Grooming your pet at home

Grooming your pet at home may seem daunting at first but with the right preparation and plenty of love and patience you’ll have your pooch or puss looking pretty again in no time.

Grooming your pet: the tools

As with anything we do, we do it better when we’re properly prepared so if you’re going to groom your pet make sure you have the right tools before approaching him or her. Depending on the length (short, medium, long), type (smooth, wired, curly) and thickness of your pet’s coat, you’ll need different kinds of brushes and combs to get the job done right. EberVet Vetshops have a great selection in store, and if the store closest to you doesn’t have what you’re looking for, we can order it in.

The right tools make all the difference

The Furminator

Here’s our list of tools:

  • A comb, brush or shedding tool – depending on your dog’s coat (we love the furminator)
  • A table on which to groom her (never leave her on the table unattended)
  • Grooming clippers (these can be very expensive so you may want to start this practice using scissors only)
  • Nail clippers
  • Styptic powder (for nail bleed)
  • Dog shampoo. Choose a formula that is best suited to her coat and skin condition and never, ever use human shampoo which will simply dry out her skin
  • A soft rope to hold your dog still while you groom; or a friend to do it for you!

Grooming your pet: the basics

If your pet is used to going to the parlour for his cut and bath, it will take a bit of time and effort to get him comfortable with a routine of at-home grooming. Always be gentle and patient.

Practice your home grooming ritual regularly and incrementally (getting him used to being touched in sensitive spots, for example) and offering positive rewards (treats and attention) as you go. Repeat the same routine until he – and you – are comfortable with it. Pets can sense our anxiety so it is important for you to keep calm too.

If your dog is uncomfortable with being brushed, don’t force  him and try again another time. You may also want to check with your vet or Vetshop to make sure you’re using the appropriate tool for his coat.

1. Brushing

Start by brushing your pet a few times a week for a few minutes at a time to create a routine. Brushing is key to keeping [a pet] clean. If you are going to bathe your pet, brush first to get the heavy dirt out otherwise you’ll end up with a muddy pool and a still dirty pet.

Ask your EberVet Vetshop to recommend the right brush or comb for your pet’s length and density of fur. Persian cats, for example, need entirely different brushes to short haired tabbies.

Work carefully and slowly to ease out knots and tangles. Don’t pull on the hair. This will only cause your pet discomfort. If some tangles are impossible to loosen, a detangling shampoo or coat oil may help.

2. Bathing

Never, ever use human shampoo. It will dry out your pet’s skin. EberVet Vetshops have a range of shampoos that are gentle on the skin and nourish the fur with natural botanical oils. Their Kong Zoom Groom is a great way to work up a lather as its rubber teeth don’t hook on the fur and provide a gentle massage. Used as a brush when your pet is dry, the Zoom Groom is brilliant for removing loose fur.

If your dog is afraid of water, introduce him gently and offer treats as encouragement. Don’t spray him with an ice cold hosepipe; use warm (not hot) water and allow it to trickle gentle over him.

Avoid getting water and shampoo anywhere near his eyes or ears. It is better to wipe his face and ears with a damp cloth. Cats can be tricky to bath as most don’t like water but because they self-groom, they’re unlikely to need bathing too often unless they’re long-haired cats like Persians and their fur has become too matted to comb. Avoid this by brushing daily.

3. Cutting

Start with a dry, clean dog and only use the tips of sharp scissors when cutting the fur on feet, face and tail. When trimming the ears, hold your hand on the tips so that you know where not to cut.

If your dog’s fur is matted, never try to cut it with scissors and use clippers instead.

*Shaving is not recommended unless you’ve been properly trained by a professional groomer.

4. Trimming nails

The biggest obstacle here is confidence. The idea that you might inadvertently injure your pet by cutting into the quick puts most pet parents off. Watch these great videos to see how to clip both dog and cat nails and clean teeth.

When cutting nails, have a styptic powder on hand to staunch bleeding should you inadvertently cut into the quick.

5. Cleaning ears

Regular ear cleaning should be part of your grooming routine. Check your pet’s ears once a week or so. If you see wax, wipe the ears out with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle ear-cleaning solution recommended by your vet. Never put cotton buds into your pet’s ears — you can cause injury. If your pet’s ears are red, swollen, excessively waxy, itchy, or have a bad smell, see your vet as soon as possible. These could signal an ear infection, which is painful for your pet.

6. Brushing his teeth

More than 85 percent of cats and dogs over the age of 3 have some form of periodontal disease — you don’t want your four-legged companion to become part of that alarming statistic. Regular tooth brushing can dramatically reduce the risk of periodontal disease but please remember, never ever use human toothpaste. It is toxic to pets. EberVet Vetshops and your veterinarian can recommend toothpaste and pet-friendly toothbrushes as well as breath fresheners for smelly mouths.

Use only pet-friendly toothpaste and mouth rinses

It might take several weeks to train your furry friend to warm up to the toothbrush, but here are some great tips to getting it right 

Grooming your pet at home can be an enjoyable experience, provided you approach it with the right attitude and plenty of gentle understanding. It’s a wonderful bonding opportunity for you and your pet too.

Department of Health COVID-19 updates available at


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