HomeNewsJan 27, Do It Yourself Dog Grooming for Your Small Dog

    Jan 27, Do It Yourself Dog Grooming for Your Small Dog

    Considering do-it-yourself dog grooming for your small breed dog?

    by Janice A. Jones     |Last Updated 01-27-2023

    You’re not alone, many people are learning to groom their dog at home, for a variety of reasons. 

    Maybe you’re one of those folks who want to save some money by doing grooming yourself.  You’re not alone.  According to a recent Angie’s List Post, forking out 30 to 90 per grooming session is a typical fee that pet owners pay depending on the size of the pet and the amount of time needed to groom.  

    Perhaps bonding with your dog is your goal and that definitely a good reason to consider grooming at home.

    DIY Dog Grooming for Small Breed DogsDo It Yourself Dog Grooming for Small Breed Dogs

    Still others worry that dog groomers are not treating their dog the way they would like or that hours and policies make it difficult to connect with a good groomer.  

    Others are interested in learning the skill of dog grooming and what better place to start but to perfect their craft with their own dogs.

    All dogs need grooming, but the amount of time required to grooming varies widely according to breed.  Beyond doing-it-yourself, it is critically to note, that dog grooming is vitally important.

    Most of these differences revolves around type of hair coat.  Small dogs can have a variety of hair coats:

    • Short Hair
    • Wire Hair
    • Curly Hair
    • Long Hair
    • Corded Hair

    What is Your Small Dog Breed?

    When choosing a small breed dog, grooming
    needs should factor into the decision. Most of us don’t mind giving a small dog a bath in the kitchen sink and occasionally
    clipping their nails. But, for the majority of small breed dogs, grooming care requires much more than the occasional bath and pedicure, some substantially more time and money.

    Short haired dogs are probably the easiest type of breed to grooming.  Short haired dogs need an occasional bath, periodical brushing, nail clipping, tooth brushing and ear checks.

    For terrier breeds with wiry coats, breeds with curly hair and dogs that have long flowing hair coats, the time required to keep these dogs looking their best requires a significant investment of time and money.

    Grooming can become a hobby for some and a wonderful way to increase the bond between you and your fur baby. But for others, grooming tasks can seem overwhelming.  

    Do it Yourself Dog Grooming Means…

    it yourself dog grooming often means brushing, brushing, brushing, especially if you have any type of small dog except the short haired dog breeds.

    Brushing out a long coated breed is time
    consuming but rewarding and, what is more beautiful than the glamorous, flowing
    mane of a long coated show dog. 

    If you
    have a breed that has long hair and you have chosen to keep it long rather than
    keep it in a shorter puppy cut, you know that fastidious attention daily is
    required to keep it gorgeous.

    But there is more to grooming than just brushing.  Do it yourself dog grooming also means…

    Even if you don’t want to take on all the do it yourself dog grooming tasks that your small dog breed requires, there are a couple of tasks that will help keep your little looking great between professional grooming visits.

    Bathing Your Small Dog

    A professional groomer will bathe your dog as part of the whole grooming package, but you might want your little guy to have a bath or two between visits.  The easiest way to bathe a small breed dog is in the kitchen sink, shower, or wash tub.   

    Sure, bathtubs are fine, but when you are dealing with a tiny dog, a large bath tub may just be too much.  

    Even easy to groom short haired dog breeds need a bath now and again.

    Special Needs for Special Breeds:  Coat Lengths, Coat Textures Determine Grooming Requirements

    small dogs all have their small size in common, their grooming needs vary

    Even the texture of their hair
    is different and can be curly like the toy poodle and Bichon to the wire-haired
    Affenpinscher, Cairn terrier, and West Highland white terrier. 

    The small dog’s hair coat can also vary by
    length from the short smooth coat of a pug, Boston Terrier, French Bulldog, or
    Dachshund to a medium coated Tibetan terrier to finally a long coat found in
    many toy breeds such as the Shih Tzu, Maltese and Yorkshire terrier.

    Wiry Coats

    A wire fox terrier is standing in a garden, looking at the cameraWire Coat Breeds Include many of the Terrier breeds

    breeds sport a coat very uniquely their own: 
    hard, coarse, and wiry.  These
    guys often have jaunty beards and a ruffled look that is simply irresistible to
    some of us.

