What do I need to groom my dog at home?
Have you been wanting to start grooming your dog at home, but aren't quite sure what equipment and products you will need? This guide is a great place to start!
We will cover the essential items you will need, as well as some additional products that will help to make the process easier for both you and your pet.
All dogs require some amount of brushing however some coats are more demanding than others. Short coated dogs, such as a Staffy or French Bulldog will only require a minimal amount of brushing with a bristle or curry brush. Dogs with longer or double coats will require more frequent brushing with a pin or slicker brush to maintain a healthy skin and coat.
Slicker brushes are the best to use for removing knots and tangles, and are ideal for fluff drying. Fluff drying helps to achieve a straight and fluffy coat, which allows you to achieve the best results when grooming.
Deshedding rakes are commonly used on double coated dogs to remove undercoat, however these rakes also work on terriers and "non-shed" dogs such as cavoodles and labradoodles to remove any undercoat that has become stuck within the coat.
Grooming combs are used for checking the coat. Before clipping, you should run your comb through the coat to ensure there are no knots. You can also use a grooming comb to lift up the coat as you are scissoring, and to check for any any uneven areas of the coat.
For more help choosing the right brush for you, check out our brush guide:
With so many models to choose from, it can get a bit overwhelming working out what the differences are, and which clipper is right for you.
To ensure the best experience for both you and your pet, you want to make sure the clipper you choose is powerful enough to handle your dogs coat type. For lighter, thinner coats, such as a Yorkshire Terrier or Chinese Crested Powderpuff, you will likely only need a 5 in 1 clipper. However, if your dog has a dense/mixed texture coat or is prone to knots and matting, we recommended upgrading to a heavy or super duty clipper.
To help you decide which clipper is right for you, check out the following guides:
Blades & Comb Attachments:
If you decide to get a 5 in 1 clipper, the available accessories are limited. 5 in 1 clippers will take unique blades specific to that brand and model. Most 5 in 1 clippers include 3-4 comb attachments, and replacements are not always available for every model. If you would like the widest range of length and style possibilities, we recommend getting an A5 model clipper.
Most Super Duty clippers are A5, and will come with a standard #10 blade. A #10 blade will leave the coat between 1.5-2mm, depending on the brand. Super Duty clippers don't usually include comb attachments, but always check the description for what's included. For longer lengths, you can either purchase a longer blade or comb attachments.
Blades go up to 19mm - just under 2cm - but for even longer coat lengths, you can put a comb attachment on your blade. Universal comb attachments fit on size #10, #15 or #30 blades for coat lengths up to 3cm. Most brands offer comb attachments from 3mm to 2.5cm, and some, such as Andis, offer combs as long as 3cm. For lengths longer than 3cm, you will need to do this by scissor or free-hand clipping.
The exact coat length you choose will come down to personal preference. If you aren't sure exactly what length you will like, or if you know you like a shorter cut in summer and longer in winter, a comb set is a great option. With a comb set, you get multiple length options for around the same price as one blade, allowing you to experiment with different styles. Many home groomers choose to use comb attachments rather than blades for this reason.
For more help deciding which size blade to go for, check out our blade size guides below:
There are a few different types of scissors, which all have different uses and finishes. Depending on what areas you are wanting to scissor, we have straight scissors, curved scissors, thinning/blending scissors, and chunker style thinners. Some straight and curved scissors are also available with Ball Tips, which are quite popular with beginners or home users, and for trimming the face as it reduces the chance of accidental injury.
Straight scissors are the easiest to get used to using as they are so similar to paper scissors. Straight scissors are a very popular all-round workhorse scissor. They can be used to remove large sections of hair, to trim any uneven areas that your clipper may have missed, or to tidy up areas such as the tail, ears and face.
Curved scissors tend to quickly become favourites once you get used to them, as almost no area of a dog’s body has straight lines. Curves help you achieve a smoother, more natural shape with less effort. They are particularly handy for shaping teddy bear heads, poodle pom-poms, round feet, round tails and ears.
Blender-style thinners are popular as finishing scissors, as they trim and tidy coat without leaving blunt lines. They leave a smooth but textured finish, compared to the blunt cut of a straight or curved scissor. Thinners are also very popular for use on the face, as they help to achieve a softer, more natural look that many pet owners desire.
Chunker style thinners are almost a cross between a straight scissor and a blending-style thinner. The wide spaced notched blade combined with the solid straight blade creates a textured and natural finish, as opposed to the blunt cut of a straight scissor, but creates more texture and less uniformity than the blending-style thinners.
For more help choosing the right scissors for you, we have created a helpful guide that covers the different scissor types, lengths, handle types, and brands.
When grooming your dog at home, you will also need to cut their nails on a regular basis. Most commonly, this is done either by using a nail clipper, or a nail grinder. Styptic powder is also a great item to have on hand for peace-of-mind, just in case the nails are ever accidentally cut too short.
For more information on how to maintain a healthy length on your dogs nails, check out these resources:
Shampoo & Conditioner:
Matching the right products to your dogs specific skin and coat needs is a personalized process that isn't usually a one-size-fits-all solution.
