs, scissor clippers are preferred to cut through their thick nails. If your dog is scared of traditional clippers, you can also try using a grinder tool that wears away at the nail. Other helpful supplies include a styptic powder, a towel, and treats.
Step 2: Trim the nails
It’s important to get your dog used to having their paws touched. To get them comfortable, try gently playing with their paws every day. That way, they’re prepared for the big day: AKA nail day! You don’t want nail trimming to be a traumatic experience, so it’s important to ease them into it and make sure they get tons of rewards along the way.
When you start trimming, hold your dog’s paw firmly and cut the nail at a 45 degree angle away from the paw. Start slowly cutting very thin slices off the tip. It is very important that you avoid the quick (the pink blood vessel inside the nail), so if you start to see a black dot appear, this means you’re getting close to the quick and you should stop trimming. Always have styptic powder handy to stop bleeding in case you accidentally cut into your dog’s quick.
Step 3: Reward
Once you’ve finished clipping, make sure to reward your pup so that they know nail clipping is a positive activity. If your dog seems nervous or anxious during the experience, it’s best to stop the process and continue at a later time.
Not ready to try nail trimming at home? That’s totally OK! Bring your pup to a local groomer and have a professional handle it. Here’s a picture of Poppy at her first nail trimming appointment: