How to Groom a Small Dog's Belly

Easy
5 - 10 Minutes
3 Week

Introduction

The thing about small dogs is, well...they are small!  Which means their belly hair is close to the ground and can get dirt and debris in it and easily be soiled or tangled. This means that cleaning, trimming and/or brushing your small dog's belly may be a frequent necessity. Also, because small dogs are close to the ground they are liable to pick up parasites like ticks and fleas that live in underbrush and dirt or sandy area and that especially like to reside on the underbelly and under limbs of your dog.  

Regular grooming of your small dog's belly will bring pesky parasites to light that can be treated quickly, and regular cleaning and brushing to prevent mats from forming will prevent moisture being trapped on your dog's belly that can cause a host of unpleasant skin conditions.

Dog's Perspective

Most dogs like having their belly rubbed, but not always having it groomed!  The belly is a sensitive area, and your small dog may not like having hair brushed in this area if it gets pulled or appreciate having a clipper or scissors used to trim belly hair. To make belly grooming more comfortable for your small dog, you can incorporate grooming with petting and belly rubs. Start with your dog on your lap, pet and rub his belly, use a rubber mitt to get him used to a different sensation, and then move to brushes, combs, clippers etc. Keeping belly grooming sessions short and combining grooming with petting and belly rubs will usually get your small dog acclimated to having his belly groomed.  He will soon be happily displaying his underside for regular grooming.

The On Your Lap Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Pin Brush
Clipper
Step
1
Place on lap
Put a small dog on your lap with his back resting in your legs and his head pointing away from you, so when you brush him you will be working in the direction of hair growth, towards yourself.
Step
2
Remove loose debris and tangles
Remove debris and tangles with your fingers.
Step
3
Brush
Use a soft brush, pin brush, or slicker brush, depending on your dogs hair coat, to gently brush hair from the chest towards the belly, working in short strokes. Be very gentle on lower belly where hair may be sparse.
Step
4
Trim
Trim matted hair or long hair around genitals with scissors or small clippers. Be careful not to nick your little dog. Make sure he is comfortable lying on your lap and not apt to move quickly during this process.
Step
5
Clean
Wipe the belly with dog cleaning wipes to remove any debris, especially around the back end of your dog past his lower belly. Look for signs of parasites or skin conditions while you work.
Recommend grooming method?

The Elevate Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Pin Brush
Dematter
Comb
Clipper
Step
1
Put on table
Put your small dog on an elevated surface like a table or counter. Spread a soft blanket or towel down for your small dog to lie on.
Step
2
Apply conditioner
Apply detangler or conditioning oil to your dog's belly so hair is lubricated.
Step
3
Remove debris and tangles
Work out debris or tangles with your fingers.
Step
4
Brush
Use a pin brush to brush out layers on your dog's belly. Work in sections, brushing from root to tip. Use a mat splitter on tough mats. Then continue to brush out.
Step
5
Comb and trim
Use a comb to look for any fine knots the brush may have missed and comb out. Trim excess hair with scissors or clippers as required. Look for signs of parasites.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Make sure your dog is secure while lying on his back or side exposing his belly, and that he cannot roll off an elevated surface.
  • Work gently so as not to pull hair on the sensitive belly. Support hair and skin with your fingers.
  • Mats and parasites often occur under limbs, be sure to check carefully and address these while grooming your small dog's belly.
  • Be careful working with scissors and other cutting implements so as not to injure your dog. Hold parallel to skin with the pointy end away from your dog.

Conclusion

The advantage of having a small dog is that you can put him on your lap or easily elevate your dog to groom his belly. Small dogs are also often more used to being handled than big dogs and may be more amenable to having their belly groomed. Work gently as the belly is a delicate area. Work mats out, especially under the limbs with your fingers and brush belly hair thoroughly. Trim excess hair so it does not constantly become soiled from being too close to the ground. Your small dog will appreciate having a clean and tangle-free tummy!

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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