How to Groom a Dog Without a Grooming Table

30 - 45 Minutes
1 Month


Grooming tables are great--not only is your dog elevated, so you don't have to bend over, but you can walk around all sides of the table or rotate it to reach your dog easily for brushing, trimming and clipping. Most grooming tables also include an overhead arm with a leash and neck loop that you can use to restrain your dog and keep him in place. Some tables even have a restraint suspended from overhead that loops under your dog's belly, in front of his rear legs, to keep him standing so you can easily reach his underside, backside and back legs.  

As great as they are, it's not practical for most of us to have a grooming table at home. Working on your dog without one makes grooming more challenging, but there are a few ways to adapt to that will allow you to reach your dog and keep him in place for grooming. A little creativity goes a long way when working without a grooming table!

Dog's Perspective

A grooming table usually has good traction, is stable, and has a restraint that makes your dog feel secure and prevents him from trying to jump off the table. Makeshift home solutions that do not feel secure to your dog can be frightening. Make sure whatever method you use, your dog has good footing and is not likely to jump off an elevated surface and injure himself. 

When using a raised surface, make sure it is adequate to support your dog's weight. Most household furniture is only suitable for a small to medium dog. For their safety, large dogs should be groomed from the floor if a grooming table is not available, or on a very sturdy table, like a wood picnic table.

Caution & Considerations

  • If you are elevating your dog, make sure he can not jump off the surface and injure himself.  Arrange restraints or engage an assistant to help.
  • Make sure makeshift grooming locations have good footing with bath mats or rubber mats.  Fasten mats to elevated surfaces so they do not slip off.
  • Make sure elevated surfaces area adequate for your dog's weight and that table legs are locked in place.
  • Be cautious when bending or reaching for your dog while grooming, not to strain your back or joints. Move your dog or adjust so that you can reach the area you want to groom without putting undue strain on yourself or your dog.


While using a grooming table is ideal to restrain your dog and give him a secure surface where you can easily reach and work with grooming tools, this is not always feasible. Several household surfaces can be adapted and used to elevate your dog and provide secure footing--just be sure to have someone helping to ensure your dog does not take a flying leap while you are working. Alternately, you can always work from the floor by laying out the tools you need, containing your dog in a small area like a bathroom, and encouraging him to remain standing with an object between his legs, under his belly.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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