How to Groom a Small Dog

30 - 60 Minutes
1 Month


Small dogs come in such a wide variety of breeds, hair types, and personalities, that the only thing they might have in common is their small stature!  From Poodles to Maltese, from Jack Russell Terriers to Shih Tzus, they can have wiry hair, soft hair, short hair or long hair. Some shed, some are low shed, some have straight hair, some curly, undercoats, guard hairs, feisty personalities, or mellow, the variations are endless. So the grooming needs of your small dog may vary considerably.  

They all have in common, however, that because of their small stature, it can be difficult to bend down to groom them. An elevated surface, such as a sink for bathing, or a table for grooming may be more practical than working in the tub or on the floor. Small dogs also tend to be companion dogs, and it is fairly common for pet owners of small dogs to arrange to have them clipped. Though the style of clipping varies by breed, clipping makes your small dog look his best, and helps keep your dog clean and daily grooming simpler. 

Not all small dog owners want to run to a professional groomer to maintain their dog's look. If you opt to groom your small dog at home, there are some things you can do to make the task more practical.

Dog's Perspective

Small dogs are often fairly used to being picked up and handled, which usually makes them easier to groom. However, some small dogs can be anxious or timid, and if that is the case, taking steps to make grooming as comfortable for them as possible will alleviate any difficulty this may present. Using equipment that allows you to secure your dog and reach him easily for grooming, such as an appropriately sized table, having an assistant hold your small dog while grooming, or putting your small dog on your lap where he feels comfortable, are all strategies to make your pooch feel comfortable with the grooming process.

Caution & Considerations

  • Make sure tools used for trimming and clipping are sharp and of good quality.
  • Always hold blades of clippers or scissors parallel to your dog's skin. To avoid injuries, never point towards your dog.
  • Be careful trimming dark nails not to nick the quick of the nail, which is painful.
  • Make sure your dog is secure with good footing and restraints and cannot fall off an elevated surface you are working on.  
  • When bathing, make sure your small dog cannot escape and jump out of a tub or off a counter, which can result in serious injury.


Small dogs are big-time cute when groomed properly. Investing some time into understanding your small dog's grooming requirement,s and then obtaining the correct tools to create and maintain your dog's coat, will make him look big-time great!  When grooming a small dog, accessibility can be your biggest issue, so making sure you have a strategy to reach your small dog that is comfortable for both of you will make grooming a whole lot easier!

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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