You’ve decided that you want to groom a dog at home yourself. It can be a fun experience for you and your canine. It’s also a great way to bond and making sure that your dog is in tip-top shape. Getting started can be a little intimidating though, especially because there are so many dog grooming supplies to choose from.
So which dog grooming tools are best to use? Where can you save and where you shouldn't? What type of dog grooming equipment can wait, and what do you absolutely need to have right now? In this Dog Grooming Supplies Guide, we gathered input from several pet groomers to present you the most extensive write-up on how to groom a dog and what you need for that.
It probably seems like there are too many pet grooming products to choose from and too many steps to learn. It's true – grooming your dog does not end with a simple brushing session. But not to worry, because I will walk you through the whole process and help you find right type of dog grooming tools and equipment for each step of your pet grooming process.
If you are unsure of the details of grooming or if you need a refresher course, I recommend you to review the the many articles on Dog Grooming this website has to offer. Top Dog Tips published a lot of information on the dog grooming process, instructions about the way to use these dog grooming supplies we mention in this buyers guide, and tips to recognize certain behavioral problems your dog can exhibit and how to handle them.
To start, let's revise the four steps/categories of grooming a dog:
- Brushing: This is to relieve your dog’s coat from all the loose hair and mats. Brushing your dog beforehand will make the bathing and clipping process much easier for you (nothing’s more annoying than a tricky knot).
- Washing: The obvious next step is giving your dog a bath to ensure a clean coat and healthy fur.
- Cutting/trimming: Doesn't need to be done as often as the above two steps, but yet a very essential part of grooming a dog.
- Accessory work: These are all the final steps of grooming a dog that will require the most patience and majority of dog grooming supplies mentioned in this guide. This includes clipping dog's nails, cleaning his ears and other beauty work.
To make sure that your doggy's SPA day doesn't end in some accidents, or with you using the wrong tools for grooming your dog, refer to this dog grooming supplies guide for every single part of the pet grooming process. Whatever the question regarding grooming tools you have, rest assured, it has been covered here.
Dog Grooming Supplies 101: The Ultimate Buyer's Guide
Does your dog require any special care? He may not have any today, but as time passes, he could. It’s good to keep in mind what might arise so you can be prepared if or when that day comes.
Grooming almost always begins with a good brushing and combing, and it’s imperative that you do this before you start bathing your dog. This will remove excess hair, help you find and take care of tangles and mats, and alert you to any special conditions that may interfere with bathing him.
Table of Contents
- Dog Grooming Supplies 101: The Ultimate Buyer's Guide
- The Basics of Dog Grooming
- Let’s Buy Some Dog Brushes
- Dog Shedding
- It's Doggy Bath Time!
- Prescription Dog Hair and Skin Products
- Dog Bathtubs and Stands
- Dog Sponges to Splurge On
- Drying Dogs After Baths
- Dog Hair Dryers
- Dog Hair Clipping and Styling
- Types of Dog Clippers
- Trimmers for Dog Hair
- Grooming Dog's Eyes, Ears and Nails
- Dog Grooming Accidents and What to Do
- Dog Clipper Burns
- Dog Going Into Shock
- Organic Dog Grooming Supplies
- Dog Grooming Supplies FAQ
- 1. What should I look for? What are signs of trouble?
- 2. Too many dog brushes. Which one to choose?
- 3. What if I get soap in my dog’s ears?
- 4. My puppy won’t calm down. What can I do?
- 5. Silent or standard dog hair clippers?
- 6. My dog has clipper burn. What should I do?
- 7. What if I cut into dog's nail quick?
- 8. What are tear tracks and how to treat them?
- 9. Should I do anything about the hair in my dog’s ear?
- 10. My dog won’t let me clip his nails. What do I do?
Extra care needs to be taken during bathing and drying if your dog is elderly. He may have many different needs, and it’s likely that at least some of them will affect bath time. However, although you need to be gentle with the older dog, you still need to be thorough.
Make sure the water is warm enough — warmth can soothe aching joints. Gently massage from the top down, being careful around painful joints and ligaments. For drying, the Snuggly Dog Easy Slip-On Towel (see below) will absorb the moisture from your dog’s coat without requiring much rubbing.
Very young (and some not so young) dogs can be overexcited about, well, everything. Bath time is no exception, and sometimes puppies need to be reined in and calmed down to prevent a giant splash fest. You must also be sure to use dog grooming supplies that are formulated for puppies. Not all dog grooming supplies is suitable for puppies. The chemicals in it may be too harsh for your pup's skin.
When bathing a puppy, first, you need to be calm. If you’re yelling and waving your arms to quiet him down, your puppy is going to think it’s party time instead of bath time. Bathe him in a place with no distractions. Sit quietly for a few minutes. When your puppy obeys your clear, firm command to sit, give him a treat. If he starts acting up again, don’t pay attention to him. Instead, calmly and quietly turn away from him to emphasize that this is bath time, not play time.
You may need to sit calmly and ignore him many times during the grooming process, but he’ll eventually get it, especially if you’re reinforcing “be quiet” with treats when he obeys. Be sure you can devote enough time to train your dog to behave at bath time. If you give up, he’s won by not following your commands, which will reinforce misbehaving.
Dogs with Disabilities
A disabled dog might be afraid of grooming and its sudden switch from one experience to the next. Be sure to take things slowly. Talk quietly and reassuringly. If he panics, stop and then resume very slowly after a rest. Give him treats and tons of praise throughout the whole procedure so that he knows you’re there with him and nothing is going to hurt him. A scared dog can lash out in fear.
Conditions You May Find
Of course, you’ve been brushing your dog regularly, and you’ve probably found most if not all of the problematic conditions — hot spots; scratches and cuts; flea, tick, and other parasitic infestations; and coat problems, including loose hair, mats, and tangles. If untreated, these will complicate the grooming process.
You don’t want to stop in the middle of soaping him to investigate a problem unless of course, you missed it during brushing. Certain skin conditions are more painful when wet, and your dog may begin to misbehave because of the discomfort. Certain dog grooming supplies may also irritate skin problems.
Similarly, there are some problems that will be improved by a bath, but there are some that may require you to delay it. Before you can decide to wait, however, you have to find the problems. You may not be able to bathe him if he has bad hot spots or cuts. Tangles and mats in your dog’s coat shouldn’t keep you from bathing him, but removing them can be a fairly difficult and time-consuming task for you and an unpleasant one for your dog. Infestations of fleas and ticks should be markedly reduced by a bath.
The Basics of Dog Grooming
Brushing in the hair’s natural direction, most probably from the top downward, will prevent discomfort. As a matter of fact, you could actually harm your dog’s skin by going against the grain. There are many basic “rules” about dog grooming that will make things easier for you and keep your pet safe and comfortable.
RELATED: How to Choose Dog Grooming Products
Be cautious around your dog’s sensitive areas — the ear canal, anus, mouth, and eyes — and brush or comb away from them so that the risk of accidentally hitting one of those spots is minimized. It takes only one slip to blind your dog, drastically compromise his hearing, or cause him extreme pain.
It’s tempting to be less than diligent in these areas to avoid injury, but because they’re frequently moist, you run the risk of fungal and other infections if they are left unmanaged.
A buildup of bacteria and fungi can lead to a whole host of problems — inflamed hair follicles, sores, abscesses, and extreme itching among others. To avoid these painful, unpleasant conditions, thorough but gentle grooming of your dog's sensitive areas is a necessity. A fine-tooth comb is the best way to groom them. Comb gently in the direction of his fur.
If you find tangles or mats that cannot be easily removed, we recommend that you take your dog to a professional.
The right dog grooming supplies will help you be careful, speed up brushing and combing, and reduce your dog’s discomfort. Many dog owners think that all grooming supplies are the same. As long as you have a brush and a bottle of shampoo, you're good to go, right? WRONG! You need to buy dog grooming supplies based on your dog's individual needs, and they are not all the same.
Let’s Buy Some Dog Brushes
Below, we’ve listed some of the top-rated brushes that are sure to make grooming fast, efficient, and easy for you and your dog. Remember, each of these brushes are for different coat types and they all have a specific purpose. If you're not sure what type of dog grooming supplies will best benefit your dog, speak with a professional groomer for advice.
FURminator Dog Dual Brush
You can't talk about the best dog grooming supplies without discussing some products from FURminator. With a pin brush on one side and a bristle brush on the other, this tool is a multitasking wizard.
