7 Most Common Dog Grooming Questions

In a perfect world, your dog's coat would always be silky, shiny, clean and fresh, and not shed — too much. But his tresses usually don't stay that way on their own. You'll need to put in a little work to make his coat the best that it can be. And, yes, that means you need to groom him at home or take him to a professional groomer. If the idea of regularly brushing or bathing your pup's coat makes you — or your dog — anxious and flummoxed, don't worry. We've got the answers to your most frequently asked dog-grooming questions.

FAQs About Bathing, Brushing and Blow-Drying Your Pup

Dog being groomed by groomer

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Question: How can I soothe my dog's grooming anxiety?
Answer:
Your pup may be anxious at the groomer's, because he's not used to being handled in sensitive areas, like the muzzle, eyes, ears, paws, tail and groin. To help ease the stress of being handled, trainer Mikkel Becker recommends saying a cue like "ears" when you touch his ears and then immediately giving him a treat or reward, so he associates being touched with a positive experience. Here are four more ways to help your pooch be less fearful at the groomer's

Dog lying upside down on a couch

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Question: How can I keep my dog's fur under control?
Answer: If your dog's fur is all over your furniture and floor, try to brush her outdoors for one minute every day. That way, you'll spend less time vacuuming, sweeping and dusting hair balls. Dr. Marty Becker shares a few more tactics you can try around the house to reduce shedding

Brushing dog's coat

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Question: Do I need to brush my long-haired dog's coat?
Answer: Brushing a long-haired dog's fur can seem like a chore, but if you put it off, he risks getting mats or tangles, which can be painful. Our expert, who owns a pair of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, recommends brushing or combing a long-haired dog's fur at least every other day. Here's more of her advice for grooming long-haired dogs, along with the grooming tools you'll need. 

Dog in a bath tub

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Question: How can I help my dog enjoy bath time?
Answer: First and foremost, don't force her to get into the tub. Chasing her down the hallway and dragging her to the bathroom will only increase her anxiety. Instead, coax her into the tub with treats and praise. Be patient and keep your calm. Here are some other mistakes you may be making when you give her a bath

Dog with stains under his eyes

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Question: Why does my dog get stains under the eyes, and how can I get rid of those stains?
Answer: Breeds like Poodles, Bichon Frises and Maltese can experience tear duct obstruction or have abnormal eyelid structure. Because of this, tears spill out onto the fur along the side of the nose. Plus, hairs and other irritants rubbing against the eye can increase tear production. Moisture on the fur of the dog's face fosters the growth of bacteria and can cause rusty stains to appear. If the dog is white, those stains are even more obvious. Talk to your veterinarian if this is happening to your dog. Here's why you shouldn’t try to treat this problem on your own.

Blow-drying dog's coat

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Question: Is it safe to blow-dry my dog?
Answer: Yes, you can blow-dry your dog, as long as you follow a couple of safety precautions. Keep the nozzle a few inches away from your pet's fur and keep it moving. If you concentrate the dryer in one spot, it could burn him. Also, keep the temperature on the lowest possible setting. You may want to consider this type of blow-dryer if you have a long-haired dog or bathe your dog often.

Trimming dog's nails with clippers

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Question: Can I teach my dog to let me trim her nails?
Answer: You’re not alone if your dog cowers in fear when she sees nail clippers. The good news is that it is possible to teach an adult dog to tolerate — and maybe even enjoy — nail trims. Mikkel Becker says you should start with a clean slate and use a brand-new pair of clippers (ideally, a pair that looks different from the previous clippers). As soon as your dog sees these new clippers, reward and praise her with ample treats. Then put the clippers away and stop giving her treats. Repeat this cycle until your dog forms a positive association with the nail clippers. After that, try these techniques to help her get used to having her paws handled.

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