Dog grooming mistakes

Play Video

When it comes to dog grooming mistakes, there are some common ones that owners can unintentionally make, which can lead to pain or discomfort for pets.

Nail fail

The first of the most common dog grooming mistakes is not getting your dog’s nails trimmed regularly and allowing them to grow so long they become painful for your dog to walk on.

On flipside, it is cutting the quick of the nail, that red part you can see in a white nail, which contains a nerve that causes pain when cut and a LOT of blood.

This results in many dogs becoming very anxious about having their nails trimmed.  So, if you are unsure, take them to a groomer or vet in between professional full grooms if you are unsure about grooming your dog and their nails at home.  For tips on how to do it safely, click here.

Also ensure your pet’s nail clippers are sharp enough to cut through the nail in one move. Dull clippers will crush rather than cut your pet’s nail. Take your time, and make sure you don’t cut the nerve.  Just do one mm at a time and even just one nail per day.

Over-washing a dog

The next mistake many owners make when grooming a dog is over-washing, which can dry out the oils needed for a healthy skin and coat, so research the ideal grooming schedule for your dog’s breed to avoid one of the most common dog grooming mistakes.

There are some deodorising and conditioning sprays in the DGG grooming range that you can use on your dog instead.

Not brushing your dog regularly

Not brushing your dog regularly, washing them with matted hair and not removing the undercoat before wetting those with double coats are also all common mistakes that result in painful, tangled matted hair that can also become a breeding ground for bacteria and infection.

Always give your dog a good brush before the bath to remove any excess dirt and hair to avoid one of the most common dog grooming mistakes.

Regular brushing also helps to keep your dog clean, distributes oils through the coat, prevents matting, increases circulation and reduces shedding. The rule of thumb is once a week then an extra brush for ever centimetre of hair per week.

Once you have washed them, dry them as much as possible before gently using a detangling brush or wide-tooth comb to gently brush hair in the direction of growth to remove any tangles and stimulate the production of oils.

Avoid brushing them when wet to help make it easier and less painful. Use a detangling spray to help, especially if they have long curly locks.

Ignoring matted hair

Finally, one of the biggest dog grooming mistakes and my biggest pet hate, excuse the pun, is matted hair. When close to the skin they pull and cause pain, so regularly brush your dog to keep on top of matts – be vigilant around their ears, paws, under their collars and legs, as they can’t tell you it’s there, if you’re not looking for it.

Not choosing a natural, dog specific shampoo

Some people use human shampoo, or one filled with nasty chemicals which can disrupt the acidity levels, leaving dogs vulnerable to parasites and bacteria, not to mention, making the skin dry and flaky.

Look for a natural shampoo that is pH balanced for pets, is soap free, contains no nasties like SLS or parabens, and is full of natural botanicals that will nourish your dog’s skin and coat like those in the DGG range. Be mindful that the water isn’t too hot or cold either.

Not rinsing the shampoo off properly is also another common mistake, as is allowing shampoo and water to go into a dog’s eyes and ears.

Washing ears

While keeping your dog’s ears clean is important, especially long floppy ones, avoid washing them or using wet wipes, as moisture inside the ear canal can become a haven for bacteria and infection.

Instead, use a soft dry cloth to wipe away dirt, or moisture after a bath or swim. Be sure to only use a vet-approved pet ear cleaner inside the ear. If you do notice a brown discharge, funny smell or your dog is scratching their ears a lot, talk to your vet about treatment.

Not caring for double coats properly

Then there’s shaving a dog with a double coat thinking it will help keep them cool, when it is actually the undercoat and not the outer one that needs to be removed. This is another of the most common dog grooming mistakes to avoid.

To find the right shampoo, brushes and other grooming tools to help avoid some of these mistakes when grooming a dog, check out the DGG grooming range at your local Pet specialty store or visit the DGG website.


Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, pet food nutrition specialist, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of World of Dogs and Eat, Play, Love (Your Dog).

Looking for more dog tips and fun facts?

Get your paws on Lara Shannon’s best selling books ‘Eat, Play, Love (your dog) and World of Dogs.

Available in Australia, USA, UK and Canada.