You can detangle with the pin brush and then flip it over and remove loose hair and mats with the bristle brush. Although it’s recommended for use with silky and/or short coats, the nylon bristle brush can actually be used on any coat type.
The FURminator Dog Dual Brush itself is flexible enough to follow the contours of your pet’s frame, and the plastic part of the brush is antimicrobial and keeps germs and bacteria at a minimum. When using this brush for dogs with long hair, it finishes the coat and creates a natural shine.
FURminator Dog Rake
It has rotatable, rounded pins that minimize painful tugging and pulling. This is an excellent way to get mats and debris out of your dog’s coat, especially if he has an undercoat or unusually thick fur.
The tool, shaped like a tiny rake, is easy to hold and maneuver through mats. The FURminator Dog Rake has rounded pins that fully rotate to prevent skinirritation. Similar products may have sharp pins that scratch or tear your dog's skin during brushing. You need to be sure to avoid these products, as they will not only cause your dog unnecessary pain, but could also lead to major skin problems.
Safari Pin and Bristle Brush
Safari offers a number of great dog grooming supplies, and the Safari Pin and Bristle Brush has received high ratings from customers. This brush works well with small- and medium-size dogs. The bristles are close together and detangle mats while also distributing natural oils through the coat. The pins are rounded, making it a comfortable brush for you to use and a painless one for your dog.
This brush is workable for any breed type, although it will probably produce optimal results when used according to the manufacturers’ recommended size and coat types. They suggest use on dogs with longer coats such Australian Shepherds, Golden Retriever, Collies, Siberian Huskies and Spaniels.
Slicker Dog Brushes
Slicker brushes, like the red brush in the photo above, are designed for a more specific use. They are especially handy for working out tough mats and knots. These brushes usually have firm bristles or very strong pins, making them a great tool for this job. Slicker brushes are one of the best dog grooming supplies for pups with long hair.
Safari Self-Cleaning Large Slicker Brush
The pins on this brush are stainless steel and remarkably sturdy. This ensures that you’ll be able to power right on through any tough mat or knot without hurting your dog by tugging, pulling, or getting the brush stuck in his fur. The Safari Self-Cleaning Large Slicker Brush is intended for larger breeds, however, it's available in three sizes to suit your dog's needs: small, medium and large.
It makes a good combo with the Safari Pin and Bristle Brush described above. The self-cleaning feature comes in handy so you don't have to remove the loose hair with your fingers. With the simple press of a button all the hair slides off the brush and into the garbage can. This is a great tool to keep in your dog grooming supplies kit if you have a long-haired pup.
Wahl Large Slicker Brush
A cheerful orange and white, this brush works well on medium and long coats. It not only detangles knots, it also removes dirt and loose particles. It is easily cleanable. Even your dog’s dirtiest, rolling-around-in-the-mud coat isn’t a match for the Wahl Large Slicker Brush’s ease of cleaning.
This is one of the best dog grooming supplies as it is hardy enough to be used every day. A good everyday brush is an excellent idea for long-haired breeds whose hair tends to become tangled and matted very easily. Despite its large size, this brush can be used in the ear area to keep fur from bunching up (although when combing ear hair, a finetooth brush or comb is better, but we’ll get to that later).
Li’l Pals Slicker Brush
This brush is great for small breeds, even as small as puppies or toys. The tipped pins won’t irritate the dog’s skin, and the brush is sturdy enough to use long strokes without causing tangles or buildup to occur. It can also be used on undercoats.
The Li'L Pals Slicker Brush has flexible pins that are covered with plastic tips to prevent scratching. It is designed to contour to your dog's body for more efficient grooming. This slicker brush removes mats, tangles and debris, while also spreading natural oils throughout your dog's coat to give him a healthy shine.
Can’t Forget Doggy Combs!
As we've already discussed, combs are great for the sensitive areas. Dog grooming supplies not only need to be chosen based on your dog's general needs, but also for the job that needs to be done. The hair around your dog’s ear canal can get tangled and matted. However, you don’t want to attempt to groom that delicate area with a large slicker or pin-tipped brush.
Hair also grows around his anal region, an especially sensitive area, and can become matted and tangled also. Such delicate jobs requires a delicate tool. Dirt and debris can accumulate in the fur on your dog's face, but you wouldn't want to use a large brush to care for the fur in this area. This is when a comb will come in handy!
Andis Pet 7.5-Inch Steel Comb
This comb works for dogs of all sizes. On one half of the comb, the pins are very close together, which allows for a fine combing. On the other half, they’re a little farther apart. It’s suggested that you first use the side with the wide-space teeth to brush the hair before switching to the side with the more closely spaced pins.
The Andis Pet 7.5-Inch Steel Comb removes loose hair as well, so there’s no need to maneuver a deshedding tool (next section) through those touchy areas of your dog’s coat. It’s also a good finisher. You can run it over the tips of your dog’s coat to make it fluffy. The comb is small enough to fit into smaller areas but sturdy enough to handle mats and knots.
Safari Grooming Comb for Dogs
This comb is made of stainless steel. Like the Andis comb described above, the teeth are coarsely spaced at one end and fine at the other. They’re round-tipped to ensure that your dog’s skin won’t be scraped or irritated while you’re combing him. The Safari Grooming Comb for Dogs is recommended for coarse coats and works well on medium-length coats too.
It’s a good accompaniment for the Safari Pin and Bristle Brush mentioned above, since it can get into and around areas that the brush can’t. They’re not sold as a set, but they’re a good combo that will make your dog’s coat gleam.
Itery Dog Comb
Also made of stainless steel, this comb measures a little more than seven inches long and has dual pins, both coarse and fine. It’s especially useful for mats in the ear areas, as the pins are round tipped and strong, powering through mats and breaking up any clumps. The Itery Dog Comb can even be used on single-coated dogs after brushing for an excellent finishing touch.
Like many of the best dog grooming supplies in this guide, this comb is durable and made to last. It features an anodized aluminum rounded spine for comfort while grooming. Aluminum is also very lightweight, so you won't get hand fatigue if using this dog comb for long periods of time.
Shedding is one of the most common complaints of dog owners. The best dog grooming supplies can help with this problem, although you'll never be able to get rid of shedding entirely. There are many dog grooming supplies that have been created specifically to fight the unwanted loose hair that seems to fall off your dog constantly.
A build up of fur can cause many problems. Not only is it a household mess, it can cause clogged and infected pores. Using a deshedding tool will remove excess hair from your dog’s coat – a plus for both of you. It’s best to use deshedding tools before bathing; otherwise, the water in your tub will become a fur swamp, and the drain can easily become stopped up.
Brush in the direction of the fur. Use the deshedding tool after your dog is completely dry to ensure you haven’t missed any problem areas before clipping. Don’t forget to use the deshedder on the sides, undercoat, and ruff (the hair around your dog’s neck). The sides of your dog are the easiest to brush, and they are the most likely targets for excess fur.
RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Best Dog Deshedding Tools
The deshedder should be used after brushing and removing mats and tangles, as that will make it easier to run the tool through your dog’s coat. Long-haired and double-coated dogs will likely require the most work in deshedding. Certain breeds, like Huskies, are notorious for the amount of fur they shed in the spring.
FURminator de Shedding Tool and FurVac Comb
A combination deshedder and vacuum tool, this combo is excellent for dogs with long hair. A pet vacuum may seem like one of the oddest dog grooming supplies, but it’s actually very useful for containing the excess hair from your dog’s coat. The hair the deshedder pulls out is suctioned through a hose attached to your vacuum.
The hose has two removable heads and can be used on any type of coat – double or single. Use the deshedding tool first to loosen the excess hair and then use the vacuum to suction it up and out. It may take a bit of training before your pet allows you to use this tool, but once you get him used to the noise of the vacuum cleaner he'll probably really enjoy being groomed with the FURminator de Shedding Tool and FurVac Comb.
MIU COLOR Professional Pet Grooming Undercoat Rake Comb
This tool works well on any size dog and is especially made to tackle the undercoat. It’s double-sided with rounded teeth that won’t scrape your dog’s skin. The MIU COLOR Professional Pet Grooming Undercoat Rake Comb will thoroughly comb through your dog’s coat. It also features one-piece construction — much sturdier and less prone to breaking.
The double-sided comb means it will be comfortable to hold whether you're right- or left-handed. The comfortable handle has an ergonomic design and a rubber grip to reduce hand fatigue. The rubber grip also keeps the comb from slipping out of your hands.
