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Common Dog Grooming Issues

A passionate dog lover and writer—I think that phrase very much sums up who I am and my purpose in life.

Is grooming your dog a challenge for you? Here are tips and advice on how to go about doing it (or finding someone who can).

Is grooming your dog a challenge for you? Here are tips and advice on how to go about doing it (or finding someone who can).

Grooming Can Be a Challenge

Grooming a dog can be an owner's challenge in many ways. Getting around these issues can be quite a headache, from bathing, brushing, and mats to managing the dog's behavior during grooming.

Less experienced pet owners should come to understand these concerns and find ways of dealing with them. If you don't plan on grooming your dog yourself, you'll need to know how to choose a good dog groomer.

Common Concerns About Pet Grooming

Pet grooming can be the ultimate of frustrations for pet owners. If you're a new owner looking to groom your dog for the very first time, or a more experienced one in search of a few pointers, here are a few things that you might be concerned with.



There are no firm guidelines as to how often you should bathe your dog, though you can expect that the more active it is, the more bathing it will require. Hair texture also plays a part in how often bathing is needed. The wiry and curly hair of breeds like Schnauzers and West Highland Terriers often need more bathing than long or silky haired dogs.

Bathing is needed to:

  1. remove dirt and debris
  2. facilitate the removal of dead hair
  3. improve the coat's appearance

For most dogs, regular brushing will eliminate the need for frequent baths. It's important to use a shampoo labeled "for dogs." While shampoos for humans lean to the acidic side, canine skin is pH neutral and requires shampoo just for them.

When bathing a dog, use lukewarm water. Remember to wipe the under surfaces of ears to remove any dead skin or wax. Be thorough and ensure that the water gets through to its skin.


Again, the amount of brushing a dog requires depends on its lifestyle. The more active the dog, the more brushing it requires. Most dogs require brushing at least every other day.

Brushing is an important step to take to reduce matting. When brushing, don't forget to brush behind the dog's ears and the hair on its belly, as these are often neglected areas.


Dog Behavior

Your pet might be experiencing a grooming session for the first time, or have a fierce dislike for grooming. It's always good to schedule sessions for when your dog is relaxed and not given to abrupt, restless movements that might cause him and you injury.

Keep sessions short and gradually lengthen them until your dog becomes accustomed to the sessions.

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Removing Mats

These are nasty entanglements on a dog's topcoat or undercoat. They usually start if a dog loves playing in the water. Silky or long-haired coats tend to be susceptible to mats. Choose good brushes, as the wrong ones can weaken a dog's coat and cause more matting.

Start by using your fingers, working with the matted hair from outside in. Brush it apart gradually. When brushing the armpits, use the triangular-shaped slicker brush. You may wish to clip them out with a blunt-nosed scissors if you find that the brushing is causing the dog too much discomfort.

For bigger mats, use a mat splitter carefully, working from outside in. Smaller sections of hair are harder to untangle. Use a wide-toothed comb to pick and loosen the hair.

Dematting spray is a useful tool to have. Apply it to make the mat removal process easier.

Dealing With Dog Grooming Issues

Grooming concernSolution


Dependent on the dog's lifestyle and hair type.


At least once every other day.

Restless or aggressive behavior

Keep sessions short.


Work from outside in, clipping In sensitive areas.


Use restraints for difficult dogs and beware of overheating from dryers.

Choosing a groomer

Ensure he has requisite training, maintains a calm shop and is ready to handle tough to handle dogs appropriately.


Safety Concerns

If you are grooming your dog yourself and know that your pet is prone to aggression when a grooming session is on, there are precautions you can take.

  • Have a pair of bite-proof gloves ready. Muzzles of the right size for your dog should also be available.
  • Have gentle, secure restraints. If you're using a pet grooming table, make sure that it has a noose with a quick release in case you need to release the dog quickly.
  • Ensure that your pet is dry after grooming as moisture can lead to moist eczema. If you're using a dryer, watch for signs of discomfort and don't leave your dog under the dryer for too long a time.
  • When brushing, snipping, or clipping near the eyes, take precautions. Proper facial restraints should always be used.

Choosing a Dog Groomer

With our busy lifestyles, grooming a dog can be a definite chore. You may wish to turn to a good dog groomer if you simply cannot afford the time to groom your own dog. Choosing a reliable, trustworthy one requires a little know-how.


A qualified dog groomer should have good credentials, just like any other professional. Weed out the ones who claim that they are "experts" but are actually just looking to dog grooming as a way to eke out a quick and easy living. He should preferably be a member of an accredited association like the Dog Groomers Association of America.

Choose a Clean, Calm Shop

The pets in the groomers shop should not be frantic. If they are, it's definitely not a good sign as the groomer may have been a little rough. Excessive barking should ring alarm bells. Dogs and cats should be kept apart and the shop should be clean and hygienic with hair frequently swept. Cages should have enough space for dogs. The pets should always be monitored to prevent overheating from drying. He should also keep good records of your pet's needs.

