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For dog owners on a tight budget, frequent visits to the groomers can be a tough expense to afford.

However expensive, proper grooming can make a huge difference in your dog’s life. Luckily, you can take care of many of your best friend’s grooming needs right in your own home. Many dog salons even encourage home upkeep grooming between visits.

Here are 5 tips to get you started dog grooming at home.

Get the Right Tools

Dog grooming at home can save you a lot of money over time, but it might require some up-front costs.

If your dog’s grooming includes a haircut, you’ll need to pick up a buzzer made special for dogs. Human hair clippers aren’t built to cut through thicker dog fur. They also tend to run too hot, which can burn the dogs.

Dog clippers are an investment, often costing more than $100. But you’ll make that money back over time by keeping your dog grooming at home.

Start With a Bath

Before you get to trimming your dog’s fur, you’ll want to give him a bath.

Bathing your dog is an essential part of the grooming process. It removes the dirt and oils that can cause problems like skin irritation, bacteria growth, and bad odor.

Clean hair will be much easier to cut. This will ensure your dog’s comfort during the process. It will also benefit the longevity of your clippers.

Use a Dog Shampoo

While washing your dog, not any soap will do.

You need to use a special dog shampoo. Dog skin is more sensitive than human skin, and harsh human shampoos can cause irritation. Find a milder dog-specific shampoo.

In a pinch, baby shampoo can be used on dogs, although it’s not recommended on a regular basis.

Cut With the Grain

Once your dog is clean and dried off, you can pull out the clippers and start buzzing.

Start from the dog’s neck and work your way down along his body. It’s very important to cut this way so you’re cutting along the grain — meaning the direction the hair is growing it.

Cutting against the grain might allow you to lop off more hair in a given pass. But it’s also dangerous as it’s easier for the hair to catch on the clippers and pull, hurting your dog.

For the head, eyes, ears, and other sensitive areas with thinner fur go very slowly and take great care. It may even be best to hold off on grooming these areas and wait until you see a professional.

Incentivize Your Pup

For many dogs, the grooming process is initially a huge nope, especially when you pull out the scary, noisy clippers.

As your dog gets regular experience with the process over time, they’ll calm down and won’t freak out. For inexperienced pups, it helps to incentivize their cooperation.

Slice up small slices of cheese or grab a spoon of peanut butter to give to them as rewards throughout the grooming process.

Supplement Dog Grooming at Home with Professional Grooming

Home grooming is a great way to save money and keep your dog happy and healthy.

That said, it’s still smart to take your best friend to the pros at least a few times a year. Professional groomers have the tools and expertise to take care of the sensitive areas you may not be able to finish.

Can’t make it to the salon? Let Lucky Dawg Pet Services come to you with our mobile groomers.