- This post contains affiliate links. Read more here.
Looking to save some bucks with at-home grooming? We’ve got some great tips and products to effortlessly improve your bath and beauty routine—for you and for your dog.
Dog Grooming Hack #1: Cornstarch
You probably have some cornstarch hanging out in a cabinet. Turns out that it’s not only good for making a roux or thickening a pie filling, but it’s also a very useful dog grooming tool. Here are three ways you can use cornstarch as part of your dog’s grooming routine:
- Pre-treat tangles: Sprinkle cornstarch on mats and tangles before brushing to help loosen knots.
- Use as dry shampoo: Sprinkle on oily areas and brush away the greasies between baths.
- Whiter whites: Sprinkle on white markings and brush out to get them dazzling bright.
Grooming Hack #2: Brush Before Bathing
Brushing first to eliminate tangles will make bath time quicker and easier, and speed up drying time, too. For dogs with long fur, or fur that is prone to matting, this is especially important. Even a frequently brushed coat can be subject to mats or snarls.
This video shows you a step-by-step de-matting process.
In the above video, the groomer follows these steps:
- Uses a mixed boar and plastic bristle brush to break up the mats
- May use a de-matting comb to break up stubborn mats
- Applies a slicker brush to remove loose hairs
- Follows up with a pin brush and comb
Is your dog afraid of the brush? Professional trainer Shoshi Parks has rounded up some very helpful tips for teaching your dog to love grooming (or at least tolerate it).
Grooming Hack #3: Get the Right Tools for the Bath
If you’re committed to bathing at home, why not arm yourself like a pro? These tools, frequently used by professional groomers, can help make your dog’s bath time a little easier and safer.
- Non-slip bathtub mat to prevent slipping (a towel works too, but won’t stay put as well)
- Handheld spray nozzle
- Suction cup bathing tether for reluctant bath recipients
- Hair trap to protect your pipes from clogs
Start out with a gentle spray of warm water (not too hot), and your dog is likely to relax into the experience.
If your dog isn’t a water fan—and not all breeds are—you can sweeten the deal with plenty of high-value treats to reward their good behavior.
Grooming Hack #4: Craft Those Doggy Nails
This hack is well-known in the grooming community. A rotary tool, which gently grinds down a dog’s nails, can be more effective than clippers. Why buy a Pedipaws if you already have a Dremel rotary tool in your crafting nook?
- First, use pet nail trimmers to cut off overgrown claw tips
- Round and shape with a rough sandpaper drum on your Dremel
Hint: Start with a low RPM to get the dog used to the sound and sensation. Gradually, you’ll be able to build up speed. See the video for more details.
A standard set of trimmers will also do the trick if you’re not comfortable with the Dremel. Whenever you’re trimming your dog’s nails, go slowly and check for signs of their comfort. If they’re distressed, take a break. If it’s too difficult to complete the task at home, get help from a pro, whether a groomer or your friendly local vet tech.
Grooming Hack #5: Better Butter
A dab of coconut oil on dry, scaly noses and paw pads will soothe and heal. And it tastes good too! You probably already have some in your kitchen. RawPaws make a nice organic version for pets (and their people).
Coconut oil has many additional benefits for dogs, as reported in PetMD, thanks to its healthy fatty acids. However, if supplementing your dog’s food with coconut oil, don’t go overboard. Large quantities of coconut oil can cause diarrhea in dogs—just as they would in humans. Er, no thanks.
Grooming Hack #6: Wipes for Emergency Cleanups
Dirty paws, booties, and ears can all benefit from an occasional swipe with a disposable cleaning cloth. Using dog-specific products ensures there are no harmful ingredients, but the occasional swab with an unscented natural baby wipe is fine, too. Just remember that whatever you put on your dog, your dog ingests.
Grooming wipes are inexpensive, easy to use and store, and they work for humans, too. We may have used them on a muddy toddler. Just saying.
Grooming Hack #7: Supplement to Get the Glow
When added to your dog’s food in small amounts, such as 1/4 teaspoon, healthy oils can help improve your dog’s coat and skin. Fairly inexpensive and easy to find, fish oil or flaxseed oil are both rich in the essential fatty acids your dog needs for a beautiful coat from the inside out.
We like this salmon oil for dogs as a supplement to daily kibble or dabbed on a chew toy. Our dogs seem to love the flavor, which is, well, quite fishy.