Petica Veterinary-Approved Deshedding Tool
This deshedder is wider than most other dog grooming supplies of its kind. With its 100mm stainless steel teeth, the Petica Veterinary-Approved Deshedding Tool is thorough but won’t harm your dog’s skin. It’s excellent for topcoats, pairing well with the MIU tool, and it’s also a regular brush. Because the teeth are small and fine, this tool also combs through matted fur.
This, and the other two deshedding tools mentioned, will make life easier for you and your dog. Shedding can be difficult to deal with, especially if you like a clean, hair-free house. Deshedders can be used daily, not just at bath time.
The deshedders and the other brushes and combs we’ve recommended will keep your house clean and make your dog more comfortable.
It's Doggy Bath Time!
Time to suds up! Give your dog a bath somewhere where you can get the floor wet and then cleaned up without too much trouble — we advise not using a carpeted area. Your shower or bathtub is a good idea, but we’ll also give you recommendations for dog grooming supplies for doggy bathtubs that you can connect to a hose and spray your pet the way you would a car.
Know your dog’s coat type before shampooing. If your dog has a double coat, he will need extra scrubbing The undercoat on his belly can get fairly dirty, so pay particular attention to that area. Since you’ve brushed beforehand, you’ve probably gotten the loose dirt out, so shampooing should get the rest.
When shampooing your dog, you want to make sure you wash all the places that need it without irritating his sensitive areas. Start from the top and work your way down, making sure to get from the roots of the hair all the way to the end of the hair shaft. As with human hair, the roots of your dog’s hair can get clogged with oil, dirt, or other debris that can lead to inflamed hair follicles. These are quite painful.
There are also bath and shower kits for dogs that combine everything you need into one easy kit.
You’ll know if your dog has one — he’ll yelp when you touch that spot. The best way to prevent clogged hair follicles is to be an efficient shampooer. No, it’s not a skill you can put on your resume (we wish), but as a pet owner, it’s a pretty important thing.
Avoid your dog’s eyes, nose, and ears when shampooing him. Water in the ear canal can be painful and the potential source of an ear infection.
A tip for keeping water out of the ear is to place large cotton balls in your dog’s ear canal ─ gently and just barely in them ─ to block any water. Make sure to wash behind the ears and clean any dirt outside the ears as well.
RELATED: The Best Dog Shampoo Review
Your dog’s skin and coat type matter. The shampoos we suggest below are all designed for sensitive skin. However, if your dog has certain skin conditions and even these shampoos irritate him, we’ll make recommendations for medicated shampoos later. Regardless of which shampoo you use, your dog’s bath water should be lukewarm, not hot. Dogs are more sensitive to hot temperatures than humans, so nice, lukewarm water will do just fine.
Burt’s Bees for Dogs Hypoallergenic Shampoo
Burt’s Bees shampoo is 97% natural and contains honey and beeswax (that’s the “bees” part), shea butter, and xanthan gum, which is plant-based. The gum thickens your dog’s coat, and the honey and shea butter will make it shiny. Because it’s hypoallergenic, your dog should not have any problems with it unless he’s allergic to any of the natural ingredients.
The shea butter also moisturizes, and in the winter when dry skin season is upon us, moisture is a must. Burt's Bees for Dogs Hypoallergenic Shampoo is free of synthetic fragrances. It leaves a light fresh scent behind thanks to the natural ingredients, and that's it – no overpowering perfumes. It is a strong cleanser while still be gentle on your pet's skin.
OmegaPet Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin
Absent any obvious problem such as fleas, the most common cause of itching in dogs is dry skin. For that reason, there are many dog grooming supplies that are specially formulated to treat this condition. The oatmeal in OmegaPet Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin contains avenanthramides, well known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-itch and anti-irritant properties.
Be aware – If your dog has a grain allergy, you should not use any products on his skin containing oatmeal as they will likely cause an allergic reaction.
This shampoo also contains aloe vera, known for its soothing properties. The fats in oatmeal moisturize dry skin while aloe vera lubricates it. The anti-inflammatory properties reduce the discomfort caused by scratching. It gently cleans your dog's skin and coat and won’t further irritate his skin. It may even help in its healing. This product contains no additives or preservatives.
Perfect Coat Natural Oatmeal Shampoo
This is another oatmeal-based shampoo, but it also contains vanilla and “microencapsulated liposomes,” which are basically bubbles that deliver nutrients to the cells. The nutrients in this shampoo are dermatologically beneficial, and the shampoo provides moisturizing agents that help with irritation, itchiness, and even dandruff. It also rinses easily, reducing the time spent grooming.
Perfect Coat Natural Oatmeal Shampoo will leave your pet smelling like vanilla. It is formulated for all coat types, which is a huge bonus if you have multiple dogs. Just like the OmegaPet shampoo, the oatmeal in this product works to soothe irritate skin while also moisturizing the coat.
Isle of Dogs Everyday Shampoo
This shampoo is specially formulated for Yorkies, beagles and spaniels. It detangles the coat and cleanses it, leaving a jasmine and vanilla fragrance. This line of products also carries a spray that helps detangle your dog’s hair and makes his coat shinier. It contains a touch of aloe as well.
This dog shampoo is formulated with panthenol and aloe leaf juice to help strengthen the hair and increase its resiliency. This will protect your pet’s coat from being damaged. Isle of Dogs Everyday Shampoo also contains ExtenScent, a natural odor-neutralizing complex that is supposed to extend the freshness of your dog’s coat after his bath.
Conditioning your dog’s coat will make it sleek and shiny. It will soften his hair and make it easier to comb before trimming. Conditioners often contain extra nutrients not found in shampoos. When conditioning, make sure to spread the conditioner from the skin to the tip of the hair strand. Be aware that overusing conditioner or using too much, especially if you don’t rinse it out completely, may leave your dog’s coat limp and gummy.
EarthBath All Natural Aloe and Oatmeal Conditioner
This conditioner is biodegradable and cruelty-free — it wasn’t tested on animals. It’s also free of soap, so it won’t irritate your dog’s skin or sensitive areas. Along with aloe and oatmeal, it contains almond, which softens and moisturizes the skin much like coconut oil and other organic substances. In addition to its biodegradability, it is a gentle but effective conditioner.
This shine enhancing conditioner effectively enriches, detangles and revives your dog's coat. EarthBath All Natural Aloe and Oatmeal Conditioner is made with colloidal oatmeal, which helps remoisturize and soothe skin too. Just remember, if your pet has a grain allergy you'll need to look for dog grooming supplies that do not contain oatmeal.
AvoDerm Natural Skin Conditioner
This conditioner helps with itching and is good on almost any type of coat. It contains avocado oil, which has fatty acids to lubricate the skin and make it healthier. Avocados also contain anti-inflammatory properties, making AvoDerm Natural Skin Conditioner beneficial for dogs who suffer from skin inflammation or discomfort, including inflamed or infected hair follicles.
This conditioner should be massaged into your dog’s coat and skin so that he gets the full dermatological benefit. It removes tangles and adds fullness to the coat. It's formulated for dogs and cats, making it one of the best dog grooming supplies for multi-pet households.
Everyday Isle of Dogs Conditioner
This is the companion to Everyday Isle of Dogs Shampoo. It works wonders for tangled hair or hair that is prone to mats. It’s jasmine and vanilla scented, and it moisturizes and protects your dog’s skin and hair. Everyday Isle of Dogs Conditioner also contains leaf juice, which makes it botanically charged, providing moisture and healthy nutrients to your dog’s skin and coat.
Using a shampoo and conditioner makes the most out of your dog’s bath. Conditioners add a touch of softness and silkiness to your dog’s hair that shampoo, although certainly very beneficial in its own right, can’t do. It will leave your dog smelling fresh and clean — it’s the royal treatment.
Prescription Dog Hair and Skin Products
Not only does extra-dry skin sometimes require a special shampoo, more serious conditions such as dermatitis, impetigo, folliculitis, eczema, and seborrhea require a prescription shampoo. We can recommend certain prescription shampoos and conditioners, but be sure to check with your vet about what to use.
Every dog is different, which means that just because one prescription shampoo worked for your friend's dog doesn't necessarily mean it will work for yours. Your veterinarian will know your dog's health condition and medical history. She'll be able to recommend a product that will help clear up your pet's skin condition without causing any unusual side effects.