To help reduce the options and help you find suitable products for your dogs coat type, click the relevant link below to view our top recommendations:
Wool, fleece or curly coat > eg: Poodle, Bichon, Labradoodle, Spoodle, Cavoodle, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Smooth coat > eg: Greyhound, Boxer, Bulldog, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Boston Terrier, French Bulldog
Short coat > eg: Pug, Labrador, Beagle, Rottweiler, Mastiff, Heeler, Heading Dog
Drop coat > eg: Shih Tzu, Maltese, Lhasa Apso, Old English Sheepdog, Tibetan Terrier, Bearded Collie, Briard, Havanese, Yorkshire Terrier
Wire coat > eg: West Highland White Terrier, Schnauzer, Airedale, Border Terrier, Griffon, Scottish Terrier, Jack Russel
Double coat > eg: Husky, Samoyed, Malamute, Pomeranian, German Shepherd, Chow Chow, Corgi, Akita, Japanese Spitz, Golden Retriever, Border Collie
AllGroom currently stocks 10 models of dryers across 2 brands: Vortex and Shernbao. Each dryer offers different levels, features and benefits to match your grooming needs. From handheld and fluff dryers, to stand dryers and high velocity blasters.
Velocity dryers have 2 motors and are used for an extremely fast dry time for all dogs, but are especially handy for long coats, double coats and for bigger dogs. They are also used for blowing out coat or undercoat removal (used on wet or dry coats), for high-shed and spitz breeds.
Fluff dryers are also called finishing dryers, as they are popular for using hands-free for line brushing and straightening the coat after using a velocity dryer. They are also very popular for home use when drying small to medium dogs, for puppies, and for air-pressure or noise-sensitive dogs.
Air speed on velocity dryers is adjustable from mid to high range. Fluff or finishing dryers are mid to low range, so can be turned down to a lower speed than a velocity dryer, and won’t go up as high, but will still offer a much faster drying time than a standard human hair dryer.
For help comparing all 10 of our dryer models, view our guide on this here.
While a grooming table isn't an essential item, it sure can help to make the process easier. Grooming tables come with a grooming arm and loop to help keep your dog secure on the table, so grooming doesn't need to be a two man job.
Foldable tables tend to be the most popular with home groomers, as they fold down flat for easy storage in between grooms. These are great for small - medium dogs, but also come in sizes up to 110cm for larger breeds. Foldable tables are also the most budget friendly, as they have no pumps or motors.
An Electric table requires electricity (you’ll need to plug it in), as it uses an electric motor to smoothly adjust the table height up and down, via a foot pedal or a touch-pad. Electric tables require the least amount of effort when adjusting the height, and can go down lower than foldable or hydraulic tables, making this an ideal solution for extra large breeds.
Hydraulic tables feature a hydraulic pump rather than a motor, so no electricity is required. Instead, you will use your body as leverage to change the height by applying pressure to a foot pump. Hydraulic tables increase the height gently ‘pump by pump’ rather than in one even movement when going up, but both hydraulic and electric have smooth, even motion when reducing the height back down. Without a motor, hydraulic tables typically have a longer lifetime than electric tables, although electric tables tend to be the most popular of the two.
Other Helpful Items:
Now that we have covered all the grooming equipment you will need to groom your dogs at home, lets cover some of the smaller optional accessories that can help to make the grooming process easier.
Blade Oil - Most clippers will include a sample size bottle of oil, however oil is essential for blade performance. Blades need to be oiled before, during and after grooming, so it can be a good idea to grab an extra bottle of oil when you purchase your clippers.
Blade Cleaner - As well as being oiled, blades need to be cleaned. After each use, between each dog, and after using a blade on sanitary areas, you should clean your blades to avoid any cross contamination. Cleaners come in both spray bottles and dip tubs for your convenience.
Blade Cleaning Brush - Your clipper will include a small cleaning brush, however a larger, more robust brush can be helpful when cleaning your clippers.
Chamois Towel - Chamois towels are well worth their reputation. They absorb much more water than a traditional towel, and can be wrung out and reused in the same grooming session. Great to have on hand for post bath drying, and for trips to the beach.
Dilution Mixing Bottle - If you chose a shampoo with a concentrated formula, a dilution bottle can help to make the dilution process easy. This 1 Litre sized mixing bottle comes with clearly printed dilution rates and a sports cap lid. Simply fill the bottle with warm water to the applicable ratio level, then add shampoo to the fill line, shake well and it's ready to use.
The Theory of 5 Grooming Book - This book contains 140 pages packed full of grooming how to tips, tricks, techniques and time-savers to simplify and streamline achieving all the most popular pet grooming styles for the family dog, applicable to all breeds and coat types. This book is not just for trained professionals, it also covers the essentials. An ideal tool for student groomers, beginners and home groomers wanting to learn to groom their pets to a professional standard.
Happy Hoodie - Like ear muffs for pets! Immediate calming 'swaddling' effect for less stress and improved behaviour within seconds. Protects ears from noise and air when using dryers and clippers.
Dental Care Kit - Dental disease is one of the most common reasons pets visit the vet each year, and it has been reported that 80% of dogs and cats in New Zealand over the age of three have some form of dental disease. Dental hygiene is an important part of routine grooming that should not be overlooked. Dental treats can help, but for the best results its recommended to brush your pets teeth 3-4 times a week, but the more often, the better.
Ear Wipes - Ear care is another important part of routine grooming. There are many products you can use to clean your dogs ears, however the easiest and most convenient is by using ear wipes. The Furrish Ear Wipes help to remove excess ear wax, dirt and odour from your pet’s ears and avoid ear infections. Contains natural, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredients which help initiate the healing process. Daily use is recommended, but 3-4 times a week can be more achievable.