Just like humans, your dogs need to practice good hygiene habits. Unfortunately, dogs cannot groom themselves, leaving it up to you to make sure your furry friend stays primped and polished. Some dogs need very little maintenance, but others need frequent grooming to keep their coat tangle free and healthy. No matter what breed you have, you'll need some proper pet grooming tools to get the job done correctly.
Aside from simply making your dog look better, dog grooming has many other benefits as well. For starters, it makes your pets feel better, especially in the summer months. Thinning out a thick coat of hair and getting rid of excess strands helps your dog beat the heat.
Just like a new haircut makes you feel great, your dog enjoys being pampered with some of those pet grooming tools, too. Even if you have a short-haired canine breed that doesn’t require much grooming in the way of fur, all dogs need some sort of grooming. For example, clipping your pet's long nails can make walking much less painful and keeping their ears and teeth clean are necessary hygiene requirements for all breeds to keep them healthy.
RELATED: 5 Ways to Minimize Shedding in Dogs
Aside from a simple haircut, using pet grooming tools to brush your dog can be helpful in reducing the likelihood of skin irritation. Not to mention it rids your dog's coat of loose hair and debris. It also helps identify the presence of fleas and ticks. Brushing your dog is an important grooming step that should not be overlooked.
Most owners don't realize that self-grooming their dog provides a bonding moment, too. In a way, it emulates the grooming habits of other animals, and is a sign that you care for your dog. Grooming your dog yourself fosters the bond that you two share and allows him to feel safe and protected by you.
Fluff Your Pup: Best Pet Grooming Tools
Grooming your dog sounds like a challenging task, but don't let it intimidate you. With the right set of best pet grooming tools you'll be able to get the job done without hurting your pup. However, the proper tools for this task will depend largely on your canine. His size, coat, and temperament will all play a part in the types of pet grooming tools you'll need to purchase.
Long Hair Coats vs. Short Hair Coats
It goes without saying that different types of dogs have different grooming needs. Obviously, a German Shepherd is going to require a little more work on his fur coat than a Chihuahua would. But that is not to say that short-haired dogs don’t require grooming as well, so some of the pet grooming tools you use will vary depending on your dog's coat.
The type of dog brush you will need will depend largely on the length or your dog's coat and the type of fur that he has. Longer coats, more course fur, and fur that is easily matted all require different types of brushes. It would be best to speak with your veterinarian or a professional dog groomer before purchasing a brush for your pet. You must ensure that the dog brush you buy won't pull their fur and cause them pain.
Grooming long-haired dogs typically requires a few more tools than their short-hair counterparts. Undercoat rakes help to thin out their thicker coats and even work to reduce shedding. Long-haired dogs are also more susceptible to hair buildup inside their ears. This can cause irritation and is generally uncomfortable for your pooch. The best method is to carefully use a set of tweezers to remove the hair.
RELATED: Top 5 Best Dog Hair Clippers
Another problem area for long-haired dogs is around their paws, where hair tends to build up between their toes. If left unattended for long enough, this hair will start to clump, possibly making it painful for your dog to walk. When grooming your Fido you will need to take special care to trim the hair around the pads of his paws with grooming scissors, or clippers if they will tolerate it.
Grooming scissors are the most essential tool in your grooming arsenal. Used for general cuts and trimming in those hard-to-reach places, the grooming scissors will be your most versatile dog grooming tool. Dog hair clippers will also come in handy, but they are mainly used for cutting the fur on the larger areas of your dog, such as their back.
Speaking of pet clippers, if you plan to shave or trim your dog's fur, there are many different styles, brands, and types of dog clippers to choose from. For more detailed information about how to choose the right set of pet clippers for your dog, see our column Pet Hair Clippers for Dogs: Quick Buying Guide.
As mentioned earlier, undercoat rakes and shearing scissors are designed to help thin out your dog’s bulky coat. Where the undercoat rake focuses on getting underneath the outer coat of dog hair, the shears help more to target specific areas to thin it out.