DOUXO Chlorhexidine PS
This line of products was specifically created for dermatitis — inflammation that can take the form of itchy, swollen, reddened, oozing, crusty or flaky skin. It’s antiseptic and comes in several forms, including spray, mousse, medication-infused pads and shampoo. DOUXO Chlorhexidine PS also helps manage pyoderma — pustules on the skin — as well as bacteria and yeast infections.
The product is gentle enough that it can be used on sensitive skin, and it leaves a residue to protect from future infections. It is formulated with an antiseptic foaming solution. DOUXO Chlorhexidine PS protects the skin from further irritation and loss of moisture.
Vetoquinol Seba-Hex Shampoo
This shampoo helps treat and eliminate seborrheic cysts caused by the overproduction of sebum. It tackles the problem at the bacterial level, keeping your dog’s follicles and pores unclogged. This is one of the best dog grooming supplies, as it has a pleasant smell and can be used on both dogs and cats.
Medicated shampoos, like Vetoquinol Seba-Hex Shampoo, are typically formulated to treat a specific skin condition. You should never use a shampoo like this before consulting with your veterinarian. The chemicals used in these shampoos may end up doing more damage to your dog's skin and coat if they aren't formulated for his needs.
DermaPet Benzoyl Peroxide Plus Shampoo
DermaPet Benzoyl Peroxide Plus Shampoo is formulated to manage hot spots, pyodermas (skin infections), acne, greasy skin, lick granulomas, staph infections, oily seborrhea, and skin fold infections. This medicated shampoo helps heal a smelly, scaly coat. It reduces the irritation and inflammation, but can’t be used for conditions caused by fleas and ticks.
This dog shampoo contains both sulfur and salicylic acid in an all natural base. It also includes a natural, herbal fragrance and moisturizers to keep your dog's skin healthy. This shampoo also contains Vitamin E, one of the world's best antioxidants.
RELATED READ: 5 Best Puppy Shampoo for Young Dogs
Remember, only your vet can decide if your dog needs a medicated shampoo or one of the many other dog grooming products available for skin and coat conditions. It’s important to see your vet immediately if you believe your dog has a skin problem. Using regular shampoo or conditioner could worsen the condition.
Now we’ll discuss what you can use if you’re not too keen on the idea of sharing shower or bath space with your dog. Don’t worry! There are some products for that.
Dog Bathtubs and Stands
We get it. Your space is your space, so having a furry, messy dog in it might not be something you want. Luckily, there are bathtubs and shower kits designed to easily fit into a space near a hose. This helps you give your dog a good scrubbing with as little mess as possible.
Booster Bath Large Dog Wash
Made for large breeds, the plastic Booster Bath Large Dog Wash comes in two easy snap-on pieces and can be put on a stand to prevent having to bend over to bathe your dog. The drainage hose makes cleanup simple. Make sure that you follow the directions exactly when assembling the tub; otherwise, it might collapse under the weight of a big dog.
This dog tub is portable and lightweight making it easy to move from indoors to outside. Because it is a freestanding tub, you will have 360-degree access to wash your pet. This dog bath is also made in the U.S.A.
Pet Gear Pup-Tub
For smaller dogs, we recommend this small, convenient bathtub. The tub has a rubber bottom and rubber pads at the feet, minimizing the risk of slippage. It works best on dogs weighing less than 20 pounds and contains tethers that will hold your dog in place while you wash him.
The drain feature is easy to assemble and use, further reducing stress during bath time. The Pet Gear Pup-Tub has built-in containers to hold shampoos, conditioners, and other necessities. The tub measures 30 inches x 18 inches x 19 inches.
Dog Sponges to Splurge On
You may want to consider using a sponge to bathe your dog. Sponges are one of the best dog grooming supplies to have as they hold more lather and suds, so it helps spread the shampoo and conditioner through your dog’s coat. Sponges are easier on your hands, and they’re convenient. To make sure they’re gentle to your dog’s skin, they need to be high quality.
Spongeables Haute Dog Bath Buffer
This “spa in a sponge” contains a shampoo and conditioner in one easy-to-apply product. It is infused with natural PH balanced shampoo to leave your Fido with a clean and shiny coat. This shampoo includes tea tree oil, a plant oil that soothes agitated skin, and aloe vera. The sponge is made from a soft material yet is durable.
Each of these Spongeables Haute Dog Bath Buffer sponges lasts for six baths, but usually they can be used more times than that – it will vary depending on your dog's coat and the length of the bath that you give him.
Decker Body Sponge for Dogs
With no fancy packaging, this sponge isn’t much to look at, but it gets the job done well. It’s very absorbent because of its open pores, but the sponge is soft enough that it won’t be rough on your dog’s skin.
The Decker Body Sponge for Dogs is more than six inches long, making it large enough to use on even the biggest dogs. It’s easy to clean and durable, making this a wise purchase for your dog grooming supplies kit.
Now that we’ve discussed shampoos, conditioners, and sponges, it’s time to move from bath grooming products to the next section of our dog grooming supplies recommendations ─ tools for drying.
Drying Dogs After Baths
No one likes to be left out in the cold after a nice, warm bath even if they have fur. Drying your dog with regular towels can be time consuming and labor intensive, especially if your breed is large or has long hair. Microfiber towels absorb more water than other towels, will save you time and energy and will keep your dog from freezing.
Dry gently if your dog has arthritis or osteoporosis as jostling is painful and can exacerbate those conditions. He might be a little more sensitive to cool air after a bath and would appreciate a warm towel and blanket. Invest in super-absorbent towels that dry him quickly and efficiently, leaving you plenty of time for the rest of the grooming.
DII Bone Dry Microfiber Bath Towel
This towel measures 44 by 27 ½ inches, so it’s suitable for even a large dog. It has a paw print that is embroidered on the front, and it can also be used as a blanket or car seat cover. This dog towel is absorbent, easy to clean and comes in many colors including black, blue, gray, green, pink red and taupe.
This towel works well with all coat types. The stitching of the DII Done Dry Microfiber Bath Towel is top-notch, so frays and tears are unlikely. You can even put it in your dog’s kennel, so he’ll have a warm, cozy bed. We recommend this as one of the best dog grooming supplies because of its effectiveness when drying and its versatility.
Luv & Emma's Dry Pets
Check out Samantha's video review of Luv & Emma’s dry pets towel for dogs.
This unique towel is equipped with a patented integrated stretchable opening that can adjust to hang on virtually any doorknob. It's soft, super absorbent and dries quickly. It also has a cute paw print design, so you won't have to worry about mixing your towel up with your dog's towel.
Amazingly, Luv & Emma's Dry Pets towel for dogs can hold up to 16 ounces of water. It is hand sewn in the U.S.A. and can be machine washed. You can also upgrade to the Dry Pets Plus if you have multiple dogs or an extra-large breed.
Messy Mutts Chanille Microfiber Pet Drying Mat & Towel
This amazing dog drying towel can hold up to 7 times its own weight in water and measures 20 by 32 inches. You won't have to worry about a soaking wet towel dripping on your floor all the way to the laundry room.
There are convenient hand pockets on each side that allow you to dry your pet more efficiently. The Messy Mutts Chanille Microfiber Pet Drying Mat & Towel also made of 100% microfiber, so it's soft and gentle on your pet's skin.
Dog Hair Dryers
It’s not a bad idea to use a hair dryer, but make sure your dog isn’t afraid of them. They are rather loud and roaring and might scare your dog. It’s important to let them shake and sling the water (take cover — they’re going to do it anyway) and then use a towel. Drying them this way shortens the time needed for the hair dryer.
Go Pet Club 2 Speed Adjustable Temp Pet Dryer
You can experiment with the two speeds of this hair dryer and see which your dog prefers — or which he dislikes the least. The temperature is adjustable as well, so you can easily make sure it’s not too hot for him.
The Go Pet Club 2 Speed Adjustable Temp Pet Dryer looks like a miniature vacuum, but instead of sucking in air, it blows it out. It has two hoses as well, and the dryer is “low noise.” It’s worth a shot to try this pet dryer ─ they’re made with skittish dogs in mind.
Andis Gentle Dry Low Watt Pet Dryer
This dryer looks more like a human, handheld hair dryer except it’s quieter and lower voltage. The manufacturer describes this particular tool as “perfect for show dogs.” There are two different temperature settings as well as two different speeds.
The Andis Gentle Dry Low Watt Pet Dryer offers compactness that doesn’t take away from its efficiency, but it probably works better on small dogs.
