Is eco-friendly dog grooming possible at home? All dogs need some kind of grooming, although there is no doubt that there are those that need it a lot more than others.
Grooming is key for a healthy coat that is clean and clear from parasites, looks great, feels lovely and smells fantastic (and not eu de dog) and that’s not to forget that grooming is essential for their wellbeing too.
With the prices of professional dog grooming averaging around £40 in the UK, not to mention the fact that you have to find the time and ability to go to and from the dog groomer’s, more and more people are deciding to take things into their own hands and groom their dogs’ coats themselves.
Eco-Friendly Dog Grooming at Home
From sustainable nail clippers and brushes to cruelty-free shampoo made from natural and organic ingredients, yes, it’s entirely possible to groom your dog at home without causing additional strain on the environment.
However, as easy as it may sound to just buy some dog clippers and shampoo, there is a lot more that goes into dog grooming than you might think.
So, in order to avoid your dog looking like it’s just been dragged through a hedge backwards, let’s take a look at these few key things that you should know before starting the dog grooming process and this step by step guide to walk you all the way through it.
Here’s our complete guide on eco-friendly dog grooming at home along with 7 top tips.
How Do I Groom My Dog at Home Like a Professional?
Dog groomers train professionally to understand how to treat every different breed and specific coat that they will encounter. Of course, not everyone has the time, money or means to go to a professional dog groomer’s, which is why so many of us choose to carry out eco-friendly dog grooming at home.
Thankfully, it is very easy to get good dog grooming tools online or in pet stores. However, before you choose your kit and get going, then are a few things that you will need to know about eco-friendly dog grooming before you start. Not only that but there are plenty of cheap-looking tools and resources that use a lot of wasteful plastic and other harmful materials.
While considering eco-friendly dog grooming, here are the main points to look into when grooming and caring for all kinds of dog breeds.
What Type of Coat Does Your Dog Have?
The best way to start your eco-friendly dog grooming at home is to take the time to understand what kind of coat your dog has. As simple as it may seem, the type of coat that they have will dictate a lot of what you have to do next.
All dogs are different, and as you will find out so are their coats. Understanding what type of dog coat your four-legged friend is a key starting point to grooming your dog at home.
The six different types of dog coats are:
- Smooth/ Short
- Curly/ Wool
For example, dogs with double coats need extra special attention as their fur can more easily get knotted. You will need a specific kind of brush, such as a slicker brush, and if we are being eco-friendly, one made from bamboo, in order to properly penetrate the layers of fur.
On the other hand, if your dog has a much thinner coat, then you will need a softer brush to brush through the oils without damaging your dog’s skin. Their coat will also help to dictate what kind of dog shampoo you need – sounds easy enough, but again, you need to really shop around for the best cruelty-free, natural, organic and eco friendly options.
How Comfortable is Your Dog With Being Groomed?
Not all dogs enjoy being groomed. In fact, for the most part, dogs usually put up a protest when we try to get them into the bathtub or shower and can be a pain when it comes to blow-drying and brushing them! (My two dogs are no exception).
However, all dogs do need to be cleaned and groomed on a regular basis, so if you do plan on grooming your dog’s coat yourself, then you will need to know how to handle them carefully and effectively. And, even the most reluctant dogs, need a bath/shower if they have rolled into something very nasty such as fox-poo!
If your dog does not like being groomed and is likely to resist it, then you will need to ease them into the process. It is essential to understand that this can take some time, and so you will need to be patient and kind.
Start by letting your dog sniff the tools that you plan on using, from the nail clippers and fur clippers to the shampoo and combs. This will let them familiarise themselves with the grooming tools as opposed to having to wonder what exactly you are putting on them, which will scare them more.
Then, you will need to establish a rewards system with them, either by giving them their favourite toy, blanket, or treat as you groom them to get them more and more excited about being groomed. Over time, your dog should get more and more used to being groomed and could eventually come to enjoy the process.
However, if you are concerned about being able to control your dog, especially as you will have dangerous tools around them and could harm them or yourself, then do contact one of your friends or family members to help you with the process. Having two people there to manage the situation could be better (and easier), especially with bigger and stronger dogs.
Do You Have a Dedicated Area for Grooming Your Dog?
As mentioned, some dogs do not enjoy being groomed and therefore resist it as much as possible. Sadly, this can lead to accidents, especially where clippers, scissors and water are involved, and not only that your dog is more than likely going to fear all future grooming sessions.
Having a dedicated area in your home (or garden) to groom your dog will help to prevent any issues from occurring and will also make the cleanup job that much simpler!
The area that you decide to use should be:
- Well lit – to ensure that you can see everything wherever you need
- Preferably enclosed – so that your dog cannot easily wander off
- With a power source – should you need to plug in a nail grinder, hair clippers, etc.
In some cases, it may also be worth looking for grooming harnesses to carefully hold your pup in place. However, again, many of these products can be cheaply made and therefore create a lot of emissions.
What Kind of Grooming Equipment Do You Need?
