15 Common Dog Grooming Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


15 Common Dog Grooming Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Denise Leo. Post first published on August 22, 2021.

This article will teach you the common dog grooming mistakes that many people make, as well as share tips on how to avoid these pitfalls. 

Grooming your dog is a necessary task, but it’s also easy to make mistakes. It can be difficult to know how often you should bathe your dog and what type of shampoo or conditioner to use. If you’re struggling with grooming, then this blog post will help you out.

Grooming is a key element in the overall care of your pet. It makes a major impact on your choice of the dog breed you own. Regardless of the breed, you choose to take home, you’ll need to ensure he’s regularly groomed and bathed so he’s as healthy, comfortable, and visually appealing as possible.

In an ideal world, it’s best to leave grooming to the dog grooming professionals. However, it’s tempting to do it yourself because it can work out cheaper to do so. Grooming is a way you can bond with your pet. It can be very rewarding for both you and your pet, as long as you follow all the advice your vet or groomer gives you and that you feel comfortable doing it yourself.

It’s ideal if you can get a professional groomer for the job. However, you can do it for yourself if you buy a good quality pair of clippers. Most pet shops sell this type of product. In the long run, you’ll save heaps of money.

15 Common Dog Grooming Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
15 Common Dog Grooming Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Tips to Help you Avoid Dog Grooming Mistakes

There are many types of coats in the dog kingdom: long hair, short hair, double coats, and coats that don’t shed. Each type needs some unique grooming techniques but there are other grooming elements common to all dogs.

The Top 15 Dog Grooming Mistakes to Avoid

1. Failing To Brush Dog’s Coat Before Bathing

Every dog needs a regular brush as it gets rid of the surface dirt on the coat. It spreads the dog’s natural oil over his skin and helps stop the hair from becoming tangled. Brushing lets your feel your dog’s whole body and is an ideal method for checking for sores, bumps, and lumps that may need to be treated.

You should begin brushing your puppy when he’s very young so he becomes used to that activity. Reward the puppy with yummy treats while he sits quietly and patiently. At first, you should only do it for about two minutes and slowly increase the amount of time you spend brushing your pet.

Boxers, Staffordshire Terriers, and other dogs with smooth, short coats have a nickname of ‘wash’n’wear’ dogs as it’s very easy to look after their coats. A rubber brush should go against the lie of the fur generally is all you need. One tip here is that it’s wise to use a chamois cloth and rub it over your dog’s coat. This action polishes it and makes the coat shiny.

If your dog has a long coat and a protective undercoat, he’ll need to be brushed thoroughly every other day. If this doesn’t happen, his hair will become matted and very uncomfortable. To remove all loose hair, use a wire slicker brush. Use a wide-toothed comb to gently eliminate all the tangles and mats in your dog’s coat. It’s also vital that you trim the hair growing between his toes.

Dogs such as Bichon Frise, Schnauzers, and Poodles have a type of hair that continuously keeps growing, like wool, but it never sheds. Because of this, they’re ideal pets for those with allergies. However, they still need bathing regularly and their coats should be trimmed every 6-8 weeks using a decent clipper.

2. Failure to Train Your Dog

If you wish to groom your dog without causing him any harm, anxiety, or a complete mess, you must put in a lot of effort into training your dog so he’s comfortable whenever he is being groomed. To do this properly, it’s imperative that training him should begin when he’s as young as possible.

Part of this training involves ensuring he’s comfortable when he’s touched on his body, tail. paws, legs, head, and face, and that he’s used to hearing buzzing and other types of grooming tools.

He should also be comfortable with other people who touch him because you might hire a groomer down the track and you won’t like your dog to be afraid and, perhaps, nip him.

If you have adopted your dog when he’s older, it’s still essential to make him comfortable with all aspects of dog grooming at home. You have to create an environment that’s free from stress and ensure you give him lots of rewards and praise while you’re washing him and brushing his fur and teeth.

Be extremely patient and create a positive experience. Your dog could easily be nervous the first few times but persist with it. This will make your dog less anxious, preventing grooming a miserable time for you and your dog.

3. Washing Your Dog’s Inner Ears

Many people are under the impression that their dogs’ ears ought to be cleaned from time to time. However, this is not true! As a matter of fact, cleaning your dog’s inner ear can do more harm than good.