    Many of the terrier breeds have this type of coat which incidentally
    is very weather resistant.  Many with
    this coat were originally bred to burrow into the ground searching for rats or
    running through fields making a harsh coat helpful for resisting burs and
    protecting them from harsh climates. 

    Good examples of small breed dogs with wiry coats include the Affenpinscher and Brussels Griffon and Wire Fox Terrier.

    Wiry hair breeds require twice yearly plucking or Stripping.  Many pet owners opt for clipping in lieu of stripping due to the cost and time involved.  Show dog owners must use the stripping method.

    Curly Coats

    A silver poodle is standing on the grass.Curly coated breeds include Poodles nad Bichon Frise

    coats such as the Bichon Frise  and Toy Poodle are beautiful when groomed, but can get tangled and unruly if not tended to regularly. 

    These types of coats are often found on breeds that were originally bred to work in the water
    because the curly coat is good at repelling water. 

    These coats tend to grow fast and need lots
    of grooming. A good example of a dog with a curly coat is the poodle.

    Short Coats

    A tan pug wearing a harness is standing near his ownerShort coated breeds such as this Pug are easy to groom.

    Short coats are the easiest to manage and a quick brushing weekly may be all that is required, apart from the other tasks common to all breeds such as brushing the teeth and clipping the nails. 

    So relax, you have more time to play, train and love on your small dog.

    Read More About Grooming Short Haired Dogs

    Long Haired Breeds

    Long-haired breeds require much grooming.Long haired breeds such as this Maltese require much brushing, combing and grooming to maintain a gorgeous coat.

    Certainly the most challenging and time consuming, but also the most rewarding, the long haired breeds need much attention to detail. 

    Grooming becomes part of your lifestyle and for those of you who are creatively minded, a chance to shine. 

    You might even find you love it so much that the task that was once a job, became a hobby, became a source for additional income or even a full time occupation!

    Do It Yourself Dog Grooming
    Tasks for Short Hair Dogs

    If you have a short haired breed, grooming is a breeze.  The list below may seem long, but grooming is easy and you are likely to save a ton of money because you can do all of this yourself without ever setting foot in a grooming salon.

    Do It Yourself Dog Grooming
    Tasks for Dogs with Longer Hair

    Ok, so you have a long hair breed and want to save tons of money through DIY Grooming.  Relax, it’s not rocket science but does take some time to learn.  Here is your To-Do List:

    Do It Yourself Dog Grooming Tasks for Wire-Hair Breeds

    Most of the grooming tasks required of wire hair breeds will be similar to long haired breed with the exception of plucking or stripping dead hairs form the coat.  Wire hair breeds don’t need to worry about top knots either.

    What’s In Your Do It Yourself Dog Grooming Toolbox?

    Supplies to put in a grooming toolboxThis groomer is plucking hair from the ear canal of this Shih Tzu

    If you have decided to tackle the job, first may I say Good for You.  Next, I hope to help you accomplish the task First let’s look at what you need to purchase? 

    the right tools makes the job much easier, but luckily you don’t need
    to purchase everything at once.  And, much of what you do purchase
    should be based on the type of breed you have chosen. 

    We’ve compiled a list of the major types of grooming supplies and equipment that will make your life easier. 

    Before attempted to do any grooming job, check out the list of essential supplies for your grooming toolbox, descriptions, recommendations and product reviews.

    Here are our top must haves for all types of small dogs:

    Optional but extremely helpful: Wish List

    • Shower head hose attachment
    • Grooming table
    • Nail grinder
    • Cologne or other scented coat spray
    • Styptic pencil or powder for nail
      clipping mistakes

    For Long Haired and Curly Haired dogs, you will need to add the following:

    For Wire Haired Breeds:

    • Stripping Knives

    Helpful Do It Yourself Dog Grooming Articles

    Are you ready to tackle some do it yourself dog grooming tasks?  Why not start with one of the articles below to help you along the way.

    Training a Puppy for Grooming

    Best tricks for Bathing a Dog

    De-Matting/De-tangling a Long Haired Dog

    Clipping a Dog’s Nails

    Removing Hair from the Pads of the Paw

    Caring For Your Dog’s Ears

    Tear Stains

    Puppy Top Knots

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