Although some dog owners choose to do their eco-friendly dog grooming with general kitchen scissors and a human hairdryer, these are some of the worst things that you could use on your dog’s coat! Dog clippers, for one, are specifically made to handle a dogs coat, and of course, there are different types depending on the length and thickness of your dog’s coat.
Human hair clippers simply cannot handle a dog’s hair and will likely jam multiple times and eventually break. Human hair blow dryers are even worse for dogs as they can easily damage their skin or even burn them.
Believe it or not, dogs have very sensitive skin, this is due to their make-up, unlike humans who have one hair per follicle, dogs have three!
Human hair blow dryers are built to go to extreme heat, which for the most part, we humans can handle. However, when used on a dog, the heat is simply too intense and can easily burn them. It is never worth risking hurting your puppy – and so if you do not have a dog blow dryer to hand, then opt for dabbing them dry with a towel.
Dog hair blow dryers are actually very useful, especially in the winter months. This is especially important for elderly dogs who should not be left wet for too long. That said, blow-drying can use a lot of energy, and it may be more environmentally friendly to stick to a towel if you can.
Now that you know a bit about dog blow dryers and dog trimmers, you should ask yourself whether or not you need a corded trimmer. Generally speaking, corded trimmers are more powerful and naturally will not run out of battery as you use them, which is perfect for dogs that need a lot of attention!
However, cordless trimmers allow you to go around your dog’s body more easily without having to worry about being trapped by the cord. It also means that should you not be near a power source, you can still easily groom your dog. It is definitely worth taking the two into consideration as choosing the right one could make your life significantly easier.
An obvious point about eco-friendly dog grooming is how much plastic or unsustainable materials or resources were used in the manufacture of your chosen product.
- How does it come packaged?
- Can you recycle the box or wrappings easily?
These are all points to consider.
Do You Have Enough Time to Groom Your Dog?
Whereas some dogs can easily be washed and dried within 20 minutes to half an hour, some dogs take a lot more time due to their size, or type of fur. In order to groom a dog safely, you need to ensure that you have enough time to do so.
It will not do to wash them, leave them for a bit, then go back to the rest of the grooming. Ideally, you should be able to do your dog’s ears, your dog’s nails, your dog’s teeth, and fur all in one sitting. This can be a problem, especially for bigger dogs, as it will take a lot of effort to lift them, move them, and keep them calm.
Therefore, should you be planning on grooming your dog at home, make sure that you have the time, energy and manpower to do it all properly.
What Eco-Friendly Dog Grooming Products Should you Use to Groom a Dog?
When it comes to grooming products, you will have likely heard of dog owners using their own shampoo or even washing up liquid. However, as mentioned, dogs have very sensitive skin. The harsh chemicals that are used in human shampoo and washing up liquid are, in fact, very dangerous for a dog’s skin.
Although these synthetic chemicals do just fine to clean our dishes and indeed ourselves, they can easily irritate a dog’s skin, sometimes removing fur or even leaving a rash. That is why, when cleaning your dog, you should only ever use quality dog shampoos. Not just that, of course – but run of the mill chemicals and cleaning soap can also be detrimental to the environment.
The best kind of dog shampoos are made with organic ingredients that will gently clean your dog’s skin and fur. Look for shampoos that are made with natural oils (such as organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, etc.) and other soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, shea butter, etc.
Thankfully, nowadays, there are more cruelty-free products in the pet industry than ever before that are made with ethically sourced, organic materials. Whether you are grooming a new puppy, an adult or a senior dog, ensuring that they have the best products for their grooming session will do more for them than you might imagine.
Not only will the natural ingredients only enhance your dog’s skin and fur, but it will also avoid them getting any sort of rash, irritation or fur loss. That is what makes organic products for dogs so good for those with allergies or irritations, as there are no harmful ingredients that could worsen their conditions.
Moreover, as a responsible dog owner, you are doing a service for our planet by using products for your grooming time that are organic and even packaged using eco-friendly materials. Many groomers still use general dog shampoo in plastic bottles.
Of course, there are some that choose to make all the shampoo in their business organic and well-sourced – however, the dog grooming community still has a long way to go. By grooming your dog at home using only the best products, you are better at ensuring that you have a happy and healthy dog, and you are helping to protect the planet at the same time.
Moreover, organic dog shampoos do not have to be expensive. In fact, there are plenty of high-quality independent businesses that sell organic shampoo in eco-friendly packaging that are very cost-effective. Take a look at our favourite eco-friendly grooming products.
What are the 7 steps of Eco-Friendly Dog Grooming at Home?
If you’re still finding grooming your dog by yourself to be a little daunting, then here are 7 easy steps to follow:
1. Brush Your Dog
The first thing that you will need to do in the grooming process is to brush your dog’s fur. By brushing the fur thoroughly, you will get rid of any matted hair or excess hair that would just trap the shampoo and make the trimming and haircutting process that much more difficult.
Brushing their fur thoroughly will also help to move the natural oils around their fur. Remember to use adequate tools, such as a bamboo brush or otherwise sustainable slicker brush for thick fur and soft bristles on dogs with short and soft hair.