If your pup seems to have an ear issue, you should probably go see the vet. You’ll want them to check out how bad it is and determine what kind of treatment they need in order for their ears to be as healthy as possible.

4. Not Rinsing Your Dog Thoroughly

Whether you’re bathing your pup or just giving them a quick water spritz, it’s important to make sure that all the shampoo is off of their coat. If not rinsing thoroughly enough can lead to irritated and dry skin which will need extra attention at bath time as well as an increased chance for infections in those tender spots on their body.

Not rinsing their coat thoroughly can lead to things like the dreaded hot spots or worse yet itchiness and scratching which will drive any pup mad as they try so hard to scratch themselves raw because of an uncontrollable urge from the skin irritation.

5. Failure to Brush A Wet Dog

Apart from brushing him prior to a wash, it’s vital that you brush him after the wash. This makes brushing afterwards an easier, less painful process. Bathing him loosens even more hair. These hairs will become tangled in his coat if not brushed out. This is yet another reason for brushing him before and after his bath.

6. Lack of Grooming Consistency

Even though your schedule doesn’t say it’s time to cut his fur, bathe him and give him a complete grooming session, that’s no reason to avoid basic duties such as brushing his coat.

Some owners don’t groom their dog at a specific time of the year or might go for a couple of weeks without the urge to trim or bathe their dog. However, it’s essential to maintain the grooming routine so he’ll feel less stressed and won’t forget what grooming feels like when you return to regular dog grooming.

7. Not Being Thorough

Brushing your dog’s back is easy. However, a lot of owners forget there’s also an entire dog body connected to his back that will need your attention as well. Parasites and pests love infesting these other body parts including the face, belly, neck, ears, armpits, and tail. Looking for these areas on your dog’s body, as well as getting rid of mats and tangles won’t merely help them look fantastic, but it also maintains their good health.

8. Dog Grooming in Winter

Many owners are concerned about cutting their dog’s hair in the Wintertime, that their dogs will feel the cold. So, they don’t cut their dogs’ hair. They also ignore the other grooming tasks.

This often means their dogs have severe matting prior to warmer months and the only way to remedy the problem at this point is to do a short shave on their dog’s coat, the opposite of an owner’s goal in Winter. The extra length of the dog’s fur won’t keep him stay much warmer in Winter.

Keep up with his regular grooming: bathing and brushing, and trim his coat, too. This avoids tangled, matted fur and his natural coat will keep him warm. There’s no need for a full shave, but maintaining his coat is essential.

9. I Cut My Dog While Grooming

You must be very careful because a single slip when shaving a dog with clippers can cause your dog pain and harm. Damaging the dog’s skin with clippers is known as razor burn on dogs.  This isn’t just a physical injury. It’s also an emotional injury. It takes ages to build trust with your pet, to begin with, and if you hurt him, that trust can quickly evaporate, leaving your pet wary of you from then on.

Shaving a Dog with Clippers
Shaving a Dog with Clippers

The first mistake you can make is shaving too close to the skin. Clippers may leave a horrible razor burn that may later cause an infection. If you do accidentally cause such a burn whilst shaving a dog with clippers, immediately stop and apply first aid. Clean the wound and then apply some anti-bacteria salve. Give your pet lots of hugs and apologize for causing such pain and say that it was just an accident.

Although your pet may not understand the actual words, he’ll understand your tone and will react to you in the way you intend. Emotional pain can be as bad as physical pain. Keep your eye on the wound and if it starts oozing pus or turns red, take him to the vet straight away. If he licks or tries to scratch his wound, use a plastic protective collar because you don’t want him aggravating it while it’s trying to heal.

10. Shaving Your Dog For Summer

Shaving your dog for summer can be a dangerous and painful process. The sun heats up the blades of the razor, which could cause burns if touched by sensitive skin on their muzzle or ears. And because dogs have fur that grows in different directions, it’s not always easy to keep them from getting nicked when shaving certain areas like under the tail.

It’s important for double-coated spitz dog breed owners to be aware of the risk that shaving can cause problems. Double coated dogs like the Pomeranian are at higher risk for a variety of issues related to grooming, including hair loss after being shaved in an effort to stay cool during the summer months. Owners should avoid severe fur trimming on these breeds and opt instead for keeping them cooler with plenty of water and shade throughout the day.

