Sometime last year, I decided to finally act on something I’ve been wanting to do – groom Savannah myself. The idea was both exciting and scary because I knew absolutely nothing about grooming dogs but I was ready for the challenge!
For years, I had taken Savannah to professional groomers and, more times than not, have left unhappy with the work. Being a poodle invited loads of excuses for shaves that ended up being too short, resulted in razor burn and more, but when I brought her home with uneven hair, it was time to draw the line.
Throughout my at-home dog grooming journey, I picked up some tips that some lovely folks left online and will be sharing them with you to return the favor.
Invest in some quality equipment
This one is a bit of a no-brainer but I have to admit, when you initially approach something like this, the first thought that comes to mind is not wanting to spend an arm and a leg on something you don’t even know how to do. For something like grooming, however, it’s super important not to head straight to the clearance section (if possible).
My first clippers were purchased on Amazon for about $50 and, while they did their job, I knew they weren’t the best on the market and it showed. I have since upgraded to the Wahl Bravura Lithium Ion Cordless Clipper Kit, which was worth about $155 when I purchased them from Chewy.com, and, needless to say, my previous pair is now collecting dust in the closet. These aren’t the most expensive clippers on the market but they do a great job and I’m very satisfied with the product they deliver.
Scissors are also an important accessory if you plan on trimming up the more delicate areas. Never use the scissors you have in your kitchen junk drawer as they’re not intended to use on hair (and they’re probably a bit dull). I purchased ConairPRO’s rounded-tip shears from Chewy.com and they’ve been great. Not only are they sharp and just the right size, but their rounded tip helps protect Savannah from any accidents (you still have to be very careful though. The smallest movement could result in an accident!).
Decide when to bathe: Before or after?
I’ve seen many professional groomers on TikTok and Instagram that show the groomer removing excess hair from a dog prior to grooming. I’ve found this a useful tactic to follow with Savannah because of her hair type (poodles, am I right!?), but I’ve read a few articles that bounce back and forth between what’s recommended.
While clipping a dirty pup could clog your blades due to oil, debris and dirt, clipping before a bath could make bathing and drying much easier and even prevent the spread of bacteria during the bathing process. I think any preparation you need to take prior to a bath is perfectly acceptable to do, but always make sure your pup is fully dry after the bath before brushing and proceeding to the cut itself.
Bathing dos & don’ts
You might be thinking – “Is she really going to tell me how to bathe my dog?”. The answer is yes but for good reason! When it comes to bathing your dog, it’s important to use the right shampoo for your pet.
I personally have fallen in love with the Tropiclean brand and have officially stocked up on several products for Savannah. Not only do they use natural ingredients in their products, but they provide so many options depending on your pet’s needs. Savannah has allergies, so their hypoallergenic shampoo is perfect. On days when she needs extra conditioning for her curly coat, I opt for the Luxury 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner option. I’ve found that using quality products during this step makes a huge difference when their fur begins to dry!
While you shouldn’t bathe your dog too often, always remember to completely work in the shampoo of your choice and fully rinse, when you do. Bathing too often can lead to dry skin (due to stripping all of the natural oils from their coat), and failing to rinse completely may lead to skin irritation for your dog.
Although I have much more to learn about dog grooming (including trimming nails – yikes!), I feel like I’ve gotten to a comfortable place. Not only is Savannah happy about not having to go to a groomer every few months, but I’m happy about how much it’s saving me in the long run!
If you have any questions about any of the products or tools mentioned above, contact us today.
Note: I am not a professional dog groomer and the tips listed above are from personal experiences and trials.