How to Groom a Dog at Home

Bath time for dog

There’s nothing like snuggling up with a freshly-washed pup, but it’s not always convenient to get your dog to the groomer on a weekly or even monthly basis. That’s why at-home grooming is such an important part of the dog owner’s handbook. But wrangling an anxious animal into the bathtub can be stressful for both parties, so you need to know how to do it the right way. Natural Dog Company has the best dog grooming products plus top-notch tips to help you shower Scout safely, even if they dart at the sight of the shampoo bottle.

boston terrier with sensitive shampoo

“I love a good bubble bath!”

How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?

How often your dog needs a bath depends on their breed, coat, skin type, activity level, and where they spend most of their time. If your dog is visibly dirty, smells bad, or has encountered an irritant of any sort, it’s time to break out the shampoo and treats. The VCA warns that failing to regularly bathe and brush your pet could result in severe mats, which can cause irritated skin, scabs, and the inability to completely dry your pet’s fur, among other concerns. Grooming with the right products also helps control shedding and dermatitis in dogs, keeping the whole family happy.

Browse Our All-Natural Dog Grooming Products

Our Best At-Home Grooming Tips

If it’s your first time grooming at home, make sure you and your dog are prepared for what’s to come. Before you begin, gather all supplies — shampoo, conditioner, towels, and treats — so you’re not scrambling once your dog is in the tub. Here are a few more of our top tips for grooming at home.  

Get Your Dog Comfortable with the Environment 

Depending on your dog’s size and breed, you can bathe them in the bathtub, sink, or outside with a hose. In any case, make sure your dog is familiar with the environment before you start bathing. If you have a water-phobic pup, be sure to start with a little bit of water before going all-in with the hose. Remember, even dogs who have no hesitation jumping off the dock may be leery of the bathtub, so be patient and introduce new stimuli slowly.

Sensitive Skin Oatmeal Shampoo

Use Lukewarm Water and Gentle Spray 

The experts say lukewarm water is best for dog bathing. Water that’s too hot could burn or irritate your pup’s skin, while water that’s too cold could cause discomfort and create bad associations with bathing. Never use water on your dog before testing its
temperature first to make sure it’s not too hot or cold. If you’re using a hose or a water sprayer, aim for medium to gentle pressure. A high-pressure or noisy sprayer could hurt or scare your pet.

Use Pet Soap with the Right pH Level 

Never use human shampoo or conditioner on your dog’s fur, as they often contain colorants, chemicals, and fragrances that can irritate sensitive pup skin. What’s more, dog shampoo is formulated to the right pH level and contains dog-safe ingredients. Natural Dog Company offers 100 percent natural dog shampoos free of sulfates, parabens, alcohol, and toxins.

Sensitive Skin Oatmeal Shampoo

Address Your Dog’s Specific Issues 

When selecting a shampoo, consider your pet’s skin and fur. If your pup struggles with allergies or dermatitis, use a dog shampoo for itchy skin. If shedding is your number one concern, use a product that will help you manage the fur while leaving behind a luxuriously soft coat. A conditioning shampoo will help you handle mats and tangles. If your pet has dry patches or problem areas, you’ll want to use a sensitive skin dog shampoo and regularly apply soothing dog balms to their paws, snout, and skin after bath time.

Brush, Brush, Brush 

Matted fur leads to discomfort, infections, and other issues and prohibits you from properly cleaning your dog’s skin and fur. For this reason, you always want to make sure you brush out any serious knots before bathtime. Once your dog’s fur has dried, you can go in with a shed-removing brush to get rid of any excess fur in your pup’s undercoat.

Be Liberal with the Treats 

As all pet owners know, getting a dog to comply in new scenarios often involves a bit of bribery. If you’re working with a puppy, throughout the process keep some fast-to-eat training treats on hand to reward good behavior — such as remaining still while you scrub. If your pup is an old pro, they deserve a tasty chew when bathtime is over.

Know When to Seek the Advice of a Pro 

Relaxing bath foam to a Golden Retriever dog

“Nothing like a day at the spa.”

You should still seek the assistance of a professional groomer a couple of times a year—especially if you’ve got a long-haired breed or a dog with skin allergies—but home grooming is essential for regular maintenance. If your dog has serious mats, it’s best to take them to a professional groomer. Mats can be tight and close to the skin, so clippers or professional tools may be required. 

Keep your furry family member happy, healthy and smelling great by settling into a safe grooming routine at home. Natural Dog Company has all the top-rated natural products you need in your toolkit for growl-free grooming.