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10 Dog Grooming Fails and How to Avoid Them

We go through 10 common dog grooming mishaps and get some expert advice on how to avoid a dog’s bad hair day in the future!

Heather Marcoux  |  Aug 22nd 2017


We spend a ton of money and time avoiding them ourselves, but bad hair days are not a human-specific phenomenon. These 10 dogs definitely know the meaning of “bad hair day,” and we’ve got some expert tips on how to make dog grooming go more smoothly.

1. The dirty dog

A very dirty dog.

Photography by Willeecole/Thinkstock.

He’s never met a mud puddle he didn’t like, and he’s never met a shampoo that could conquer his ’do in one shot. This dog inspired the phrase, “lather, rinse, repeat.” And repeat … and repeat.

2. Matted dog hair

Tangled isn’t just a Disney movie for this dog — it’s a way of life. If your pal’s fur clumps together faster than a litter of sleepy puppies, bad hair day prevention means brushing until you’re the one who needs a nap.

3. The hair-raising sight

Some people say dogs can see ghosts when humans can’t. That is simply the only explanation for this look because we know this pup didn’t stick a fork in the electrical outlet.

4. Something stuck to his fur

Whether it’s gum, glue or the maple syrup he stole during brunch, this dog’s bad hair day started when he got into something he shouldn’t — and he just became the prime suspect in this crime against his coat.

5. The bald dog

A bald dog.

A bald dog. Photography by Globalp/Thinkstock.

This dog’s genetic code hacked the bad hair day, but don’t be jealous. What the coatless breeds save in grooming costs they just end up spending on sweaters.

6. The Bichon frizzy

A very curly Bichon Frise.

A very curly Bichon Frisé. Photography by MarijaRadovic/Thinkstock.

When this cutie’s curls are wound a little too tight he becomes more frizz than floof. Thankfully, this is not a permanent puppy perm.

7. Bad blowouts on dogs

Blow-dryers aren’t just shaped like weapons, they are weapons in the fight against bad hair days. Unfortunately, not everyone knows when to holster theirs — just ask this over-styled, over-fluffed pup.

8. A dog with double-coated fur

The double-coated dog’s tail sometimes looks like a duster, but it’s actually putting down more debris than it’s picking up.  You know it’s a bad hair day when the hairs themselves are abandoning ship.

9. A dog with pigtails

A dog with a ribbon in her hair.

A dog with a ribbon in her hair. Photography by Uroshpetrovic/Thinkstock.

They’re called “pigtails,” not “dogtails,” and this pup would rather walk the plank than wear these bows in public.

10. The (obviously) at-home dog grooming attempt

What’s uneven, unprofessional and was likely done with kitchen scissors? This poor dog’s hair. Like the bowl cut in elementary school, this bad hair day seems to happen to everyone at least once.

3 expert dog grooming tips

A dog with a wig on, surrounded by grooming products.

A dog surrounded by grooming products. Photography by Damedeeso/Thinkstock.

Avoid bad dog hair days with these tips from a pro! A former groomer herself, Megan Mouser is now the Education Manager for the Animal Division at Andis, a manufacturer of grooming tools.

Don’t be afraid

“The more you do at home, the better the situation you create for your professional groomer.” Megan said that regular brushing, combing and haircuts can stop a mat from turning into a shave (and tears) at the groomer. “Pick up a brush, and brush them every day. Make it a bonding time … you can work your way up to something like a trimmer.”

Annual maintenance is for cars, not dogs

“Regular grooming and maintenance of their coat and skin can prevent a ton of problems down the road. They can live longer, happier lives if they’re groomed on a six- to eight-week schedule instead of annual.”

Follow the hair if grooming your dog at home

If you’ve got enough beauty school skills to clip your dog at home, Megan said just don’t do the butt first.  “For some reason everyone always wants to start from the tail and go backward, but you should always clip them in the direction of the hair growth. You’ll get a much better clip that way.”

Thumbnail: Photography by Laures/Thinkstock.

Read more about dog grooming on Dogster.com:

Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer/live-in hairdresser for GhostBuster, a  Golden-Lab mix who leaves more hair on the floor each day than his terrier sibling, Marshmallow, has ever grown. Follow @HeatherMarcoux on Twitter and check out @ghostpets on Instagram to see GhostBuster’s fur at its worst.