Have you ever walked into a big-name pet store to the section for dog grooming tools and thought “Good grief, do I really need ALL of this stuff?”
Well, the simple answer is “No, you don’t.” But if you want to keep your dog happy and healthy, there are a few basic dog grooming tools that every dog lover needs.
Nail clippers are an absolute must. Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed can dramatically reduce damage to your floors, carpet, furniture, clothing, and even your own skin. Get yourself a good set of dog grooming clippers— some of the fancier ones even come with guards to prevent cutting the nails too deep. If you’re nervous about trimming your dog’s nails, you can always go to a professional groomer to have it done.
But I strongly suggest getting your own set of clippers and start very slowly, until you get the hang of it. Clipping your dog’s nails is really something you can easily do at home and save lots of money in the long run.
Brushes, Combs, Rakes, and Stripping Tools:
There are literally dozens (if not hundreds) of dog grooming tools available to help you keep your dog’s coat healthy. Most of them are tailored to the specific type of hair your dog has.
I recommend having at least two tools—one to detangle the coat and remove any outdoor debris and another to groom and finish the coat, removing excess hair from the undercoat. A non-shedding breed may also require a stripping tool to pull the dead hair out of the coat to make room for a new coat to grow.
I recommend having a good pair of scissors to cut away any mats of hair that won’t detangle with a brush. Yes, it may look ugly for a few days until the hair grows back, but I assure you it is much more comfortable to your dog.
Now, if you have a breed that requires trimming the hair, rather than simply brushing, you may want to consider getting a second pair of scissors (and also some shears if you need to trim large areas of hair close to the skin).
But I really only recommend this to advanced groomers, in which case you will probably also want to own a dog grooming table to hold your dog in position while you trim. For those of you just starting out, I strongly suggest taking your dog to a professional for trimming, at least for the first few times. You can always upgrade your dog grooming tools later if you decide that trimming is something you’d like to tackle on your own.
Shampoos and Conditioners:
Much like brushes, there are many types of shampoos and conditioners tailored to specific hair types. I suggest trying a few out until you find what’s best for you and your pet.
And also, for touch-up baths, I recommend mixing the shampoo with water in a 1:1 ratio. Not only will this save you money, but it will dilute the shampoo so that it will easily rinse out completely. Any shampoo left in the hair after drying will likely irritate your dog’s skin, and we certainly don’t want that.
And remember, most dog breeds don’t require frequent bathing. You don’t want to strip the coat of the natural oils that make it healthy and shiny.
One last tip that may be obvious, only use warm water for bathing. I recommend testing the temperature on the inside of your wrist. If it feels too warm to you, then add cooler water until it feels warm and soothing.
First Aid Supplies:
Just like humans, every dog is bound to get injured at some point. There are a few first aid supplies that you may want to have on hand, just in case: tweezers (for splinters), styptic powder (to stop bleeding), gauze, and bandages.
Obviously, for any major injury you will want to take your dog to a veterinarian. But you can treat minor injuries yourself, if you already have the proper supplies.
Tony Reed is an animal behavior specialist and a passionate writer. He loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. He aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents.