Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at

    Do you groom your pet yourself?
    Will Draper, DVM posted:
    Grooming and good hygiene is very important for pets. This includes bathing them, maintaining their hair/coats, cleaning their ears, and trimming their nails. Grooming services are generally affordable if you have, say, a small Chihuahua. However, if you have a very hairy dog such as a purebred borzoi, the expense involved is nothing to shake a tail at, especially in this economy. For a number of reasons, cost cutting being one, many pet owners will choose to take grooming and cleaning tasks on themselves. There are many grooming products out there in the pet stores to help make this happen, including shampoos, ear cleansers, even at-home nail clipping aids. However, caution must be used. We see a fair share of oopsies in our practice; lacerations caused by a slip of the scissors, irritated or damaged ears due to improper cleaning techniques, and bleeding claws and nails from aggressive trimming. These accidents can cause not only pain and discomfort to your pet, but may also have you running to the vet with an expensive emergency.

    If you choose to groom your own pet, it is very important to know what you are doing. Know what shampoo is best for your pet. Know how and where to trim their nails, if you choose to do so. Make sure you take precautionary measures, such as ointments to protect the eyes, or cotton or gauze to protect the ears. On the other hand, if you don't feel comfortable with the task, then don't do it. It is best left to the professionals. Also, consider the subject. I've seen clients who decided to bathe their cats -- who generally groom themselves -- only because their cats had never had baths before. When it didn't go over very well, as you might imagine, both the felines and their owners ended up at their respective physicians afterward.

    Know your pet and what they will tolerate. If your pet is a fear-biter, trying to bathe them when they are not used to it can be dangerous for both of you, regardless of how much you love each other. If you have a very hairy pet or one with a thick coat, incomplete rinsing of shampoo from their bodies can cause skin irritation, and possibly a trip to the vet. Too much water in a pet's ears commonly leads to ear infections.

    Do any of you groom your pets yourselves? Or have you ever tried... and failed?
    Dr. Will
    Annie_WebMD_Staff responded:
    I do use a groomer for my dog because she's a golden lab cross and she sheds -- a lot! I joke that she gets more money spent on her beauty spa treatments than I get.

    Our home bathtub is fiberglass (it's a recent bathroom remodel) and it would get scratched by my dog's nails so if I had to shower her it would be in the shower stall. I do bathe her outside in the summer on nice, warm and sunny days. I do give her a haircut and trim her tail and her skirt and tummy hair as well as the hair on her legs and feet. I leave the toenail clipping to the groomer or vet as my dog will yelp if I try and do it myself. But for me it's worth it for the groomer to do al those things, I didn't save myself very much money by doing my own bathing and having the vet's office clip her nails.

    She also gets brushed nearly every day, mostly after her walks.

    My daughter trims my cat's nails. I have always bathed my cats. I think with my big boy it will take 2 people to bathe him as he weighs 13 pounds. I bathe him in the bathroom sink and I have a water fountain nozzle that I can use to rinse him off. Part of the success in bathing a cat is the prep work beforehand like getting out the big bath towels and lay them on the floor to roll the cat up in after the bath is over. Keeping the bathroom door closed ensures that there's no escape either!

    - Annie
    jennifert87 responded:
    I absolutely do groom my 4 year old, 90 lb yellow lab, and love doin it for him. His AKC registered name is, Budroe Von Treshington, but we just call him "Buddy". Buddy is a very human like dog, extremely loving, very comical as well.

    As for bath time, I use to bathe him in the bathtub, and make sure the water was just the right temperature (not to hot not to cold), have 4 big fluffy towels to dry him off, or blow him dry with my blowdryer on cool. Then after his bath I would spent about an hour cleaning the bathroom from all of his hair that sheds during bath time. Well since we live in Florida, and he is so big now, I've "come to make life easier", and give him a bath outside, with the hose. The water is never really cold, except when we do have some cold snaps. Buddy seems to prefer the outside bath. This is his routine: wetdown, shampoo really good, rinse, then conditioner, rinse, then his ears are cleaned with a damp cloth, then he shakes all over me several times, towel dry, then brush, and spray, brush his teeth (dog toothbrush & toothpaste of course), finally his nails are trimmed with the Pedipaws. Whew, I'm tired just from explaining all that to you. Plus I do this twice a month. Thanks for reading my story, hope you enjoyed it. Jennifer Tresher
    Byroney_WebMD_Staff replied to jennifert87's response:
    Jennifer, thanks for sharing Buddy's story with us.I definitely enjoyed it. He's a really big boy. My Nilla is also a Lab, and she's also 4 years old, but she weighs 79lbs--and I thought she was big!

    Nilla has a kiddie wading pool for the warm summer days and she's always good about getting a bath. I agree with you that full-grown Labs are probably better getting washed outside rather than indoors.

    I use regular nail clippers but she has thick nails so I've broken the blades before. Maybe I'll have to try something like Pedipaws.

    You and Buddy stay cool,

    Every dog has his day - but the nights are reserved for the cats ~ Unknown
    debster0 responded:
    Once you purchase the grooming tools you will need, a good pr of scissors, a pet blow dryer( a 4 hp motor by Metro) will stand you in good stead and blows the water off the dog amazingly.. a grooming table with a post and noose and clippers, you are on your way to a good start, A local dog show may be a good place to pick up the grooming table, arm and noose and you can find a pair of scissors that feel good in your hand, I use a cordless dremel to file down the dog's toenails. The dog is a Kerry Blue Terrier and they are pretty high maintainance, She gets a bath and haircut every two to three weeks, hair pulled from ear canals, teeth brushed with an electric toothbrush at bath time, usually a mouth spray in between brushings, There is a special pride you can take in admiring your well groomed dog. Also I use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner and during the every few days brushing I spray coat conditioner on her which helps with tangles and has an added perfumey type smell. After her bath and trim, I use a product called pro ear to dry out her ear canals,.She may not be enthused about the bath, but she is well behaved on the grooming table, dremeling the nails is her least favorite part.

    Helpful Tips

    How to Get Your Cat in a CarrierExpert
    Trying to get your cat in a carrier for a trip to the veterinarians or road trip can be extremely frustrating. Some how a 10# cat that ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    19 of 26 found this helpful

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    Learn more about the AVMA

    WebMD Special Sections