Our American Eskimo Spitz, Hayden, is a bit high-maintenance. Despite lots of time and energy from his foster mom, his undercoat was still a mess and he had stains in his coat when we adopted him. (Adopt don’t shop, y’all! You can even find a picture-perfect purebred like our Haydybug through a rescue!) A basic trip to the groomer would set us back about $75 for a bath, nail trim and paw grooming. For a one-time cost of around $75 you can get ALL the supplies needed to become a successful, well-equiped at-home-groomer.
First, since different breeds require such different styles of grooming, I recommend finding a good tutorial for your dog’s breed on YouTube.
Bath time. Sound daunting? Don’t let it. If your dog knows some basic obedience you’re going to be fine. Hayden really doesn’t like being wet, but we can make his bath experience more comfortable with warm but not hot water. Bath time has become much easier since we bought this hose($10) that attaches to our bathtub faucet. Use a gentle shampoo, and dry them thoroughly. (If you have a white dog with stains, add a little baking soda to the shampoo to help whiten their coat without any harsh chemicals.) Use your hands as a squeegee to remove as much water as possible before using towels to dry further. The more you can dry your dog the more comfortable they will be. Reward! Now is the perfect time for a treat!
Nail trim. Here is a great guide if you are new to trimming dog’s nails. You will need nail trimmers, stypic powder and we prefer a Dremel finish. I like these nail clippers($6) because they have a guard that prevents you from cutting too far. Stypic powder($6) is a must to have on hand in case you cut the quick, but cornstarch or baking soda can also help stop bleeding. Finishing a nail trim with a cordless Dremel($25) leaves the nails smooth because freshly cut nails are sharp.
Grooming. Again, check YouTube for tutorials on how best to trim your dog’s breed, but for us it mainly entails shaping the fur on his paws and trimming fur from between his paw pads. American Eskimo Spitz’s feet are very hairy, but that leads to them getting wet, muddy and tracking it inside. These clippers($22) come with an assortments of guards to control how short you cut the hair. I promise they really are quiet. We recently had to shave a few mats off one of our cats, the drama queen at that, and she stayed cool as a cucumber the whole time.
Brushing. For most breeds a Furminator brush will be your best friend. We use one for our cats, and even after years we are still amazed at how much hair they remove. These brushes really help remove the loose undercoat most brushes miss. For long-haired, thick-coated breeds a rake or double-rake brush works best.
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