Wouldn’t it be nice if pets always looked as if they had just been professionally groomed? It’s not easy to keep active and playful pets perfectly primped, but it is possible to tackle basic grooming on your own, as long as you have patience, the proper tools, and some basic instruction.
Keep your pet looking spiffy between grooming appointments with these tips:
Get the tools: A comb, a brush, clippers, a good pair of scissors and toenail clippers are must-haves. Professional dog groomer Lisa Brezina of Spencer, Ind., also recommends buying ear cleaner and styptic powder, an anti-hemorrhagic that helps stop bleeding from minor cuts and toenails that have been trimmed too closely. “I prefer a multi-speed, changeable blade type of clippers,” Brezina says. “You may need different blade lengths and guard combs depending on the style of haircut you are planning.”
Learn the basics: Online video tutorials or one of many available books on pet grooming can provide a helpful base of information for beginners. Look for breed-specific information to make sure you’re using the proper technique for your pet.
Safety first: Exercise caution at all times. For example, instead of using scissors to remove small bits of matted fur, Brezina suggests using clippers with a No. 10 blade as you’ll be less likely to nick your pet’s skin. “Blade cooling lubricant also is a must if clipping,” she says. “You should frequently check the heat of the blades on the inside of your wrist (similar to checking the temperature of a baby bottle). If your pet gets burned by the clippers, it will be even more difficult to groom it the next time.”
Know when to call the pro: Your pet may present a grooming challenge that’s too difficult for you to tackle. Maybe Fluffy isn’t fond of having her nails trimmed, or perhaps Fido’s fur is just too matted to work through on your own. Don’t hesitate to visit a groomer and let the pro handle a particularly tough situation.