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10 Common Dog Grooming Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Written by: Ed Malaker

Last Updated on May 23, 2024 by Dogster Team

Brown Chihuahua in bath

10 Common Dog Grooming Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Grooming your dog is essential for maintaining their health and appearance. However, there are common mistakes that owners can make during grooming that can cause discomfort or even harm to their furry friends. If you are a new dog owner or are just looking to get better at grooming, here’s a list of several common grooming mistakes and how to avoid them so you can help your canine look and feel their best!

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The 10 Common Dog Grooming Mistakes

1. Neglecting Regular Brushing

Neglected fur can develop knots and mats that can be uncomfortable and painful for your dog. They can also be difficult to remove, and you might need to cut them out, which can change the appearance of the coat.

How Can You Avoid Making This Mistake?

Brushing your dog’s coat every few days can dramatically reduce the risk of developing tangles and knots. It will also help spread the fur’s natural oils, which are responsible for its natural shine, helping your pet look better.


2. Using Incorrect Tools

Using the wrong grooming tools can make your dog feel uncomfortable or hurt them, which will make them less amenable to grooming sessions in the future. Improper tools might also be incapable of getting the job done, causing you to waste time.

How Can You Avoid Making This Mistake?

Always choose brushes and other tools that are appropriate for your dog’s fur length or the task you are trying to accomplish. If you’re struggling to find a good brand or model, talk it over with your vet, who can often provide advice specific to your pet.

dog grooming tools on wooden table
Image Credit By: KPad, Shutterstock

3. Skipping Nail Trimming

Many pet owners forget to trim their dog’s nails, but when they get too long, they can cause discomfort when your pet walks and make it more difficult for them to get the traction they need on surfaces like wooden floors, which might lead to anxiety.

How Can You Avoid Making This Mistake?

Regularly trim your dog’s nails, especially when you hear them clicking on the floor, but be careful not to cut them too short, or you might cut the quick, which can lead to pain and bleeding. Ask your vet or a professional groomer for advice if you are unsure how to groom your pet’s nails properly.


4. Bathing Too Frequently

Bathing your dog too frequently can strip their skin of its natural oils, leading to dry skin, which can cause itchiness and dandruff. Frequent scratching can also lead to a secondary infection.

How Can You Avoid Making This Mistake?

It’s best to bathe your dog only when necessary, like if they get into something dirty or their fur is starting to have an oily appearance. When you bathe your pet, always use a high-quality shampoo for dogs, as their skin has a different pH than humans, and our shampoo can irritate it.

Our Favorite Products

Selecting the right shampoo and conditioner makes the world of a difference when grooming your pup. Our favorite products are the duo by Hepper. The Oatmeal Pet Shampoo is formulated with aloe and oatmeal to soothe skin and hydrate the coat. The Pet Conditioner works at eliminating tangles and taming frizz and static. Both products are pH-balanced and formulated with pet-friendly ingredients, free of harsh soaps, chemicals, and dyes. Give this duo a try to heal and nourish your dog's coat, and leave them with an irresistible just-left-the-spa cucumber and aloe scent. 

Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates

At Dogster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool pet company!

 


5. Not Drying Thoroughly

Not carefully drying your pet after a bath can lead to skin irritation and hot spots, especially in the cooler months when your pet can’t go outside and run around.

How Can You Avoid Making This Mistake?

Thoroughly dry your dog with a towel or blow dryer on a low heat setting immediately after their bath, especially in areas where water can get trapped, like under the ears and between the toes.


6. Ignoring Ear Care

Neglecting your dog’s ears can lead to infections, especially in breeds with floppy ears, because bacteria and mold can grow more easily. Dogs can also sometimes get ear mites, though they are more common in cats.

How Can You Avoid Making This Mistake?

Frequently checking your dog’s ears to ensure they are clean and dry is the best way to reduce the risk of infection or catch any infestation early. If you notice a wax buildup, clean the ears with a dog-specific ear cleaner, and contact your vet immediately if you see any problems, like blood or a foul scent.

If you are looking for the perfect product to clean your dog's sensitive areas or would benefit from an on-the-go option, Hepper's Wash Wipes are our recommendation. These premium wipes are thick and durable enough for the toughest of paw messes, while still being soft enough to use on your dog's ears or eyes. Formulated with pet-friendly, hypoallergenic ingredients they are the ideal product for all dogs of all ages, skin conditions, or sensitivities. 

Hepper Pet Wash Wipes - Soft Pet Cleaning Wipes...
  • Gentle Care For All Pets - Infused with moisturizing hypoallergenic ingredients & enriched with...
  • Deep Cleans From Head to Tail - Tackle the toughest dirt & messes with our extra strong pet wipes...
  • Freshness On The Go - Each dog grooming wipes pack contains 30 counts of premium dog wipes that...

At Dogster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool pet company!

 


7. Ignoring Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene is a serious issue that affects many dogs across the United States, and more than 80% of dogs over the age of 3 have some form of it. Advanced dental disease can cause pain and discomfort, making it difficult to eat properly, which can lead to malnutrition.

How Can You Avoid Making This Mistake?

Manually brushing your pet’s teeth with dog-safe toothpaste can help you slow the progression of dental disease, and frequent checkups with a vet will help you learn about any potential problems early.


8. Not Being Consistent

Dogs are routine-based animals, and trying to groom them suddenly out of the blue can make it more difficult than necessary and often results in them becoming restless or causing trouble while you are trying to work.

How Can You Avoid Making This Mistake?

Setting up a regular grooming schedule as early as possible, preferably when they are still a puppy, and remaining consistent can help them establish a routine that lasts into adulthood. Once grooming is part of their daily routine, they will know what to expect and may look forward to it if they can keep it fun and lighthearted. Use plenty of positive reinforcement.

nail clipping, pet grooming, pet
Image Credit: alektas, Unsplash

9. Rough Handling

Grooming can be a frustrating process, especially when the knots or tangles are extreme, or your dog is misbehaving. This can sometimes lead to rough handling or yelling out of anger. Once your dog detects that you are angry, they can become fearful or anxious, which can make the grooming process even harder. It will also make them much less interested in attending future sessions.

How Can You Avoid Making This Mistake?

When grooming your dog, stay positive and patient. Give them plenty of reinforcement in the form of treats, praise, and petting, which can show them that they are pleasing you and might make them less likely to fidget or misbehave while you are performing your grooming duties.


10. Not Seeking Professional Help

Using improper grooming methods or not grooming your dog at all can lead to several problems and make it even harder to groom your pet when you need to.

How Can You Avoid Making This Mistake?

If you’re unsure about any aspect of grooming, your vet can provide advice tailored to your dog. There are also professional groomers who can do the job for you for a small fee. They have plenty of experience and can usually get your pet in and out in no time.

person grooming a white miniature poodle dog
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

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Summary

Grooming your dog can be a difficult process, especially for new dog owners, but it’s important to get started as soon as possible to get them into a routine and stay consistent. That way, they will continue to be okay with the process throughout their lives, which can help slow the progression of dental disease and lower the risk of your pet suffering from many other issues that can cause pain and discomfort, including knots and tangles, long nails that make it difficult to walk, dry skin that leads to scratching and infections, and ear problems.

You can contact your vet or a professional groomer if you need help or advice with any aspect of grooming, and stay positive and patient, which will help your pet do the same.


Featured Image By: nishizuka, Pexels

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