How To Groom Your Dogs At Home

Whilst dog groomers have been deemed essential services by the government, and are allowed to remain open in the tier system and during national lockdowns, they should only open for emergency and animal welfare purposes, rather than aesthetic purposes.

With this in mind, you might be wondering if you can groom your dogs at home, and how to go about doing it. We’ve compiled this short guide to answer your questions and provide you with the information you need to look after your dogs at home.

What’s covered in this blog?

When is it essential to visit the groomers?

Dog groomers are allowed to remain open during national lockdowns for essential grooming only. Essential grooming is classed as welfare grooming and includes:

  • Services to treat matting
  • Services to support the skin regime of dogs with a history of dermatitis
  • Services to treat dogs whose nails are causing problems or severe discomfort to the foot
  • Trimming around the eyes, bum, private areas, and the underpads of specific areas of matting if it causes discomfort
  • Dogs that need grooming for other veterinary reasons (a supporting letter may be required)

Can I groom my dog at home?

Yes, grooming your dog regularly is essential for their welfare. It’s important to ensure that your dog stays clean and healthy, just like humans do. You should also use this as an opportunity to check for any health problems.

Every dog breed has different grooming needs and requires different tools to effectively do the job without harming them. Be sure to do your research before beginning and contact your local groomer or vet if you’re unsure of anything. Check out our online store for a full range of coat care products to enhance your pet’s home grooming experience.

Don’t forget to visit the groomers post-lockdown

Whilst there are things that you can do at home to keep your dog clean and healthy, grooming is important to keep them in tip top shape. Professional grooming helps to treat and avoid a variety of problems that could end up causing your dog discomfort down the road.

It’s worth noting that some things are best left to the professions (clipping/trimming etc) as it can be quite easy to cause your dog harm if you don’t know what you’re doing. Our expert groomers have years of experience and know how to treat your dog in the most appropriate way for their coat type and individual concerns. Their care and attention will keep your dog’s coat healthy long-term and will help to prevent discomfort. Make sure to book your appointment at The Pet Retreat once we re-open for all services (expected W/C 12th April). Alternatively, our new Grooming Club is the perfect option to keep your pet’s coat looking shiny and healthy all year round.

How to groom my dog at home

Grooming can be done anywhere in your home, but it’s a good idea to seek out good lighting and a suitable surface that your dog will not slip on. Ensure to be gentle and patient with your dog, especially around sensitive areas, and make sure to reward them afterwards.


Bathing your dog should be done in warm, but not hot, water. Begin by gently brushing their coat to remove any matts, use unscented dog shampoo, rinse well and air dry your dog. This should be done monthly.


Ideally, scissoring or shaving your dog should be left to the professionals as you don’t want to cause wounds. Professionals recommend, instead, investing in suitable brushes for your dog’s hair type, and maintaining their coats by brushing little and often.

If you do decide to trim your dog’s hair, the most important thing to consider is the tools that you will use. It is vitally important to use tools specifically designed for dog grooming as human hair clippers can harm their skin. Ensure to research how to properly trim your dog’s hair before attempting to do so.


Brushing your dog’s little and often will help to keep their coat free of mats, whilst also removing dirt, dead hair and dandruff. Gentle brushing will also help to stimulate the release of natural oils that will keep their coat looking neat and shiny. Ensure to use the correct type of brush for your dog.

Check for any unusual lumps and bumps

It is vitally important to check for any unusual lumps and bumps on your dog as they could indicate a serious health problem. Whilst some may be benign and no cause for concern, it is always best to have them checked by a vet.

Check for parasites

Whilst some parasites are internal and won’t show symptoms until the infestation becomes severe, ensure to check for obvious signs of parasites as left untreated, they can cause serious health problems. Check regularly for external parasites such as ticks, fleas and mites, especially if you walk in green areas.

Inspect their teeth

Whilst it’s best to brush your dog’s teeth daily, ensure to do this at least a few times a week to ensure that plaque doesn’t build up, and reduce the risk of other problems such as costly dental work, heart disease, and kidney disease. You can also use products such as VeggieDent to keep your dog’s teeth clean.

Check claws aren’t overgrown

Seek expert advice from your vet on this matter, however it is not always necessary to clip your dog’s nails. If they regularly walk on pavements and roads, their nails will naturally file down. You should, however, check the dew claws as these don’t usually reach the ground. Ensure to do your research before attempting to trim your dog’s nails.

What tools do I need to groom my dog at home?

Dog grooming brushes

Ensure to purchase the correct type of brush for your dog as different brushes work better on different breeds. Check with your vet if you’re unsure.

Dog nail clippers

There are a variety of nail clippers available for dogs, but the important thing is to never use human nail clippers. They are usually not strong enough to get through a dog’s nail, and could end up fracturing it.

Dog grooming clippers

Never use human clippers on dogs as the blades may damage your dog’s sensitive skin. Research what will work best for your dog, and contact your local groomer or vet if you’re unsure.

Pet shampoo

We recommend using Milly’s Shampoo. It’s natural ingredients and scents avoid irritating your dog’s sensitive skin. Don’t be tempted to use human toiletries and beauty products on your dog as they are not formulated for dogs and could be harmful. This is especially true for toothpaste as most human toothpastes contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. The Pet Retreat stocks pet-friendly shampoo to ease the process of grooming your pet.

Dos & don’ts of home dog grooming

It’s important to know the dos and don’ts of dog grooming to ensure that your dog stays in tip top shape, and that you don’t accidentally harm them. Check out our dos and don’ts before picking up those grooming tools:


  • Groom your dog regularly. You should brush their teeth daily, brush their coat often, and be sure to bathe them monthly
  • Be patient and gentle. Dog’s can sense your stress, so make sure that you’re calm before beginning. Give yourself plenty of time, and pay close attention to what you’re doing to avoid harming your dog
  • Use appropriate equipment designed for your dog. Never be tempted to use human toiletries or tools
  • Know your limits. Never attempt something that you’re unsure or apprehensive about. You could end up making a mistake and harming your dog along the way. Contact your local vet or groomer in these situations


  • Never restrain your dog by holding their fur. It can be difficult to train your dog for grooming, but never grip their fur – this could be damaging
  • Don’t bathe your dog too often as this can cause skin irritation and temperature regulating issues
  • Don’t overwhelm your dog by doing too much grooming in one session.
  • Divide up grooming tasks to keep them short and sweet, and keep your dog happy
  • Don’t cut their nails too short. This could be painful and cause a great deal of bleeding if you cut into the quick

What do I do if my dog is scared of grooming?

It is crucial that you get a handle on your dog’s fear of grooming before it escalates. Don’t avoid grooming if your dog is afraid of something; the more out of condition the situation becomes, the more unpleasant it will be for them. In extreme cases, this can also lead to a negative perception of human contact altogether as they may associate it with pain or discomfort.