The joy and unconditional love a dog can bring a family is priceless. Or is it? According to a recent article by Forbes, the average dog owner will spend between $17,650 to a staggering $93,520 (gasp!) per year – depending on size, breed, and services required. One of the key drivers of this projected expense? Grooming! And while expected grooming costs can vary significantly by breed, the level of grooming maintenance you can expect to invest in should be one of the many factors you take into consideration BEFORE you bring a dog into your home.
There is good news, however, for dog owners of all breeds – from the show-worthy poodle to your beautiful Heinz 57-pound puppy – it has never been easier to take some steps to provide at-home, DIY grooming care for your dog. A visit to the groomer can cost upwards of $90, so if you can cut some of those visits out by attending to your dog’s grooming needs at home, the savings should pay off pretty quickly.
According to the ASPCA, every dog – regardless of size, hair type or breed -requires some grooming. This includes regular baths, dental maintenance, claw trimming and cleaning their eyes and ears on a regular basis. So even if you plan on investing in regular trips to the groomer, all dog owners should, at the very least, be able to manage some of their pet’s grooming needs at home.
The first step may be to practice some patience as your dog gets used to their grooming routine. Grooming your dog at home can be a great way to bond and build trust, and keep your dog’s shedding at bay, but can also be stressful if you are nervous – which your dog can sense. Start with simple brushing, even if it is just a few minutes a day – or until your dog gets used to the routine. Use a slick, metal pin brush for longer haired dogs, or a shedding blade on shorthaired dogs to get rid of those fine hairs– and always brush them while they are standing up, as they would do at the groomer. When it comes to bathing your dog, don’t scrimp on cheap shampoo – higher quality shampoos are well worth it, and can be diluted with a little water to aid in rinsing.
Having a grooming toolbox at home is another great investment. Before attempting to do any grooming, purchase the following:
- A comb, brush or shedding blade (depending on your dog’s coat)
- Grooming clippers (a No. 10 blade to avoid cutting the skin)
- Clipper and blade coolant
- Grooming shears
- Nail clippers or a grinder
- Styptic powder (for nail bleed)
While shaving and nail cutting is something you can certainly leave to a professional groomer if it makes you nervous if you feel comfortable and confident, give it a try – but only after you have been trained on the proper technique for both.