You have different tools for cooking, working, and hobbies. Therefore it shouldn’t be surprising that when it comes to grooming your pets, building a toolkit is helpful there too. Collecting some basic items for your grooming toolkit helps make the process more pleasant. After all, it’s all about your dog or cat.
“Grooming should always be pleasant for the pet, whether done at home or by a professional,” said Linda Easton, ICMG, President of the International Professional Groomers, Inc. “Think about it. You get a massage with warm water, dried with warm air, brushed, and massaged more. Then when all is done, everyone tells you how beautiful you are.”
Luckily, there’s only a handful of tools needed to keep your pet looking sharp from head to toe.
The Kit for Coats
The most obvious tool here is a brush, but what kind? A good brush should help keep hair clean and free of excess dirt and whatever else your dog may like to get into. “Never use a brush on a dog you wouldn’t use on your own hair,” Easton recommended. “If it is too sharp for you, it is for them, too.”
A commonly used all-purpose type is the bristle brush, which works for most coat types. To fine-tune it further, match the bristles to your pet – shorter bristles for short or coarse fur and longer bristles for longer coats.
A pin brush has bristles spaced very far apart and is often the preferred coiffure tool for either curly or long, luxurious coats.
The fine, wire bristles of a slicker brush or undercoat rake work well for pets with thick undercoats. Those coats have an extra layer of fluff that needs a little extra TLC to loosen and remove extra hair.
If your pet is a heavy shedder, you’ll find a shedding blade—technically a comb or an actual blade—to be a necessity. It helps remove extra, loose fur including that from the undercoat. Speaking of combs, Easton said cats should be combed, not brushed.
Another type of brush to help with shedding is a rubber glove that’s used while bathing your dog. It has little nubs that do some additional work in removing dead hair.
Dogs enjoy the massage, Easton said, so whichever brush you use, keep your hands on them and pet them as you groom. ConairPRO Dog™ has several brushes in their Pet-It line—such as the ConairPRO Dog™ Soft Slicker Brush—with palm-petting grip technology to combine brushing and petting.
And while brushes are used to clean your pet, don’t forget to clean the tools occasionally, too. Remove hair after each use by rubbing two brushes against each other. Wash the brush with warm water and antibacterial soap when you start seeing some residue, or sooner just to remove germs. Make sure to dry the brushes thoroughly before you store them.
There are a couple of specialty tools that help to keep Fido looking fabulous. If you have a dog with excess hair around its face that reduces vision, powered trimmers or rounded-tip scissors will be a welcome addition to your grooming toolkit. If you’re unsure about how to use them, check with your groomer for a quick lesson.
When your pet’s nails grow too long, it’s painful for the pet—and for you! Two types of tools can help you both avoid discomfort. The first are guillotine-type clippers that are strong enough for the tough nails of many dogs. Cut off just the nail’s tip and avoid the quick, which is the nail’s visible blood supply.
If your pet’s nails aren’t that thick or just need some shaping after being cut, you may find you like the extra finessing from a battery-operated nail grinder.
All aspects of grooming are a necessary part of keeping your pet looking and feeling good. Just a handful of quality products in your toolkit can transform grooming from a chore to one more way to bond with your pet.