Keep your pooch clean, healthy, and ready to dazzle at the dog park with these top-rated grooming must-haves.
Your dog’s health is inextricably linked to her grooming and cleanliness. Sure, tiny pink bows on your miniature poodle won’t have a positive or negative effect on her health (though they may on her self-esteem!), but keeping her coat, eyes, ears, teeth, paws, and other body parts clean, trimmed, and sanitized will result in a healthier, happier pet. And a clean, well-groomed pet also means a healthier home, with fewer “doggy smells” and potential allergens, as well as more peace of mind when your dog jumps on the furniture or plays with your children. That’s why it’s in your best interest to know how to groom your dog properly and have the best dog grooming supplies on hand, even if your pup is a salon regular.
Just as no two breeds of dogs are the same, grooming tools and supplies aren’t the same, either. You need to find the right ones for your pup and her specific needs. After all, some dogs have tender skin, some have slick coats that are easy to brush, and others have long, thick coats prone to matting. Get your at-home dog grooming routine squared away with these expert recommendations for the best dog shampoos, nail clippers, toothbrushes, products that combat shedding, and more. Trust us: They’ll make taking care of your pup easier than ever!
Brushes and gloves
Brushing keeps your dog’s coat smooth and shiny. And for long-haired dogs or those with double coats (including that extra layer of usually fluffy “undercoat”), brushing and combing is a necessity. Stacy Choczynski Johnson, DVM, a vet expert at Pumpkin Pet Insurance, says that the brushing tool you should choose depends on both your pet’s coat and demeanor. “For anxious dogs, I recommend grooming gloves and your pet’s favorite treats to get started with a grooming routine,” says Dr. Johnson. “It can be a bonding experience and help to desensitize your nervous pup.”
HandsOn Pet Grooming Gloves
We admit that they look a little odd, but these highly rated grooming gloves, which have more than 8,600 five-star reviews on Amazon, will help put a nervous pet at ease while you gently dig into her coat and pull out excess fur, undercoat, and dirt. In fact, your pup may end up falling in love with this handy grooming tool, which you can also use on your dog in the bath.
“My yellow lab just loves the gentle strokes that I use to brush him,” writes Amazon reviewer MarissaB. “With the grain or against the grain, no problem. Up and down the legs or tail, all around the neck, jaw, forehead, and chest, the dog just sits with eyes half-closed in pleasure. And because I do such a good job with these gloves, my yellow lab has less hair to shed in the house. Really.” That will cut down on cleaning time and also the potential for allergy triggers. Another bonus? They work for just about every furred animal in your home or farm. Here are more products that pet parents swear by.
FURminator Undercoat Deshedding Tool
“The FURminator is my favorite grooming tool to remove excess hair for supershedders like Golden Retrievers,” says Dr. Johnson. The deshedding tool comes in three different sizes and reaches through the topcoat to grab the fine, fuzzy fur of the undercoat and pull it out without hurting your pet. Need another reason to buy it? Nearly 22,000 happy customers on Amazon give it five stars, saying that it’s totally worth the price and that their only regret is that they didn’t get it sooner. If you have an adorable shedder at home, the best vacuums for pet hair should be among your must-have dog grooming supplies, too.
Safari by Coastal De-matting Comb
For longer-haired dogs, Dr. Johnson says it’s important to first use a de-matting brush or comb to prevent painful pulling that can occur if the deshedding tool grabs at matted or knotted fur. This Safari comb’s wide-set teeth have serrated edges, meaning they cut and comb at the same time. Several Goldendoodle owners rave about this product, and Helene, the mom of a Wheaten Terrier, can’t say enough good things about it, either: “This comb went through my Wheaten Terrier’s knots like a hot knife through butter. I did her ears, her muzzle, and her tail all in five minutes with no flinching from my uber-sensitive girl. Awesome and easy!”
