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How to Groom and Cut Your Dog's Hair at Home

If your dog needs a trim and a tidy up, you could book him an appointment at the local dog-grooming salon. But what if you want to save some money and attempt the job yourself at home?

It's quite simple to groom your dog at home, but it's important to have some basic knowledge of dog grooming best practices. This will help you achieve a good result and keep your dog safe and comfortable while he’s being groomed.

In this post we'll explain the basics you need to know if you're planning to groom your dog at home.

We'll discuss the best tools for the job, the right way to brush and cut your dog's hair, and how to make sure the whole process goes as safely and smoothly as possible – for you and your dog!

So, make sure you give this post a read before reaching for the scissors!

Small White Dog Getting Its Hair Cut

Before you start grooming your dog, make sure you have all the tools for the job laid out in front of you. In this post, we'll deal specifically with grooming your dog's coat.

The Tools You'll Need

A brush or comb

A high-quality brush or comb is a must. Metal-pinned brushes are a good choice for dogs with long coats. If your dog has short hair, a brush with rubber teeth can work well.


Sharp, professional-grade scissors are the best choice for grooming your dog. They will cut hair easily without snagging or pulling.


Choose a well-made and reliable pair of electric clippers. Dog clippers are safer and easier to use than clippers made for humans.


Use a high-quality shampoo that's free from harsh chemicals and designed for dogs. Diluting the shampoo with water will make it easier to wash out later.

Golden Spaniel Getting its ears washed in a bathtub

Washing Your Dog

It's a good idea to wash your dog before grooming him, especially if his coat is dirty.

As we mentioned earlier, use a gentle shampoo that's designed for dogs. Always check the temperature of the water before bathing your dog – if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog.

Depending on the size of your dog, it may be best to wash him outside. You can also minimize mess by laying towels on the floor to soak up spills.

Take care to wash all the shampoo out of your dog's coat and allow him to dry completely before brushing.

Here’s a handy tip for bath time: Dogs can shed a lot of hair when they're bathed, and it can quickly build up and clog your drain.

To prevent your drain blocking, wrap some steel wool around the drain stopper to catch the hair in the tub. When bath time is over remove the steel wool, throw it in the trash, and say goodbye to clogged drains!  

Brushing Your Dog

Fluffy small white dog getting its hair brushed out

Once your dog's coat is dry, brush him thoroughly to get rid of dead, tangled, and matted hair. Begin at your dog's head and move down his body. The underside of your dog’s stomach is an especially sensitive area, so take extra care to be gentle when brushing there.

If there are any heavily tangled or matted areas it's best to brush around them – these can be dealt with later. Brushing your dog may take some time, especially if he's a long haired breed. Avoid brushing too hard as this could irritate your dog's skin.

Grooming Your Dog with Clippers

Yorkie Getting its hair cut by a groomer

Start off by using clippers to cut your dog's hair. They're safer than scissors and will get the job done much faster. Just make sure that your clippers are kept sharp so they won't catch and pull on your dog's hair.

Most clippers come with guards that can be used to cut the hair to various lengths. If you're not sure which size guard to use, start off with the largest and work your way down.

First, tackle any very tangled or matted areas you came across when brushing your dog. Be aware that severe matting can be very close to the skin, making it difficult to remove. Sometimes an infection can develop on the skin in these areas.

If you see signs of redness, swelling, or infection it's best to visit your veterinarian before attempting to groom the area.

Go slow when using the clippers, and work your way down your dog's body in the direction of the hair growth. If possible, ask someone to help hold your dog in place while you trim his hair.

Another thing to keep in mind is that clippers can get hot with extended use, so make sure to test the temperature of the blade from time to time and take plenty of breaks.

Grooming Your Dog with Scissors

Scissors are great for touching up and trimming hair around your dog's legs, ears, and face. Use only the tips of the scissors to trim these areas so that you can pull them away quickly if your dog makes any sudden movements.

Hold your dog's ears down when cutting around them to keep them away from the blades of the scissors. It's especially important to have someone to help hold your dog down when using scissors to groom him. This will minimize the risk of accidents.

Nervous looking terrier on a brown couch

Tips for Grooming a Nervous Dog

Lots of dogs can become quite nervous when it's time for a trim. Grooming can be stressful – even painful if hair gets pulled – so it's really no wonder that some dogs react badly to the whole experience.

There are many products out there to help calm your dog's nerves during a grooming session, including CBD Oils and CBD-Infused Treats.

CBDs are a new phenomenon in the pet industry and many people can have had amazing results calming your dog's anxiety naturally with CBD. Cannabidiol (CBD) holds the key to the wide variety of medicinal and therapeutic effects marijuana offers, all with zero toxicity to humans and pets. They are also non-psychoactive so your dog will get anxiety and natural pain relief without getting "high". CBD Supplements for dogs are new on the scene but are derived from the hemp and cannabis plant that has been known to have medical value for thousands of years.

If your dog becomes nervous when you're grooming him, keep some treats to hand to reward him for staying still. It can also be helpful to praise your dog and talk to him in a gentle and reassuring tone as you groom him.

Dogs often become nervous in unfamiliar situations, so the best way to make sure your dog remains calm is to establish a regular grooming routine as early on in his life as possible.

Pro Tip: Giving your dog coconut oil can make coats more naturally beautiful and full, and easy to manage! CBD-Infused Coconut Oil has the best of both worlds, it'll increase the fullness and shine of your dog's coat, while the CBD works to calm them during grooming.

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Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.

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