Everything You Need to Know About Dog Grooming Products

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Introduction

Grooming can be a pain in the butt hair for both canines and their owners, especially with the wrong tools. That's why we've compiled a list of the mutts-have tools of the trade that will make grooming your pup as painless as pawssible! The exact products you'll need depends on your dog's needs; long-haired dogs tend to need more products and tools, whereas a short-haired breed can get by with a good shampoo and bristle brush. Don't be fooled by fancy names and brands — grooming essentials are actually quite simple to come by if you know what you're looking for!

Shears

A great haircut makes everyone feel like a new paw-son — your pet included — but not any pair of scissors will do to cut your pooch. When shopping for shears, make sure you look for a dog-specific pair made of high-quality, sharpened stainless steel. Unlike the human shears that come to a sharp point, many dog-specific shears have curved metal, a safety feature to prevent injury.

Shampoo/Conditioner

Like humans, the shampoo or conditioner that works for one dog could have a completely different effect on another. Dogs prone to dry skin or hotspots may benefit from an oatmeal-based shampoo and conditioner that will calm and moisturize the skin. Some shampoos are tailored to brighten coat colors; these are excellent for show dogs and pups prone to tear stains. When possible, choose a sulfate-free, all-natural formula.

Brushes/Combs

Dog brushes fall into four categories: slicker, rakes, bristle, and pin, and each has a different purpose. Slicker brushes are flat and contain wire bristles to smooth the coat. Rakes look similar to a razor and work to remove loose hair in the undercoat and prevent shedding. Bristle and pin brushes are meant to strip the excess fur from shedding-prone short-haired breeds.
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Ear Care

Owners of pooches with long ears are likely familiar with the unpleasant "floppy ear syndrome," a condition in which the ears develop an unpleasant smell caused by moisture, yeast, and bacterial growth. This can be prevented by cleaning the ear canal with cotton balls regularly and applying an ear cleaner that contains enzymes such as lysosome, lactoferin, and lactoperoxidase. Ear cleaning wipes are also handy for on-the-go cleaning.

Paw and Nail Care

The most important grooming tool every owner should have is a nail trimmer. These come in a guillotine-style that features a spring-loaded handle, or a nail-grinder tool which is more forgiving in terms of cutting too deeply. However, these tend to be noisy and can spook a dog. A paw balm is great to have on hand, since extreme weather and hard surfaces can lead to cracking.

Clipper and Trimmers

A good pair of clippers is essential for owners of long-haired dogs, even if they are only used for hygienic trims around the pup's eyes and hind end. Look for a pair with a quiet motor to avoid spooking your dog and sharp stainless steel blades to prevent pulling or gaps. Many groomers prefer rechargeable types since they don't have cords that can tangle around the dog's legs.

Blowdryers

Picking the right blowdryer for your dog is not as simple as picking one for human hair. A good blowdryer for canines requires an easy-to-clean filter, unheated air, and a quiet motor. A plastic material is preferred to metal since these are quieter and are not prone to rust. Handheld dryers are great for grab-and-go grooming, whereas mountable options are for more precise styling.

Skin Care

Dry, itchy skin killing your pup's vibes? Try adding 1/4 of a tablespoon of coconut oil to their food, and use a dog-safe (paw-ferably unscented) lotion to moisturize the skin and relieve itching. Some dogs are prone to hyperkeratosis on their nose and paws — this condition can lead to thickening of the skin and cracking. Dog-safe healing balms (also called paw balms) can help with this issue.

Eye Care

Breeds like beagles and Cocker Spaniels are prone to tear stains. Though not painful, they are unsightly, but thankfully there are many products on the market to combat this problem. Tear stain removing shampoos, wipes, solutions, and supplements are readily available at any big box pet retailer for reasonable prices, though it is best to consult with your vet before using these products.

Deshedding Tools

Deshedding tools look and work similar to a brush, though their function is slightly different. Rather than parting the hair, the closely placed row of stainless steel teeth works more like a razor that loosens and pulls the dead undercoat out before shedding can take place. Some deshedding tools even hook to a vacuum for maximum efficiency and minimal cleanup!