Grooming a dog – common mistakes

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

Nail fail

The first 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.

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.

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

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.

It’s important to cover these and instead simply wipe down the inside of their ears and under their eyes with a damp cloth. For breeds with long floppy ears, good ear care is really important, so talk to your vet or groomer.

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.

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.

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. We’ll talk more about this in a later episode too.

And finally, make sure you dry your dog off properly and 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.

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).

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