Common Pet Grooming Tools for Dogs
Not all of your pet grooming tools will depend on your canine's breed and coat type. Some dog grooming products are used on every dog no matter what breed they are. Many dog grooming supplies like nail clippers, ear cleaning pads and dog toothbrushes may vary depending on the size of your dog, but the tool is always the same.
Then you have your shampoos and conditioners, which come in a variety of brands and styles. Choosing these will largely depend on preference and what type of dog you have. You can purchase shampoo that gets rid of fleas or a one that is formulated for sensitive skin. Make your selection based on your individual dog and his needs.
One aspect of grooming that most owners don’t think about is brushing your dog’s teeth. While it may seem a little excessive, dogs have dental needs just the same as humans.
There are all kinds of different dog toothbrushes and toothpastes to choose from. While you can use a human toothbrush on your canine, you must be sure to only use dog toothpaste. It is specially formulated to clean dog's teeth and be safe to ingest. Remember, dogs can't rinse and spit like we can, so they will simply swallow the stuff.
The trickiest part of dog grooming is clipping their nails. Nail clippers are another one of the essential pet grooming tools that are necessary for all dogs regardless of their coat or breed. However, the dog nail clippers you choose will need to be based on the size of your dog.
It can be easy to cut into the quick of the nail, so you need to be sure that you purchase the right size pet nail clippers. If you use clippers made for large dogs on a teacup breed, it will be very easy to take off too much of the nail. Many people opt to take their dogs to the vet to have their nails clipped, but if you’d like to do it yourself, there are three main types of nail clippers for dogs to choose from.
The guillotine style dog nail clipper is meant for smaller dogs. You simply insert the nail that you want to cut into the slot and squeeze the handle. The blade comes down and does all the work for you. Since they’re meant for smaller dogs, they don’t really require much force and are less likely to startle your dog.
RELATED: Top 10 Best Dog Nail Clippers
Then there are Miller’s Forge clippers, which are meant for medium to large dogs. They are thicker and stronger than the guillotine style.
Finally, there are electronic rotary trimmers, which involve a rotating sander to gradually file down your dog’s nails. These are the most expensive but easy to handle dog nail clippers. The most popular brand currently is the Dremel 7300-PT 4.8-Volt Pet Grooming Kit.
What Pet Grooming Tools I Use With My Dog
Since we have Ellie, a long-haired dachshund, I thought it would be nice to show you what I use so that you can get a typical idea for what a smaller, long-haired dog would require. In terms of nail clippers, I tried to use the guillotine style clippers on Ellie (on the right), but she was easily startled whenever I tried to slide her nail into them.
After a few unsuccessful attempts with the guillotine style nail clippers, I was able to find a smaller version of the Miller’s Forge electric dog nail clippers made by Conair. Once I got her to sit still long enough, I managed to cut her nails with relatively little fuss, since the clippers aren’t too loud or forceful. So, if your smaller dog is showing some resistance to the guillotine style clippers, I would recommend trying out the Conair clippers.
As far as grooming scissors, I haven’t had any trouble with just a generic set. I wouldn’t, however, use regular cutting scissors to try and groom your pet. Since dog grooming scissors are specially made to cut hair, they pull far less often than a regular pair of scissors would. Additionally, grooming scissors have slightly tapered ends, meaning that they are better for getting to hard-to-reach places.
Finally, I want to share the toothpaste we use on Ellie. It’s the Petco Oral Health brand (pictured above) or it's alternative from Nylabone, specifically the tartar control toothpaste. It’s recommended that you brush your dog’s teeth daily, but we typically try to do it at least four or five times a week. She hasn’t told us how it tastes, but she hasn’t complained yet. We’ll take that as a good sign!
RELATED: How to Groom Your Dog at Home
There are thousands of different dog grooming products on the market, but be sure when you're shopping that you consider your dog and his or her individual needs. Pet grooming tools are not one-size-fits all. If you're having trouble or you have additional questions, speak with your vet or a professional groomer to see what the best choice would be for your Fido.