Tough-to-Handle Dogs

Always ask how the groomer handles difficult dogs. If he hedges on the answer or says something in the vein of "we do get a little tough," leave immediately. A groomer should never administer a drug to calm a dog as he is not qualified to do so. That should only be done by a qualified veterinary professional.

The Groomer Should Ask Questions

The groomer should ask you how old your dog if he has been to a groomer before. He should also ask about the dog's sensitive spots or if he has allergic reactions to chemicals. A good question to ask is if the dog has problems socializing. The groomer should be interested in making the experience as pleasant for the dog as he can.


Depending on factors like the severity of matting, size of the dog, or difficulty of the cut, grooming should cost between $40 to $80. Always check the prices of several groomers to make an informed decision about which professional to consult.


Grooming a dog means bearing a few things in mind, no matter if it's done by yourself or a professional.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


Chetall on July 09, 2020:

Kindly consult with a pet grooming professional when you wish to post articles to help Pet owners. Most of us groomers will be more than happy to give you accurate tips so you can actually add value to the read and make it count.

Lucy on November 22, 2016:

One thing, that seems to often get overlooked in the grooming process are the ears. We see so many dogs whose coats are pristine but seems to spend a lot of time scratching their ears or shaking their head, a cursory look inside can often find lots of wax or infection. The moral of the story, check whats going on on the inside as well as outside, it only take two minutes and this infogrpahic neatly sums it up

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 29, 2015:

Get to the quick...the part where the color changes. Snip off at the very tip of that!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 04, 2014:

Thanks so much!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 04, 2014:

Thanks, DDE!

Kathy Henderson from Pa on January 29, 2014:

Great hub

I am about to groom our puppy. Tips very useful, have a great day.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on January 29, 2014:

True. Grooming is a true hassle! Thanks, Mary!

Mary Craig from New York on January 22, 2014:

Great information Michelle. I luckily have a Min Pin who requires very little grooming and due to dry skin, infrequent bathing. I guess I took the easy way out but that's after having two poodle terrier mixes who became very matted very easily.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on January 22, 2014:

Thanks, Audrey!

Audrey Howitt from California on January 21, 2014:

Useful and interesting!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 21, 2014:

It is very important to groom dogs and know as much as you have mentioned this is a very helpful hub to dog lovers.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on January 21, 2014:

Thanks, Mackyl!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on January 21, 2014:

Thanks, Ann!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on January 21, 2014:

Thanks, Sheri!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on January 21, 2014:

Thanks, pochinuk!!you really take care of your coat!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on January 21, 2014:

Yes, it's important to be mindful when grooming...we're so grateful when it's done indeed! Thanks, Kidscrafts!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on January 21, 2014:

Thanks, Dianna!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on January 21, 2014:

Me too..a groomer provides the break we need! Thanks, Susan!

I.W. McFarlane from Philadelphia on January 20, 2014:

I am beginning to realize that I actually knew very little about dogs, after reading this hub! Thanks for the enlightenment! Voted up interesting. Deserves to be shared.

Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on January 20, 2014:

Interesting and useful hub, midget38. I used to have a German Shepherd that never liked bathing much, but enjoyed brushing. Every time I brushed him, there was hair enough to make another dog, so I usually did it outside!

Sheri Dusseault from Chemainus. BC, Canada on January 20, 2014:

That was interesting. I had a little dog I took to the groomer as I was kind of afraid of hurting her if I did it myself. A good groomer can make life for the dog and owner much easier! Great Hub!

pochinuk on January 20, 2014:


I have e-mailed your well-assembled information to my son, he takes care of dog coats and cats.

I carry wood for winter warmth, my coat gets flecked with wood dust; I try to keep it clean. I have carefully hand skirted and hand prepared fleeces for handspun yarn.

Thank you, I've relied a lot as a freelance educator on the skills of others in areas that I am just plainly unskilled: dogs is one of them!


kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on January 20, 2014:

Great article about dog grooming issues. That's when I am happy to have cats :-) But all seriously, depending of the type of cat, some people need help too.

There are so many kind of dogs that it's important to know what you are doing when grooming. We have friends who bring their dog for grooming 4 times a year. I think also it brings peace of mind knowing it's well done!

Very informative hub, Michelle! Well done and an excellent reference for people with dogs!

Have a nice week!

Dianna Mendez on January 20, 2014:

Great advice. When I had a dog, bathing relaxed him. It's a great way to cool them down, as you mentioned.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on January 20, 2014:

I was lucky as when I worked at a kennel the owner was a groomer/breeder and she taught me how to groom various breeds of dogs. Grooming my 2 Newfoundland dogs is a big chore though and I'm having a hard time finding a groomer that charges under 100.00/per dog. I do my own but it would be nice to have a groomer that I could use every once in a while when I need a break :)

Great article as always Michelle!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on January 20, 2014:

The beagle should have fewer matting issues, but it's a short haired dog, so it will be prone to shedding. Thanks for sharing!

Claudia Porter on January 20, 2014:

This is helpful Michelle. We recently adopted a second dog (a beagle) who has different grooming issues than our labradoodle so we are still trying to figure them out. Thanks!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on January 20, 2014:

Common dog grooming concerns

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