2. Bathe your dog
Next, it’s bath time. Make sure that the water is just warm enough but not too hot that it will burn your dog’s skin. Test the water on your arm before you start washing them.
Many dog owners choose to remove the collars to ensure that they fully wash their dogs all over. It is also a good time to wash the collar separately, to ensure that there are no bugs or dirt on them.
However, should you need that extra control over your pet, then do not hesitate to leave the collar and even a lead on your dog to hold them.
If you are using your bath try using an eco-friendly nonslip bath mat in your bath. This will reduce your dog from slipping and panicking while protecting your bath from scratches.
Remember, many bath mats are made from rubber so not eco-friendly. Look for a mat made from Thermoplastic – TPE materials are eco-friendly because they are made from recyclable plastics and use less energy during processing.
Remember when bathing your dog to only use dog shampoos – organic ones being the best options. You will need to wash your dog all over, but be careful when catering around the dog’s face. Do not allow any water or product to get into your dog’s eyes or ears.
Make sure that all of the product has been removed from your furry friend, too, including below their tail and around the armpits, as leaving any product on could easily irritate their skin.
3. Dry Your Dog
Once you are sure that your dog has been thoroughly rinsed, use your hands to squeegee any excess water from the body before removing them from the bath or shower. Then, you can start by dabbing them dry with a towel.
Remember to not rub them too harshly as this can irritate their skin and/or hurt them. Dab them lightly and then use the dog blow dryer to finish drying them. Keep moving the hairdryer to ensure that it does not stay in one place for too long. This will avoid them burning them.
Make sure that your dog is completely dry before trimming or clipping its fur. Any wet fur can jam or block the scissors or clippers.
4. Trim Your Dog’s Fur
Now that your dog is completely dry, it is time for trimming hair. A professional dog groomer will likely use dog hair cutting scissors – however, if you are unsure about how to use them properly, in which case you could leave your dog with an uneven coat, then stick to the dog hair clippers.
Most dog hair clippers come with multiple ends in order to ensure that you have the perfect length for your dog’s fur. It is important to note that not all dog breeds should have their coats trimmed. Dogs such as German shepherds, Australian shepherds, Golden Retrievers or Siberian huskies should not have their coats shaved.
Again, not going for powered options – and those made from plastic – will be kinder to the planet. Consider your needs and that of your dog’s hair, and be ready to compare.
5. Clip Your Dog’s Nails
Once you have finished with your dog’s fur, you can move on to your pet’s nails. It is essential to keep your dogs’ nails trimmed as having them too long can make it difficult for them to walk, play, and can even cause them severe pain.
If your dog has overgrown nails, you will be able to see as their paw pads will begin to separate on the floor. Your dog may also show signs of slowing down or having difficulty getting up, which could be due to the nails.
Now, nail clipping on a dog can be hard as their nails contain pink tissue in the middle called a quick, the quick has a blood vessel and nerve. For some dogs, with light coloured nails, you may be able to visibly see this (like a nail in a nail), but if your dog has dark nails it can be hard to see. Also, some dogs have longer quicks than others.
If you have never clipped dog nails yourself, then it is worth asking a vet or a professional dog groomer to show you how to do it. If the nails are accidentally cut too far, then your pet will bleed and cause your dog pain.
Always use sharp clippers to keep your dog’s nails clipped, as unsharpened ones will simply crush the nails as opposed to cutting them, which, again, will hurt your dog. If in doubt, ask your vet for a recommendation.
6. Clean Your Dog’s Ears and Eyes
To finish off the safe grooming, take the time to clean your dog’s ears and eyes. Only use cotton wool balls and water to clean around your dog’s head to ensure that nothing dangerous goes near their eyes or ears.
There are special cleaning products for dogs eyes and ears; however, just using water and a clean cotton pad will help a lot.
It is essential to keep your dogs’ ears clean as too much wax build-up or any other thing that could enter their ears could cause an infection and damage their hearing. Remember to clean them gently so as to not cause any harm to them as you clean.
7. Give Your Dog Plenty of Treats
With the dog clean and the tools safely put away, take the time to really treat your dog! Let them know just how good they’ve been by giving them a treat or taking them out to play, etc.
By rewarding them, you better ensure that your dog will be happier about being groomed next time it comes around. The more fun you make the experience for them, the less stressful it will be for you!
Not all dogs enjoy a fuss. For some dog owners, dog grooming can be a nightmare. Between the howls, the mess and the stress, it can be enough to make an owner never want to set foot near dog clippers again.
However, grooming is an essential part of keeping a dog and plays a vital role in their health and wellbeing. Thankfully, it doesn’t always have to be a nightmare to groom your dog, especially if you find ways to make it pleasurable and safe.
It can take some time to convince your dog that the grooming is nice.
What’s more, it’s not difficult to find eco-friendly nail clippers, dog brushes, shampoos and more. Whether short hair, long hair or otherwise, you don’t have to stick to wasteful products.