15 Common Dog Grooming Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
15 Common Dog Grooming Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

11. Using Dull Clippers

You should never use dull clippers on dogs, and if you do the cut will be uneven. There are other issues as well that can arise from using a dull blade of any variety like infection or unnecessary discomfort for your dog when clipping is done too close to the skin’s surface. If you want to avoid these pitfalls make sure all blades are sharp before starting with grooming.

Don’t jump into nail clipping head first. First, you need to check that your clippers are sharp. They need to be replaced regularly. Dull nail clippers will crush your dog’s nails instead of properly cutting them, potentially making them slip and causing injuries.

Another mistake that you, as a novice groomer, can make is getting shampoo or other similar chemicals in your pet’s eyes. Whether it’s your fault or perhaps your pet moved his head at the wrong time, soap can easily splash. This can make your pet’s eyes sting and cause him to relate pet grooming with that unpleasant experience from then on. Again, trust is lost unnecessarily.

Wash his eyes with water or a saline solution and then dab them with a soft sterile cloth. Comfort your pet by hugging and patting him to take his attention off his eyes.

Give him a treat or grab his favorite toy. Hold the toy so he can see it and move it back and forth. Watch his eyes for any signs that they’re irritated as the eyes follow the toy up and down, back and forth.

13. Not Restraining Your Pet While Grooming

One mistake that may prove fatal is leaving your pet loose or unrestrained while you’re trying to groom him. Cats hate baths, as do some dogs, and they’ll try to escape at any opportunity. Your pet might try to escape while you’re grooming him.

He may run out into the road and get hit by a car or be attacked by another animal. Ensure you use a dog grooming restraint.

Preferably a leash and perhaps he needs a dog grooming head restraint such as a muzzle as well. This protects both him and you. If washing him outside, do it in a fenced area so he’s not tempted to run away.

14. Using the Wrong Equipment and Not Cutting Precisely and Slowly

Proper trimming of a dog’s nails is an enormous challenge for the majority of dog owners. This is an important reason for ensuring your dog is comfortable having his paws handled properly while training.

Learn the right way to spot the nails quick. If your dog’s nails are light in color, you’ll likely see the quick as a pink circle around each nail. If your dog’s nails are dark, the quick might be visible as a black circle when you cut into the nail.

Make sure you take your time and avoid cutting into the quick because it will cause pain and bleeding. If you don’t know how to do it, ask your vet or an experienced groomer to help you.

15. Letting Your Dog Go Outside Right After Grooming

Most dogs will go crazy after their bath, even if they have been fully dried. The first thing they want to do is run around and roll in things, such as the grass, mud, dirt, etc.

While there are numerous reasons for them wanting to do this, it’s critical that your dog be kept inside after being groomed. If not, he’ll run around outside and when he comes in again, you’ll need to wash everything off him and groom him once more.

Let your dog run around inside for a while until he loses the urge to go outside.

Final Thoughts Dog Grooming Mistakes to Avoid

The conclusion of this article of the list of the most common dog grooming mistakes and how to avoid them. In order to help you keep your pup looking his or her best, I compiled this list of some of the most common mistakes that people make when they are trying to groom their pet dog at home.

These tips will be sure to save you from any unwanted hairballs in the future! Let me know if there are other questions about these topics that need more clarification before putting our advice into practice with your furry friend. We’re happy to answer all your queries and provide helpful solutions for keeping your puppy well-groomed.

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Tips on Dog Grooming
Tips on Dog Grooming




  • Denise Leo

    My name is Denise Leo, and I hail from Australia. My journey with dogs, especially with the delightful Pomeranian breed, has been a lifelong passion extending over 50 years. I have had the honor of breeding and exhibiting close to 100 Pomeranian Champions, dedicating many years to the intricate art of dog training across various disciplines. Beyond the show ring, my experience stretches to the pastoral fields as both a Dairy Farmer and Beef Cattle Breeder, where working with dogs of all breeds has been an integral part of my daily life. This diverse exposure has deepened my understanding and appreciation for these incredible animals. I firmly believe that dogs are the most extraordinary beings in our universe, capable of offering us unconditional love that surpasses even their own self-interest. The countless wonderful dogs that have shared my life over the years have not only brought immense joy and companionship but have also profoundly enriched my existence in ways I could never have imagined. About us page

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