If your long-haired dog needs a summer haircut or is just in need of regular trimming to keep from looking like a furball, it may be time to invest in electric clippers. But trimming your dog’s coat as a DIY effort requires the right tools, as well as patience and a gentle hand. If you’re not sure which clipper blade is best for your dog, try out a couple of different attachments until you find the right one, or talk to your vet for a little guidance. Some pro tips from groomers: Trim in the direction that your dog’s coat grows, and never tug at fur with the clippers. Also, clippers can get hot and actually burn your dog’s skin, so check periodically that they’re comfortable to the touch.
oneisall Pet Clippers
This multipurpose kit is a good all-around choice for most fur types, according to the 30,000-plus Amazon reviewers who’ve given it a perfect five-star rating and say it’s totally worth the hype. It has six comb guards for trimming hair to different lengths and includes scissors and a handheld comb—everything you need for basic home fur grooming. It’s also low noise, making it a good bet for nervous pets. A battery life indicator tells you when it’s time to recharge.
Andis Pro-Clip 2-Speed Clipper
For dogs with thick, curly hair, like poodles and Labradoodles, professional groomers recommend sticking with a corded clipper for consistent torque and cutting power. At around $160, the Andis Pro-Clip 2-Speed Clipper Corded is an investment, but if your goal is to save money on grooming, it will pay off in the long run.
Turn Raise Professional Grooming Clippers
Maybe your dog only needs a few wild hairs trimmed, like around her ears, paws, face, and rump. Many small long-haired breeds don’t need an all-over haircut but still need these regular touch-ups, both for sanitizing and so you can better see their cute faces! These grooming clippers gently and safely trim small areas, and their detachable ceramic blade doesn’t rust and stays sharp through many uses. Plus, they’re so quiet, you can even use them on cats! Speaking of which, if you also have a finicky feline at home, you’ll want to bookmark this information on how to bathe a cat without getting scratched.
Shampoos, conditioners, and cleaning wipes
Dog shampoos are probably at the top of your list of necessary dog grooming supplies, and that’s a good thing because they really are that important. “Dog shampoos are specifically formulated for their skin and hair, which are different from human skin and hair needs,” says celebrity dog groomer Alli Graf. “Using human shampoo on your pup can strip away the essential oils that a dog’s skin needs to be healthy.” Here are a few more tips for successfully bathing your pooch:
“Be sure to fully brush your dog all over before a bath,” Graf says. “Get rid of any existing knots you may find so that they don’t get tighter, bigger, and more matted once they are wet.”
“Avoid getting shampoo in the eyes! This can be very painful for your pup and may possibly lead to an ulcer,” she warns. If you do accidentally get some soap in their eyes, be sure to rinse thoroughly with cool water.
Avoid getting water in their ears as well. “Always point the water down if you’re using a sprayer or hose, and never point or pour water up or inside when washing by the ears,” Graf advises. “Because of its shape, a dog’s ear canal can easily trap water, which can quickly lead to an infection.” By the way, here’s how often you should clean your dog’s ears—and how to do it.
Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Pet Shampoo
Gentle, lightly scented, and made with nourishing, soothing ingredients like colloidal oat flour, honey, and beeswax, this all-purpose dog shampoo is suitable for most breeds and types of coat. Reviewers love that it’s unscented, natural, great for sensitive skin, and in line with Burt’s Bees’ overall philosophy. And, of course, it delivers, too. “I have an extremely allergic Frenchie, and this has been the ONLY shampoo I can use on her,” writes Amazon reviewer Valhery. “She smells great, it’s helped her coat get shiny, and the best part is that it’s hypoallergenic. I truly recommend this!”
Arm & Hammer Super Deodorizing Shampoo for Dogs
Did your four-legged friend roll around in something she shouldn’t have? With the same baking soda used in its other cleaning and deodorizing products, Arm & Hammer’s Super Deodorizing Shampoo for Dogs gets the smell out. Plus, it leaves behind a light kiwi scent—which is surely an improvement over whatever your dog found in the backyard.
Wondercide Hypoallergenic Shampoo Bar
If your dog has sensitive skin, Graf recommends Wondercide’s shampoo bars, especially the hypoallergenic formula or the oatmeal and honey bar. “Pups love these bars for a little extra TLC,” she says. “The shampoo bar is designed so that you can bathe your dog with only one hand while holding your pup with the other. Your dog will feel extra supported this way, and it’ll help you if he or she tries to escape the bath.”
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Purplebone Conditioner Treatment for Dogs
From the famous London dog grooming salon, this gentle, cruelty-free conditioner is ideal for long-haired dogs and dogs with shiny coats. It’s also a detangler, a perfect post-shampoo treatment prior to brushing or combing. Plus, it’s tear-free and paraben-free, so it’s good for your pup on a variety of levels.
