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Tips for a Great Groom at Home


June 10, 2020

Want to learn how to get your dog clean and pretty without having to leave home? Read below for some helpful tips.

Maybe your schedule is too packed or your dog hates the car. Whatever the reason, you’d like to be able to groom your dog at home. While some complicated haircuts or de-matting procedures are best left to the professionals, with these tips you will be able to successfully give your dog a stress-free bath in your bathtub or shower.

Dogs self-groom to some degree, but sometimes there is a smell that lingers on their coat, or they’ve rolled in some mud or other unsavory substance. Try not to over-groom your dog, though—about once every three months is an ideal frequency for most dogs. But how do you get your dog used to this routine?

Prepare the Equipment

Before your dog’s first bath, you should gather all of the supplies you’ll need. We recommend these must-have items:

  • Dog shampoo
  • Cup or bucket for rinsing
  • KONG ZoomGroom
  • Small training treats or some kibble
  • Towels (2 per 50 lbs of body weight)

These items aren’t essential, but they can sure help:

  • A spray attachment for your shower
  • Dog conditioner (not necessary, but can help with dry or itchy skin)
  • Hair dryer with cool or warm setting (best for small pets who may get cold while wet)
  • A friend or family member for an extra set of hands

Once you have everything you need, let your pet sniff and interact with each item before the bath occurs. (If your dog needs a bath immediately, you can skip this step.) Brush your dog using the KONG ZoomGroom each day while his coat is dry. This will help loosen any dead hair, help keep his skin healthy, and prevent mats in dogs with undercoats

Now, for the fun part.

Bring your dog into the bathroom and close the door. Speak softly but positively, and give him a treat. Go over his whole body with the ZoomGroom, noting if he has any signs of pain or injury. If he does, call your vet. As you brush him with the ZoomGroom, give him plenty of praise and a treat for each quadrant.

Turn the water on (just a trickle!) to test the temperature. Aim for just warmer than lukewarm. Then, place your dog into the tub and turn the water on higher. Treats and praise help with this step!

Use your cup, bucket, or sprayer attachment to get your dog’s whole coat wet. Then, add a squirt of shampoo (one US quarter size dollop for every 10 lbs of body weight, add more if necessary) and begin to lather. Have your friend or family member, if available, give treats as you scrub.

While the shampoo is lathered, use the ZoomGroom to clean your dogs’ skin and coat. The 3/4-inch rubber fingers reach through the coat to massage the skin, stimulating capillaries and natural oil production, leading to a healthy coat for your dog. This also helps your dog’s coat look clean and full of body when it dries.

Once you are finished lathering and scrubbing, begin the rinsing process. Double check the water temperature (your dog could have bumped it with his nose!) and then rinse using your cup, bucket, or sprayer. Make sure to rinse thoroughly, because your dog doesn’t want to taste shampoo if he has to lick an itch!

When you’re done rinsing, turn the water off and place a towel over your dog’s back right away. Try not to let him jump out of the tub without a towel! Blot his coat as best you can initially, before the first shake. Use a second towel once he is out of the tub or shower to vigorously rub any excess water off of his coat. Treats abound here, too!

If your dog is small, you might want to give him a blow dry. Make sure your hair dryer has a cool or low setting, as you don’t want to accidentally burn or overheat your dog. If possible, let your dog go outside to dry off, but keep an eye on him to prevent any instinctual rolling or digging while he’s freshly clean.

Set your ZoomGroom somewhere safe to dry, and then be sure to use it regularly to help keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy!