Depending on the dog, grooming fees can add up fast. But, a low grooming budget doesn’t have to limit your ability to adopt the dog of your choice. If the dog you would like to bring home has higher than average grooming requirements, here are some helpful DIY tips to keep him or her healthy and looking picture ready in between groomer visits.

1. Trim Nails At Home
Learning how to trim your pet’s nails at home will save you from having to take him or her to the groomer. Just be sure to take it slow at first to allow your adopted dog time to get used to you handling his or her paws. For a dog that does not mind you touching his or her paws yet has difficulty sitting still, try offering a distracting treat and a grooming harness.

Helpful Trimming Tips
Hold your dog’s paw. Place your thumb on the pad of a toe. With your forefinger on the top of the toe on the skin above the nail, push your thumb slightly up and backward to extend the nail so that you can trim it.

When clipping, use a straight across cut. Remember not to clip past the curve of the nail. You may hit the “quick” (that pink area containing the blood vessels) which will cause your pet to experience pain and bleed. Practice will help you work as a team and frequent clippings will also save your floors from scratches while preventing health issues resulting from overgrown nails. 

2. Puppy Cuts For All
While some coats will require an occasional trip to a professional groomer, there are some in-between trimming options that can reduce the number of visits each year and lower your expenses as a result. The puppy cut, for example, offers a cute look without using specialty shaping. For this cut, you simply need to trim the entire coat at about 1 to 2 inches.

Helpful Puppy Cut Tips
Be sure to practice extra caution around the whiskers and face so as not to cause harm. Also, never do a closer trim without discussing it with your local vet first. Coats that are too short could lead to dry skin, sunburn, and other medical issues. Finally, before you begin, go online to research some popular videos. There are a number of groomers willing to show you how to perform this cut at home like a pro!

3. Give Baths In the Tub Or In the Backyard
It is vital to keep your dog clean and healthy. Part of this routine is to give him or her a good bath occasionally. The number of baths required each year for your dog depends on the dog’s coat, any skin irritation concerns the vet may have, and the dog’s lifestyle and environment. You can expect groomers to charge at least $30 for each bathing session.

The good news? Baths are easy DIY activities that double as bonding exercises to build trust. Best of all, you just need some water, a vet-approved dog shampoo, a towel, and a little time and patience.

Helpful Bathing Tips
While you may choose to bathe your dog in your bathtub, you may find it easier to give him or her a good scrub in the yard using a hose and baby pool or patio during warmer months. Whether you choose the tub or the yard, be careful not to get the soap near the eyes or in the ears. Don’t forget to always check the temperature of the water first. Too cold will cause your pet discomfort, and too hot could scald your pet’s skin.

4. Frequent Brushings
Frequent brushings will keep your pet looking fresh and ready for cuddles, but they will also remove a lot of the fur that would otherwise end up on your clothes, furniture, or floor. More importantly for health reasons, brushing your dog’s coat will remove any tangles or debris that could lead to painful matting.

Helpful Brushing Tips
Start with the proper tools. Carefully remove all noted trapped debris, knots, and tangles first. Also, always brush in the direction of your pet’s hair growth. Brushing in the opposite direction may be uncomfortable for your dog.

5. Ears & Glands Cleanings
A professional groomer will not only bathe and brush your dog but will also clean the ears and glands. As ear infections are common in dogs with floppy or longer ears and rectal glands can become backed up, taking these cleanings seriously is an important part of caring for your dog’s health. Don’t worry – it’s not as difficult as it sounds.

Helpful Ear & Gland Cleaning Tips
To clean your dog’s rectal glands, use disposable gloves and a lubricant to prevent any discomfort and gently massage with your index finger and thumb to remove the buildup of fluid. Position your fingers carefully to avoid blocking the anal passage. Then, simply catch the liquid that sprays out with a paper towel.

For ears, you are looking for healthy pink ears. Try using a cotton ball and vet-approved cleaning solution. Do not go too deep. Surface dirt you can visibly see is what you are trying to remove. Also, avoid using any tool with a sharp or small tip that can enter and damage the ear canal.

Ready to Give These DIY Grooming Tips a Try at Home?
Every dog deserves to be well cared for and groomed. A professional session at the dog grooming parlor will save you a lot of time and effort while ensuring your dog is healthy and receives a proper cut. However, to reduce the number of times your dog goes to the groomer, you can use these tips and limit expenses to help you adopt the dog of your choice to make sure you can find the right personality fit for your household and lifestyle. To view our loving available dogs, please check our adoption page.