Pogi’s Grooming Wipes
“Pet cleaning wipes are helpful for dog breeds with excessive body folds,” says Dr. Johnson, “including Shar Peis, bulldogs, and pugs.” Pogi’s Grooming Wipes are hypoallergenic and made from eco-friendly bamboo. And they can be used on all parts of your dog, from sensitive ears and eyes to their nether regions. Dr. Johnson says that if your dog develops vaginal or facial fold infections, ask your veterinarian for prescription-strength antimicrobial wipes.
Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and sticks
Plaque and tartar are as bad for dogs as they are for humans, but unlike humans, dogs can’t tell us when they have a sore tooth and need to go to the dentist. “Teeth-brushing should be a part of the normal grooming routine,” says Dr. Johnson. “I recommend an enzymatic toothpaste (which helps reduce bacteria) in your dog’s favorite flavor.” Pro tip: By starting pets on dental care when they’re still puppies, you’ll get them used to having their teeth brushed so it’s not a struggle every time you attempt it.
Toofers 360 Dog Fingerbrush Toothbrush
“Start with a finger brush and graduate to a standard pet toothbrush,” says Dr. Johnson. This popular finger brush from Toofers is made from soft silicone that’s strong enough to get teeth clean but won’t scratch the inside of your pup’s mouth. Plus, the 360-degree brush design means it cleans wherever it touches—and that’s a big deal. “While intellectually I understood how the 360-degree brush differed from the one I had been using, I didn’t quite connect how much easier it was going to make things,” writes one happy pet parent. “The actual experience of having bristles contact my dog’s teeth no matter how my finger was positioned was FANTASTIC. I now know that his teeth are actually getting brushed.”
Pet Republique Dog Toothbrushes
Once you’re ready to graduate to a regular dog toothbrush, these long-handled, dual-headed brushes are great for reaching into the back of your dog’s mouth—something that’s especially useful for long-nosed and large breed dogs. Perhaps even better? For under $10, you’ll get a whopping six toothbrushes that should last you an entire year or more. You can also feel good about this purchase: Buy this set and Pet Republique will donate 15 percent of the profits to the American Animal Rescue Society. Talk about a win-win!
Sentry Petrodex Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste
You may need to try a few different types of toothpaste to find your dog’s favorite flavor, but this poultry-flavored enzymatic toothpaste from Sentry Petrodex has earned plenty of tail wags on Amazon—more than 12,000 of them, to be precise. How good is it? Amazon reviewer George Kraus, who has a seven-year-old Chihuahua and uses a tiny bit of this toothpaste on him every morning, says that his vet actually asked him: “What do you do to keep his teeth so nice? He should be a poster dog for canine dental hygiene!” If you don’t brush your dog’s teeth frequently, you should start. Neglecting to do it is one of the common mistakes dog owners make.
Zesty Paws Calming OraStix
Great for when you leave your pup alone for a few hours, these cleansing chew sticks from Zesty Paws also contain calming agents such as hemp seed and chamomile, so your furry friend will be all smiles while you’re away. They’ll also come in handy if your dog gets nervous during fireworks displays.
Supplements and chews
As they say, you are what you eat, and that’s just as true for dogs as it is for people. Certain supplements can make your dog’s coat even more gorgeous, while others can calm down an anxious dog so that she actually enjoys the grooming process—or at least tolerates it.
Grizzly Salmon Plus Omega Fatty Acids Food Supplement
To up your coat-grooming game, give your pet salmon oil supplements. “At high doses, salmon oil can be anti-inflammatory and improve coat health,” says Dr. Johnson. Grizzly Salmon Plus Food Supplements are made from wild-caught fish and can be poured directly over your dog’s wet or dry food. And unlike most humans, dogs love the taste of fish oil!
Lil’ Zesties Calming Squares
As Dr. Johnson notes, treats are a great way to bribe and distract a dog during brushing, so why not try one that’s specially formulated to calm your pet? Made with melatonin, chamomile, and passionflower, these tasty Lil’ Zesties Calming Squares will make your pooch mellow during the grooming process. Reviewers rave that they really work—and that their dogs love them. If you’re looking to add something a little stronger to your arsenal of dog grooming supplies, consider these CBD treats for dogs.
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