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Do you want to groom your petite pup to pawfection? Before you dive into do-it-yourself small dog grooming, you will want to learn how to handle your small dog safely and how to master the techniques professional pup groomers use to make pups look howlingly handsome. This article will walk you through what you need to know with tips to make the job easier.
Small Dog Grooming Tools: What Do You Need
Are dog grooming tools one-size-fits-all? Not necessarily. You will likely want to use small dog nail clippers. Sometimes you can use clippers designed for cats. Most regular dog toothbrushes may also be too big for some smaller breeds, so be sure to get one that comfortably fits into your dog’s mouth. You may want to invest in a blow-dryer with a low heat setting if you have a long-haired dog.
How to Handle Your Small Dog
Small and tiny dogs require just a bit more consideration when being handled for grooming. They have a tendency to wiggle, squirm, and escape. While your small dog squeezing out of your grasp wouldn’t normally be a big deal, once your dog gets wet and suds, they can be even more difficult to hang onto. And the last thing you want is your dog to slip off a counter or other high surface.
So, you will want to ask a friend or family member to help you, especially for the first few baths. When lifting your dog, brushing those canine chompers, or clipping your dog’s nails, ask your helper to keep one arm around your dog’s belly and one around their neck so your dog’s head is resting in your elbow.
How to Bathe a Small Dog
- Before the bathing process even begins, you will want to give your dog a chance to release some excess energy with a walk.
- Begin the bathing process by gathering all the gear you need to bathe your pup and placing them on the edge of your tub or sink. You will need:
- Towels (you may want to place a few around the bathtub)
- Dog shampoo and conditioner
- Cotton balls
- Cotton swabs
- A leash
Treats work as a great reward throughout the bathing process, but if you are already juggling too much, just focus on the bathing process.
- Place your dog in the bath. Your partner should hold your dog securely and prevent any slips or falls. If your dog is a master escape artist, you may want to keep their collar and leash on them.
As your partner has your pup secure, adjust the temperature. Your dog’s water should be lukewarm.
- Once the water is set to the right temperature, use the sprayer or a cup to douse your doggo’s back and belly. Do not put your dog under the bath faucet--this is too scary and too much pressure for most pups.
Avoid getting your dog’s head, ears, and face wet at this point in the process. Too much water in your dog’s ears can result in an ear infection.
- Use your dog’s shampoo and lather it over their back and belly. Rinse your dog, then use your dog’s conditioner (conditioner nourishes the coat and makes it easier to brush). Rinse your dog well. Make sure you're selecting the right dog shampoo for your pup.
- Use your cotton balls to gently wash your dog’s face. Steer clear of their eyes and wipe in the same direction as the fur. After your dog’s face has been cleaned, you can use the cotton swabs to lightly clean your dog’s ears.
- When your dog is fully rinsed, allow your dog to shake, shake, shake. You may want to put your towel up to block some of the spray. But shaking is an extremely efficient way for your pup to dry off. A dog can shake off about 70% of the water in its coat in just seconds
- Do not let your dog jump out of the bath or sink. Instead, pick them up and set them down. For small dogs, you will want to towel them off and let them continue on their way.
For longer coats, you will want to blow dry your dog on a low-heat setting. Allow the air to blow in the same direction as the fur. Once your dog is mostly dry, you will want to brush out their fur. This is also a great time to trim your dog’s fur, too.
Bathtime Blunders and Small Dog Grooming Tips
Small dog grooming gets easier over time. Your dog will get used to the process, and you’ll learn how to bathe your dog more quickly.
But if your dog seems extra stressed out during a bath, nail clipping, or tooth brushing, take breaks. It’s ok to let your dog around for a minute and then start where you left off.
Small But Mighty & Clean
Grooming your dog is a great way to keep your pupper healthy and smelling great. For a more in-depth guide to grooming, including how to brush your dog’s teeth, check out our how-to guide for grooming your dog at home! Otherwise, pick out the perfect grooming products for your pup.