Andis Comfort Dry Dryer
This dryer blows more strongly. It has a higher voltage, and it’s “ionic,” meaning it works by blasting the water molecules apart instead of drying the hair all at once. The Andis Comfort Dry Dryer also uses infrared heat.
Despite all these cool features, it’s still fairly quiet – although if your dog is really spooked by noise, you may want to try the lower-watt Andis mentioned above.
RELATED: 10 Best Pet Dryers for Dogs
So, you’ve given your dog a good brushing, a bath, and a quick comb through, and now he’s dry and ready to go. It’s time to move on to the next step: clipping!
Dog Hair Clipping and Styling
Never thought of yourself as a hairstylist? Surprise! Today’s your lucky day! Trimming and styling a dog’s hair is fairly easy, as long as you have the right dog grooming supplies. Don’t set your mind on failure, because with the products we recommend, your dog will look stellar.
What do I clip first? Second? Third …?
It doesn’t matter whether you use electric clippers or silent ones, the basic steps in clipping your dog are the same. Start clipping from the neck to the back of the front leg on one side and then switch to the other side.
Clip your dog’s back legs and hindquarters, being especially careful with the sensitive areas or leaving them for a professional. Finally, clip his underbelly, which is usually dirtier than the rest of him. The hair on the underbelly can be clipped shorter than the rest of your dog.
The last thing you should clip is the head. Your dog will probably be used to any of the dog clippers by then, and you will have had some practice handling them (dog and clippers). Again, the face is usually better left to a professional, but if you feel you can do it, start at the bridge of your dog’s nose and work your way downward. Detail and delicate work may call for trimmers. They’re small enough to maneuver around the eyes, nose, and ears.
Your dog’s hairstyle
Your breed of dog is supposed to look a certain way, and you want him to at least come close to that hairstyle. Look at pictures of dogs from his breed so that you get an idea of the range of styles to try. If your dog is a mixed breed, looking at the styles of the various breeds will give you an idea of what might look good on him. You also might get an idea of his heritage.
RELATED READ: Best Professional Dog Clippers for Grooming
The most basic haircut is the “puppy style,” a uniform hair length all over the body, usually around two inches or so. This cut is good for hot weather and is very convenient. You can also make your dog look fierce with a “lion cut,” short hair on the body but left long on the face and head. You can even leave a tuft at the end of the tail.
Unless advised to by your vet, don’t shave your dog. His coat provides insulation against cold and heat. If your vet does advise you to shave your dog for medical reasons, have a professional do it. Shaving your dog is serious business. You could cut him, and clipper burn happens very easily when an amateur does the shaving (we'll talk about that later).
What not to style
Your dog’s sensitive areas — the ear canal, anus, mouth, and eyes — are very difficult (and dangerous) to shave or even just to clip, and should be done by a professional. After you feel experienced at grooming the rest of your dog, perhaps you could find a professional groomer to show you how to clip these sensitive areas.
Be aware, however, that many groomers will not be willing to teach you, especially if their income is dependent on the number of dogs they groom. A groomer associated with your vet’s office might be your best bet.
Types of Dog Clippers
Your first consideration should be your dog’s fear level when it comes to noise. If he is terrified, he could jerk away risking injury to himself or to you. Electric clippers will always make some noise, and only you can decide if your dog’s reaction can be overcome with training or if you should avoid this battle in favor of other, more important training.
That being said, let’s look at the types of clippers available.
Electric Dog Clippers
When using electric clippers, the final length of your dog’s hair is determined by the size of the clipper’s blade — the more blade, the less hair. Go nice and easy. Clipping too fast will make your dog’s coat look sloppy and leave clipper lines in his hair.
Wahl U-Clip Deluxe Pro Home Pet Grooming Kit
These clippers are Amazon’s number one selling dog-grooming clippers. They run at 7,200 strokes per minute, but they’re not as loud as you would think such a powerful motor would be. The sixteen-piece kit comes with the clippers, seven color-coded attachment guide combs, a pet styling comb, a how-to video, a vinyl apron to protect your clothes, scissors, blade oil, blade guard and a cleaning brush to keep your clipper blade in good shape.
All of these dog grooming supplies are kept neatly in a reusable storage case. The blades of the Wahl U-Clip Deluxe Pro Home Pet Grooming Kit are made of steel and won’t rust or become defective. This clipper works best on fine to medium coats.
Andis Pet Super 2-Speed Professional Clipper with Locking Blade
This clipper comes with two blades, an UltraEdge and a CeramicEdge, and are a hardy stainless steel. There are two speed choices, and the blade drive is 4×4, meaning that the motor is powerful yet quiet. The clipper is easy to clean and simple to take apart.
Though the blades should be oiled regularly, the internal structure of the Andis Pet Super 2-Speed Professional Clipper with Locking Blade doesn’t need maintenance very often. The clipper can be used to do quick touch-ups on the face and head.
FURminator Comfort Pro Electric Clippers
This clipper is part of a twelve-piece set. The blades are stainless steel and very precise. The technology is such that it won’t overheat (although you should always check to make sure — any clipper can be defective).
The FURminator Comfort Pro Electric Clippers work on longer or shorter coats, from silky texture to medium, but with its Power Glide motor, you’ll be able to clip even thick coats. The vibration and sound of this clipper are low enough that it shouldn’t scare your dog.
Silent Dog Clippers
If your dog is scared of noise, using electric clippers with their whirring sound might be a bad move. If your dog hates electric clippers, and you can’t accustom him to them through training, their use may mean a battle every time you groom him. You can overcome that problem with silent clippers.
Silent clippers are not motorized, so there is no sound, but they could mean a little more work for you as you have to readjust the guide comb for the strands you cut. With the right dog grooming supplies, however, manual clipping, while not as fast as using electric clippers, can be easier and more efficient than you think.
RELATED ARTICLE: 3 Best Silent Dog Clippers for Grooming Noise-Free
The Scaredy Cut Silent Pet Clipper
These scissors come in a kit with seven different combs, each for a particular cut. To operate them, simply lock the comb in place and clip each lock of hair. They have removable gel inserts to prevent your fingers from getting sore, and the scissors themselves are very durable and sturdy. There is a tension adjustment knob as well to increase or decrease flexibility depending on what you need.
One blade is serrated, and the other is a straight-edge. The Scaredy Cut Silent Pet Clipper kit also contains a silent pet trimmer, the Tiny Trim. It measures only 4 ½ inches and is especially designed for the head and facial area. You might even want to use the Tiny Trim with a motorized clipper. Use the Tiny Trim for the details, while the electric clippers do the rest.
Trimmers for Dog Hair
While clippers, either electric or silent, are great for grooming most of your dog, some areas — the head, face, and tail areas — require a careful and more precise touch. Trimmers are much smaller than clippers and can easily access these delicate areas without the risk of large clippers.
Wahl Touch-Up Pet Trimmer
This touch-up trimmer is made for the finishing touches of clipping or for use in sensitive areas. Its contoured design makes it easy to hold. It has six positions and an attachment comb with a blade delicate enough to maneuver easily, yet powerful enough to remove fur quickly.
The Wahl Touch-Up Pet Trimmer is not made for clipping your whole dog. This trimmer is powerful, quiet and creates 5,000 strokes per minute. It has a 40 minute cordless run time.
Oster Cordless Pocket Trimmer
Perfect for grooming around the ears, eyes, nose and neck, this cordless trimmer will fit in the palm of your hand and run up to three hours on a AA battery. The Oster Cordless Pocket Trimmer kit includes a safety comb attachment, blade oil and blade brush.
It’s designed for detail work and runs quietly to avoid scaring your dog. This trimmer weighs less than .5 pound and fits nicely in the palm of your hand to reduce fatigue while grooming.
Wahl Lithium Ion Pro Series Clipper
This clipper’s blades are “tug-free” to avoid them tangling in your dog’s fur. The blade is small enough to maneuver around your dog’s face and ears with ease, and it works for longer hair that is tangle- or knot-prone.
The Wahl Lithium Ion Pro Series Clipper includes a storage case, four attachment combs, scissors, a blade guard, a regular comb, cleaning oil and a brush for the blade. Although smaller, it’s an efficient, affordable piece of dog grooming supplies.
Grooming Dog's Eyes, Ears and Nails
Your dog’s ears, eyes, and nails shouldn’t be overlooked in your grooming adventure. In this section, we’ll explain the procedure for grooming each of them and what you can do to make sure they’re in tip-top shape. We’ll also give you recommendations for dog grooming supplies to help your dog look his best.
