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Top Five Supplies for Basic Dog Grooming

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Dog grooming supplies are necessary in order to keep up with your dog's grooming needs. Physical maintenance, like care of coat and nails, is one of your dog's basic needs. When choosing general supplies for your dog, do not forget the grooming equipment. Here are a few basics to help you choose the best dog grooming supplies and equipment for your own dog.

1. Dog Brushes and Combs

Dogs can have so many hair types, so it's no surprise that there are so many types of dog brushes available. Choose a brush or comb that best suits your dog's hair. Your dog may benefit from more that one type of brush or comb.
  • Bristle Brushes work well for most hair types. Bristle types vary from soft to firm and from long to short.
  • Wire Pin Brushes are best for dogs with medium to long hair.
  • Slicker Brushes are used to break up tangles and mats in medium to long-haired dogs.
  • Rakes and Matbreakers work best on more severe tangles and mats.
  • Shedding Tools have special teeth that remove excess hair from double-coated breeds and reduce shedding. Common variations are shedding blades and FURminators.
  • Flea Combs are used to detect fleas.
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2. Nail Trimmers

Nail trims can be stressful for dogs and owners alike. Knowledge of proper techniques and use of the right tools can help ease the process.
  • Claw-style Trimmers are spring-loaded and cut the nail in a scissor-like fashion.
  • Guillotine Trimmers have a replaceable blade that cuts the nail when the spring-loaded handle is depressed.
  • Scissor-like Trimmers do not have springs and work best on dogs with small, delicate nails.
  • Styptic Powder, such as Kwik-stop, can be used to stop bleeding if you accidentally cut a nail too short.
  • Filing Tools grind down the nails gradually and result in a smooth edge-nail. Basic emery boards can be used on small, delicate nails. Power rotary tools, such as the Peticure Grooming Tool, work on all nail types.
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3. Dog Shampoos

Bathing your dog is much more effective when you use the right shampoo. Always choose a soap-free shampoo that is intended for use on dogs. Here are some common varieties.
  • Tear-free Shampoos help protect your dog's eyes during baths.
  • Oatmeal Shampoos are designed to soothe mildly irritated skin and ease itching.
  • Natural Shampoos are chemical-free and often include herbs to improve skin and coat.
  • Medicated Shampoos can be prescribed by a veterinarian to help dogs with allergies or other skin conditions.
  • Conditioners are used after the shampoo to help keep your dog's coat moisturized, shiny and tangle-free. Some are designed to be rinsed off, while others can be left on the coat to dry. Conditioners are not always necessary to use.
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4. Dog Ear Care

Proper ear care for dogs is often overlooked, but it is just as important as maintenance of hair and nails. Talk to a veterinary professional or groomer about proper techniques before you begin. Note: NEVER use cotton-tipped swabs or alcohol in your dog's ears!
  • Ear Cleansers are used to help rinse and clean the ear canal.
  • Cotton Balls or Pads are used to wipe out debris from the ears after cleanser is applied.
  • Ear Powder will help dry the ear canal of dogs with excess hair and wax to prepare it for plucking.
  • Hemostats can be used to pluck excess hair from ears. Be sure you are trained to do this before you attempt it on your own!
  • Ear Medications may be prescribed by a vet for dogs with ear conditions such as infections or ear mites.
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5. Dog Hair Clippers

Not all dogs will need haircuts. Short-haired dogs do not need to be shaved or clipped. Some dogs with medium hair, such as Golden Retrievers, may benefit from occasional "shave-downs." However, dogs with hair that keeps growing, like Poodles or Shih Tzus, must be cut on a regular basis. Dog groomers and pet owners often use electric clippers to give dogs a neat and uniform cut. Experienced groomers may also use hair cutting scissors to neatly trim or touch-up long hair. If you are not trained to use scissors, it may be best to stick with electric clippers.

Note: it is extremely important to NEVER use scissors to cut mats out - you could seriously injure your dog! Use electric clippers or special brushes for this instead!
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Related Video
Use an Electric Pet Nail Trimmer
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