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3 June 2021

Taking care of your dog or cat’s hygiene at home is easier than you think! The key is to follow certain guidelines to make sure the experience is pleasant for both you and your pet. Globalvet explains how to pull it off.


Here are the basic guidelines for grooming your four-legged friend.

1. Get your dog or cat used to being touched

Frequent and gradually longer sessions

Regularly touch the parts of your pet’s body that you would like to groom. Start by touching them for just a few seconds, and gradually increase the length of time. Do short sessions several times a day.

Gradually increase the intensity

Gently handle the area you need to groom so that your pet is comfortable being touched on that part of their body. For example, if you need to get to your pet’s claws, start by touching their shoulder, then move down to their elbow, the tip of their paw, and finally their claws. Move a bit closer only once your pet is comfortable with where you’re touching them.

Once your pet is comfortable with you handling them, introduce the tool (e.g., clippers, brush) that you will be using and let your pet sniff it. After that, start gently touching your pet with the tool. For example, if your pet is comfortable having their paws touched, gently run the clippers over their claws. Then, hold your pet’s paw and pretend to clip their nails. Slowly move the clippers closer to their claws as you do this.

Positive associations

Whenever you are handling your pet, make sure the experience is fun and positive. Giving your pet treats throughout the process can help with positive reinforcement. You can find everything you need in our stores to pamper your pet. You can also spread some pet-friendly wet food on a flat surface (e.g., yogurt cup lid for small animals, cookie sheet for large animals) to keep them happy, or add treats to a toy, like a Kong®, for dogs!

Back off if you see signs of stress

The goal is to make sure your pet is comfortable at all times while you are handling them. If they show signs of stress, it’s best to take a break and go back to the previous step before trying again. Signs of stress can include dilated pupils, ears pulled back, resisting or trying to escape, a lowered tail if a dog is in question, or a thrashing tail if a cat is in question.

 2. Place the animal in a natural and comfortable position

It is advised to keep your pet in a neutral position that feels most comfortable to them.

Examples of neutral positions can include:

  • Standing
  • Sitting
  • In your arms
  • On your lap

Avoid stretching your pet or pulling excessively on their legs or ears.

3. Always associate care with something positive

This rule applies during your warm up exercises but also in the long term. When grooming your pet, give them treats before handling them, while you’re handling them, and after you’re finished. You always want them to associate the grooming with something they enjoy!

 4. Always groom your pet while they’re calm, and take breaks if you need to

If your dog or cat is very worked up or excited, it is not recommended to attempt clipping their nails or cleaning their ears. You should aim to do these grooming activities later in the evening, or following a play period. If your pet gets impatient while you’re grooming them, take a break and pick it up later!


Now that you know the basic guidelines, you can do a lot of your pet’s grooming from the comfort of your home. To learn more about at-home grooming, check out our articles about:


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