Grooming Dog Nails
Before doing anything, it’s important to review one of the most important parts of nail clipping: what not to clip. The quick is the part of the nail closest to the paw. It contains blood vessels and nerve endings. The rest of the nail is a hard surface without nerve endings, which is why it doesn’t hurt your dog to get his nails clipped as long as you stay out of the quick.
RELATED ARTICLE: Best Dog Nail Clippers for Home Groomers
Depending on the color of your dog’s nails, the quick can be seen easily. It will be pink or red in dogs with translucent or light-colored nails. It’s a little more difficult to spot in dark nails, but you can take a flashlight or penlight and press it to the back of your dog’s nail to get a better view. The quick will be darker and more easily seen. Make a mental note of the quick's end or mark it with a pen and don’t trim too close to it.
Regardless of how careful you are, accidents happen. If you inadvertently clip the quick of your dog’s nail, he’ll let you know. The first thing to do is stop the bleeding. This should be done as soon as possible. Luckily, there are products out there that can help. Probably the best is styptic powder.
Gold Medal Pets Stop Bleeding Styptic Powder
This clotting powder will help dry blood quickly. It’s also safe for humans. Groomers use it when they accidentally cut into the quick of the nail or while clipping the coat. It contains bentonite, which absorbs liquid, as well as potassium aluminum, which is also used for its absorption properties.
Apply the Gold Medal Pets Stop Bleeding Styptic Powder and then apply moderate pressure to help stop the flow of blood. It will stop the bleeding in seconds. If the bleeding continues or begins again, you can apply another coat of styptic powder.
Cardinal Laboratories Remedy and Recovery Professional Grooming Powder
This powder has many of the same ingredients as Gold Medal Powder. It’s safe and easy to use — you can apply it by hand or with a pre-moistened cotton swab. Cardinal Laboratories Remedy and Recovery Professional Grooming Powder stops bleeding within seconds.
If you cannot get the bleeding to stop after applying moderate pressure for a few minutes, call your vet. The wound could be deeper than you realize, and your dog may need medical attention.
Quick Tip: You may have to bribe your dog with treats to clip his nails. Clip one nail and give him a treat. Clip the next nail and give him a treat. He will begin to associate nail clipping with something tasty and fun.
Safari Professional Large Nail Trimmer for Dogs
This nail trimmer will handle the thicker, tougher nails of large breeds. It’s made from stainless steel and is impervious to rust. The cutting edge is sharp enough to take a quick, clean swipe from the nail, and there is a safety stop to prevent you from trimming too much of the nail.
The ergonomic handles of the Safari Professional Large Nail Trimmer for Dogs are easy to grip – always a plus when working with sharp equipment.
Epica Professional Nail Clipper
This nail clipper is suitable for medium and large nails, and because of its blade spacing, it can handle even the thickest nails. The clipper has a sharp, precise edge for detailed clipping and rubber handles that make them easy to grip.
These Epica Professional Nail Clippers are also equipped with a lock to prevent them from taking too much nail off. They come with a lifetime warranty as well.
Pet Magasin Nail Clippers
These clippers are also durable enough to clip the nails of any size dog. The stainless steel blade is .28 inches thick and is as sharp as manufacturing processes can achieve. The safety stop prevents any injuries, and there is a small plate attached beneath the blade to prevent overcutting. The handle of the Pet Magasin Nail Clippers is slip-resistant and designed to decrease hand fatigue.
Grooming Dog Ears
Your dog’s ears are very sensitive, and you need to look for signs of infection when grooming him (as well as at other times). Water in your dog’s ear canal can cause an ear infection. Be especially careful during bath time to keep water out of his ears — you can use a cotton ball placed just inside of each ear to absorb water.
If your dog starts exhibiting signs of infection or irritation — repeatedly scratching his ear; rubbing it on furniture or the floor; a brown, yellowish, or bloody discharge; a bad smell coming from his ear; hair loss around his ear; redness or swelling; loss of balance; shaking his head frequently; or crusty skin around his ear flap — take him to the vet as soon as possible for treatment of what is probably an ear infection.
It might be an infestation of mites rather than an infection, but those also need treatment as soon as they’re seen. They cause a maddening itch.
A prescription from your vet will be necessary to treat ear infections. However, if it’s only irritation rather than infection, he may okay over-the-counter treatment. Be sure to ask him. Do not leave your dog’s ears to heal themselves. An untreated ear infection can lead to hearing loss.
Zymox Ear Solution with Hydrocortisone
This solution is the number-one best seller in ear care for dogs. It is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and helps eliminate pus, debris, dirt, and other contaminants that may be lurking in your dog’s ear canal. It’s often used to treat yeast infections or bacterial buildup.
Zymox Ear Solution with Hydrocortisone is soothing and helps calm inflammation and pain. You can use this product for weeks at a time, which may be necessary for a severe ear infection. Zymox also makes an ear cleanser, but you should not use both products at the same time.
Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleanser
This cleanser contains anti-adhesives, which prevent microbes from attaching to your dog’s ear canal, and .2% salicylic acid, which reduces swelling, inflammation, and pain. Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleanser is used to treat swelling and inflammation of the ear caused by infection. It can be used on puppies over 12 weeks of age.
EcoEars Dog Ear Cleaner
All-natural dog grooming supplies are ideal. The all-natural ingredients in this product remove obstacles that may be blocking your dog’s ear canal. It contains no pharmaceuticals, steroids, synthetic chemicals, or antibiotics and can be used on puppies more than three months old.
EcoEars Dog Ear Cleaner is formulated specifically to treat infections but also eliminates odor, itching, mites, and fungus.
Grooming Dog Eyes
In this section, we’ll discuss one of the most common eye ailments ─ tear stains as a result of discharge from your dog’s eyes. Discharge is not uncommon and can mean many things — allergies, a birth defect, disease, a foreign body in the eye or even a tumor. Before taking any action with dog grooming supplies, it’s important to consult your vet.
If the condition is more than just simple tear stains, he'll need medical treatment. Some conditions can result in blindness if left untreated or treated inappropriately. What you may think are tear stains could actually be discharge from an eye infection or allergy.
Clear eye discharge leaves tear stains on your dog’s face. The stains can be any color, but usually are reddish-brown, and they can smell. Some breeds — Pekingese, pug, shih-tzu, and Maltese — are more prone to clear discharge and the resulting stain because of the shape of their face.
Regardless of the cause, tear stains are unsightly and mar your dog’s otherwise beautiful face. If the stains can’t be removed with a damp cotton ball, you’ll probably need the help of dog grooming supplies made specifically for this problem.
OmegaPet Tear Stain Remover
This product contains coconut oil and palm oil and will help clear any stain around your dog’s eyes. It won’t sting or burn if it comes in contact with his eyes, but you should avoid that as much as possible.
Although gentle, OmegaPet Tear Stain Remover is very strong and effective and safe for repeated use. Using a cotton ball, apply the solution to the fur around your dog’s eyes. You should notice a difference after the few applications.
Fresh Paws LLC Tear Stain Remover
Fresh Paws LLC Tear Stain Remover has no sulfates, alcohols or toxic chemicals. The formula won’t cause an adverse reaction if it comes in contact with skin, eyes or hair but absolutely should not be ingested.
Angels’ Eyes Tear Stain Remover Wipes
These wipes contain juniper berry oil, which helps get rid of the unsightly stains in a natural way. They can be used daily and are safe for puppies older than three months. Angels’ Eyes has also formulated an edible powder to help prevent tear stains if you think that may be easier to use.
The natural formulas in Angels' Eyes Tear Stain Remover Wipes prevent damage to your dog’s eyes. Their unique formula requires no rinsing, so they are one of the easiest dog grooming supplies for taking away tear stains.
We’ve discussed all the basic dog grooming supplies and techniques so far, from the coat to the details, but we want you to have a quick reference guide too.
Next up ─ frequently asked questions about dog grooming and dog grooming supplies. At the end of the questions, we’ll discuss the importance of organic products.
Dog Grooming Accidents and What to Do
Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, accidents happen. You can unintentionally cut or scrape your dog or burn him with the clippers. In this section, we’ll give you a brief overview of accidents that can happen, how to treat them and a few more dog grooming supplies recommendations.
