If you want to groom your dog at home, but don't have a clue where to begin, think about this: If you take the time to learn some of the basics to groom your dog at home, you could save several hundred dollars each year.
Saving money is something most of us are interested in these days, but face it-we don't know how to do everything. We may have to hire someone to dig a well if we don't have the equipment. But, grooming a dog? The basics should be fairly easy to comprehend. This does not mean you will not use a professional several times a year. However, with the economy the way it is, we are all being forced to do more things than we did before.
The groomers we usually use are great. They have expertise no one in our family even begins to have. However, with our pet bills being close to our monthly utility bills, we had to make some adjustments.
We do have a dog washing tub, which is a welcome addition to our Florida room. We have the correct shampoos, some clippers, and the proper brushes and combs for our dogs.
If you have dogs that have long hair you may feel they need to be bathed weekly. Some vets say this is fine as long as you are not using a shampoo that is not for dogs. The vet we use told us to rinse the hair, but don't shampoo every time. Rinsing is enough to get the mud and dirt out of the dog's hair. This vet also recommended oatmeal shampoo to prevent dryness when we do shampoo. Your vet may have a different recommendation, depending on the breed of dog you have.
The dog washing tub we installed is sold as a laundry tub. The tub is deep enough that most dogs can't see what is going on outside of the tub. This tub has a spray faucet, which is ideal. With a cabinet under the tub for supplies, it was a bargain at Lowe's Home Improvement for a bit more than $100.
If you use a tub of any sort, place a shower mat under the dog so it does not slip. Be sure all shampoo containers have tight seals so they will not leak if dropped while washing the dog.
Before we wash our dogs, we are sure to brush and comb them thoroughly. When washing the dogs, we do not allow water to get into their ears, or use the spray of water to get near their eyes. We wash the eyes and ears with a wash cloth, and plain water. We haven't found a need to use anything other than water in these areas, and have never asked our groomers what they use.
We use a standard hair dryer set on medium. We dry about half of the hair, and let the rest of the hair dry naturally.
Once the dog is dry, we comb and brush the hair again. If we feel the dog's hair should be trimmed, we have a table near the washing tub that is just for this purpose. It allows the dogs to be at the height needed so that we do not have to bend over the table. Learning to trim long haired dogs seems to be an art. We give trims, not styles-that the groomer will do.
The dogs may not look perfect, but we feel the $400 or so we saved in the last 12 months is worth these pets looking a little less then Hollywood.