However, if the wound is serious, if it bleeds profusely or won’t stop bleeding, or is anything other than a very minor cut or burn, consult your vet. And as always, talk to your vet about anything else that concerns or confuses you.
Doggy Cuts and Scrapes
Along with clipper burn (discussed below), the most common accidental injuries are cuts and scrapes. Depending on how serious they are, you may be able to treat them yourself at home. Remember, if you're concerned for any reason seeking medical care is always advised.
When clipping your dog’s hair, you should always use a blade guard to prevent accidental injury if you should slip. Blade guards are usually included with clippers. If one is not included with the pair you’ve chosen, you should look for clippers that do come with a blade guard, as they usually have to fit particular clippers and cannot be purchased separately.
Regular maintenance of your clippers is also necessary, especially oiling. A dull clipper blade or a clipper that isn’t being maintained properly can cause damage to your dog’s coat and skin.
We are talking about the equivalent of a scraped knee or shallow cut here. Even minor wounds should be dealt with promptly and cleaned with the proper dog grooming supplies, before infection sets in. If the skin around the wound is inflamed or pus is visible, more aggressive treatment than what you can provide at home is probably needed. Any injury that fully penetrates the skin (e.g., a bite wound) and/or involves a large portion of the body or an especially sensitive area should receive immediate veterinary attention.
If you have any doubts as to the severity of your pet’s injury, play it safe and make an appointment with your veterinarian. Only attempt wound care if you are confident that a pet will not react aggressively to the procedure. If need be, recruit an assistant to help with restraint, and use a muzzle.
Dog Supplies Needed
You should always have a dog first aid kit on hand if you have pets. These can come in very handy, even if you don't groom your pet at home. You can purchase a kit at your local pet store or make your own by throwing a few dog grooming supplies and other essential items into a small bag. Essential supplies include:
- Water-based lubricant (e.g., KY jelly – not Vaseline)
- Electric clippers, scissors, or razor
- Warm water
- Clean towels (paper or cloth)
- Antiseptic solution
- Antimicrobial ointment
Steps to Follow When Accidents Happen
1. Place a small dog on a table or counter in front of you or get down on the ground with a large dog. Have a second person gently restrain the pet if necessary.
2. Cover the wound and surrounding area with a water-based lubricant. This makes removing shaved hair from the wound much easier and decreases contamination.
3. Use electric clippers to shave the hair from around the wound. Scissors or a disposable razor can be used with extreme caution to avoid cutting the skin.
4. Wipe the water-based lubricant and hair away with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel.
5. Wash the area with warm water until all visible debris is gone, then pat dry.
6. Apply a non-stinging antiseptic solution to the area. Chlorhexidine is cheap, extremely effective, and readily available. A 2% solution will limit tissue irritation but 4% solutions are also widely used. Chlorhexidine is ideal because it kills the types of bacteria and yeast that are most commonly associated with skin infections in dogs and cats.
7. Apply an antimicrobial ointment to the wound. Traumatic injuries are best treated with a broad spectrum topical antibiotic like those containing bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin B. If yeast is of primary concern, for example in dogs with allergies that develop moist dermatitis, miconazole ointment is a good choice.
8. Prevent the pet from licking the ointment off his skin for at least ten minutes; longer is even better. But do not apply a bandage over the area.
9. Two to three times a day, clean away debris (if necessary) and apply the antiseptic and ointment until the skin is healed.
If the wound worsens at any time or fails to resolve within a week, consult a veterinarian.
Dog Clipper Burns
Clipper burn, the same thing as razor burn in humans, is also a common injury sustained while clipping and may not become obvious for hours or even days later. Although it’s usually caused by using clippers that have become too hot, either from a defect or overuse, it can also happen by going over an area more than once and irritating the underlying skin.
If clipping has irritated an area, the burn may not become obvious to you, but your dog can feel it and will repeatedly lick the area trying to get rid of the irritation. Eventually he will end up with sores that can become infected. He’ll probably need antibiotics to treat the infection and perhaps even an Elizabethan collar to prevent him from licking the area until it heals. Check your clippers frequently while grooming your dog to make sure they haven’t overheated.
First-, second-, third-, and fourth-degree burns
Clipper burn is generally a first-degree burn — it doesn’t break the skin. The skin may be red and hot to the touch, but it is intact. A second-degree burn affects the outer two layers of the skin and is known as a “partial thickness” burn. It will have blisters and skin that looks shiny and wet. Your dog will exhibit extreme pain if you touch the area.
Third-degree burns are full-thickness burns. The burn actually reaches through the first two layers of skin – the epidermis and the dermis. The area will look white, leathery, charred, and waxy. You’re unlikely to cause a third-degree burn unless you press the clippers on your dog’s skin and hold them there. He will likely yelp and struggle to get away from the clippers, which should alert you to what you’re doing.
Once the burn has gone through the first two layers of skin, your dog will probably not feel the burn because it destroys the nerves. Fourth-degree burns occur when the burn extends all the way to muscle or bone. It’s almost impossible to cause this kind of a burn while clipping your dog.
Take your dog to the vet immediately for anything other than a first-degree burn. Even if you’re certain it’s only a first-degree burn, watch for signs of shock (see below), which can occur days after the accident. If you’re in doubt about the level of the burn or anything else, consult your vet. Using dog grooming supplies on a serious burn could result in further damage being done to your pet and more pain.
Treatment for First-degree Burns on Dogs
First-degree burns are not life threatening unless they cover more than two percent of your dog’s body or he goes into shock. If you’re certain it’s only a first-degree burn and it’s small, treat the burn by running cool water over it for five to ten minutes.
RELATED ARTICLE: 9 Reasons to Use Essential Oils for Dogs
Trim the hair around the burn, but not so much that you see his skin. Clean the burned area with an extremely weak antiseptic solution or with soap and water. Remove your dog’s collar, especially if the burn is in the neck area to prevent airway constriction due to swelling.
As we said earlier, take your dog to your vet or an animal emergency center for anything other than a small, first-degree burn. Unless your dog is in shock, perform the above treatment suggestions immediately before your trip to the vet.
Never use medicine — pills, liquids, topical ointments — on a dog unless your vet approves it. What may work for us does not always work the same way in a dog. We’ll give you recommendations for over-the-counter, pet-specialized products to treat minor burns.
Vetericyn Plus Wound and Skin Care HydroGel
Vetericyn Plus Wound and Skin Care HydroGel is formulated with a pH level that reduces any sting or burn when you apply it. It has a gel-like consistency to keep it from running. This is one of the best dog grooming supplies, as it works on all skin types and is safe for all animals. That's a huge benefit if you have a multi-pet household.
Medicine Mama’s First Immediate Care Topical Salve
This ointment contains natural, organic ingredients like olive oil, fruit oil, beeswax and organic honey. It does not contain steroids, chemicals or synthetics. Medicine Mama’s First Immediate Care Topical Salve is 100% nontoxic, and to ensure its safety, it was tested on humans first. It is especially good for burns and stings.
It is also effective at soothing and healing hot spots and promoting hair regrowth. This would be a great salve to have in your dog grooming supplies kit. It's safe to use in delicate areas, like around your dog's eyes, ears and nose too.
PetSilver Wound Spray
This spray is formulated with chelated silver ions — the silver ions bond to non-metallic ions, a fancy way of saying that it stays where you put it. It’s nontoxic, antimicrobial, and helps remove bacteria from the wound while also reducing pain and inflammation. PetSilver Wound Spray can be used on dogs, cats or horses and treats a variety of skin issues including burns, infection, insect bites and general wounds.
Always call your vet before you medicate a burn. Often it’s difficult to tell the seriousness of the burn, and you should err on the side of caution. If your dog’s skin is blistered, broken, shiny, or anything but red and a little swollen, don’t hesitate to contact your vet or an animal emergency center.
Dog Going Into Shock
A burn may cause a dog to go into shock, and it may take days before he exhibits any symptoms. Shock can kill a dog very quickly, and there are no dog grooming supplies to help with this condition.
An increasingly rapid heartbeat, shallow and rapid breathing, agitation, lethargy, low temperature, pale gums, an irregular heartbeat, weak pulse, glazed and unfocused eyes, and coma are all signs of shock. If you take him to your vet immediately after the accident like we’ve advised, be sure to ask what the signs of shock are.
IF YOU THINK YOUR DOG MIGHT BE GOING INTO SHOCK, don’t flush the wound
Flushing it with cool water or trying to clean it will make the situation worse. Hold a cold pack or ice in a plastic bag over the burn and wrap your dog in a towel to keep him warm. Take him to your vet or an animal emergency hospital immediately.
Organic Dog Grooming Supplies
Since shampoos and conditioners are spread throughout your dog’s coat, organic dog grooming supplies are an especially good idea. They’re safer. They do not contain harmful preservatives, additives, steroids, or other chemicals. They also beautify your dog as well as ─ and in most cases better ─ than the non-organic products you’ve been using.
Natural substances such as coconut, almond oil, honey, beeswax, jasmine and vanilla contribute to a fresh clean dog without potential contamination. Organic products have to be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Before choosing one, make sure it has been certified by the USDA that organic ingredients make up at least 95% of the product.
Organic doesn’t mean more expensive. As more consumers see the benefit of organic products, they are becoming more readily available and less expensive.
Dog Grooming Supplies FAQ
These are some of the common questions we hear. We’ve given brief answers below, but you’ll find more detail on handling some of these problems in Dog Grooming for Complete Beginners, also available on this website.
Again, if you have doubts about anything, consult your veterinarian.
1. What should I look for? What are signs of trouble?
Grooming provides an up-close and personal way to examine your dog. Be on the lookout for anything unusual, suspicious, or even different from the last time he was groomed. Lumps could be fatty tumors or other growths. If your dog shows pain in any area, inspect it. It could be an abrasion or other injury. You need to inspect your pet before grooming, as some dog grooming supplies could irritate his condition even further.
Watch for folliculitis, a bacterial or fungal infection resulting from clogged hair follicles. They look like pimples and will turn into larger sores. If left untreated, folliculitis can result in permanent hair loss and scarring.
Other common skin conditions include dermatitis, a very itchy rash that can occur anywhere on your dog’s body, and impetigo, a bacterial infection that causes pus-filled blisters usually found on the dog’s belly. Both of these conditions are most common in puppies. Although it’s generally not serious, your vet should examine it — it could be a sign of something else. Under any circumstances, however, it should be treated as the sores are uncomfortable and unsightly.
2. Too many dog brushes. Which one to choose?
The dog grooming supplies that you purchase will depend on your dog’s coat type. There are tons of brushes out there, we know, but you want to use the brush best suited for your dog’s coat type and the area in which you’ll be brushing. For delicate areas near the ears, eyes, nose, and anus, use a finetooth comb. If your dog has a double coat, you may want to use a deshedder before brushing.
Make sure that your brush’s pins are rounded or in some way protect against scraping your pet’s skin. Test the brush against your own skin. Don’t forget to brush the easy-to-miss areas, including the legs and tail.
3. What if I get soap in my dog’s ears?
Call your vet immediately. He can tell you whether he needs to see your dog. In the meantime, dry around the ear with a clean cotton ball to keep any more fluid from entering. A dog’s ear canal is horizontal, so fluids are more likely to pool in it.
If the vet tells you to use ear cleaner, ask him what to use. You also need to know how many times per day and for how long you should use this dog grooming supplies. Have him show you how to apply it. Ear cleaning isn’t every dog’s favorite thing, but like other conditions, untreated conditions of the ear can lead to permanent deafness.
4. My puppy won’t calm down. What can I do?
There is a long explanation of behavior you may encounter while bathing your dog and how to handle it in Dog Grooming for Complete Beginners, but as a short explanation, remember that you, not your dog, are in charge and set the tone. Minimize distractions — anything can excite a puppy. Bathe in a quiet place. Sit quietly with him until he has quieted down. Then pet and praise him or perhaps give him a treat for behaving.
If he starts misbehaving again, remove the other treats and don’t look at or acknowledge him. After he’s quiet, start the bath. If he misbehaves again, give him a command to sit in a loud, clear voice. When he sits, give him a treat. Make it clear that you are in charge and he needs to behave.
Puppies need an early exposure to grooming so that it will seem natural as they age. Be prepared to put in the time and extra work to make the grooming process a pleasurable time for your puppy. It will pay off later. And, don't forget to use dog grooming products that are specifically made for puppies.
5. Silent or standard dog hair clippers?
Know what noise level your dog can tolerate. Electric clippers do make noise, sometimes more than a panicking dog can handle. He may become skittish and attempt to escape the whirring equipment, which increases the chance that you’ll accidentally injure him.
It’s always useful to have silent clippers and trimmers in your dog grooming supplies kit — even the most calm, well-behaved dog can panic unexpectedly. Whether you use silent or electric clippers, remember that you don’t want to clip too close to your dog’s skin.
Hold the clipper at LEAST one-half inch away from his skin. More is better. And make sure your electric clippers have been well maintained and the proper oil used. Check the temperature of the clippers frequently.
6. My dog has clipper burn. What should I do?
Assess the type of burn. First-degree burns leave the skin red and swollen and may be painful but are considered minor injuries that can be treated at home. The skin will be shiny, blistered, and extremely painful if it’s a second-degree burn.
The hair around the area will probably be burned also. Consult your vet about second-degree burns. Third degree burns are an emergency situation and need immediate veterinary care. The skin will appear charred, white, waxen, or leathery. The skin may even be broken, and there will be nerve damage.
If it’s a first-degree burn, stop clipping immediately and calm your dog. Put cool water on the area for five to ten minutes. Then clean the wound with soap and water and apply a non-oil-based ointment, such as Vetericyn Plus Wound and Skin Care or one of the other dog grooming supplies that we recommended, to handle burns and other minor wounds. We can’t emphasize enough, however, to check with your vet about any burn you’re not sure of.
7. What if I cut into dog's nail quick?
If your dog has light-colored nails, the quick will appear pink or red. If your dog has dark nails, the quick may be harder to spot. However, since the nail is translucent, you can shine a flashlight behind it. You wouldn't think a flashlight would be an essential part of a dog grooming supplies kit, but you just may want to include one. The quick is a solid color and should show up once the light is shone on underneath the nail.
If you accidentally hit the quick, stop the bleeding quickly using the clotting powder we recommended and apply it either with your hands or with a moistened applicator. The bleeding should stop within a few seconds. If it does not, call your vet because you may have cut further than you realize. Make sure to clean the nail with soap and water after it stops bleeding to prevent infection.
8. What are tear tracks and how to treat them?
Your dog’s tears can be caused by irritants in or around his eyes, allergies and a number of other things. Tear tracks are stained fur caused by discharge, usually clear, from the eye. All discharge from the eye should be checked by your vet; however, if you see a dark discharge, have your vet check it immediately. Some discharges indicate another eye problem which could leave your dog blind if untreated.
Tear tracks are usually a reddish brown, very visible on light fur and unsightly. We recommended some great dog grooming supplies to help remove the tracks. The ointments are safe and non-toxic and should not cause a problem if they accidentally come in contact with your dog’s skin or fur, but make certain he doesn’t eat them — they’ll make him sick.
9. Should I do anything about the hair in my dog’s ear?
No, you should not, but do have your vet or a professional groomer look at it. Hair in the ear canal can be a sign of something insignificant or can indicate a problem that should be treated. Do not try to remove it yourself.
In general, the inside of the ear should be a healthy pink color. Pay attention to any discharge from the ear, and consult your vet immediately to see if it’s an infection. A loss of balance, scabs at the outer flaps, and rubbing his head on the floor or furniture can all be a sign of discomfort. You want to make sure to catch anything before it damages the ear drum, which causes excruciating pain and potential hearing loss.
If your vet does say that the hair should be removed, he will do it or recommend a professional groomer. The ear is so delicate that it requires handling by a professional and special dog grooming supplies. Better safe than sorry.
10. My dog won’t let me clip his nails. What do I do?
Try rewards. If your dog is scared or just reluctant to let you touch his paws, much less use dog grooming supplies to clip his nails, he’s probably not been exposed to that kind of manipulation of his paws, and you need to start from square one. First, take your dog’s paw in your hands, touch his nails one by one, and then give him a treat. You may have to repeat this a few times, but he’ll accept it eventually.
Then, touch the clippers to his nails but don’t clip. Again give him a treat. After you’ve repeated this a couple of times, he’ll probably be calm enough to let you clip his nails. If you have to, give him a treat after you clip each nail. Though this may seem like a lot to go through, it’s important that your dog be comfortable before you start clipping. Clippers are sharp, and they are one of the most dangerous pieces of dog grooming supplies. They could injure you or your dog if he does not behave.