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How Can I Save Money On Grooming?

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on January 9, 2024
iHeartDogs is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

Grooming is important for your dog’s health, but it can also be expensive. The high prices are because grooming services are a lot of work, with the biggest, fluffiest dogs often being the most time-consuming. Fully grooming your dog yourself is not an option for most dog parents because you need to be confident and knowledgeable to effectively groom a dog or else something could go wrong. It’s better to spend money on a professional groomer than potentially putting your dog at risk by trying all the services yourself. However, there are some grooming needs you can do yourself or request from your groomer to reduce the amount of money you spend on dog grooming every year.

Ways to Save Money on Dog Grooming

1. Cut your dog’s nails yourself

Overgrown nails can cause all sorts of problems for your dog, such as torn nails, deformed feet, and arthritis. To prevent this, all dogs need their nails trimmed at least once a month. Doing it yourself could save you $100 or more per year. Nail trims are typically included in haircut appointments, but your dog may not need haircuts or they may need additional nail trims in between grooming appointments.

If you’re going to attempt this service yourself, you need to make sure you do it right. First, you’ll need a nail clipper, like the Safari Professional Nail Trimmer, or a nail grinder, like the Dremel 7350-PT Cordless Nail Grinder. Many dog parents prefer to use a grinder at home because it allows you to slowly reduce the length of the nail. However, some dogs are afraid of the sound grinders make, so a clipper may be preferrable in those situations.

In your dog’s nail, you can see the quick, which is the nerve and blood vessel part of the nail. When you trim your dog’s nails, make sure your stop 2-3 mm away from the quick. For trimming black nails, only do a tiny bit at a time. Stop trimming the black nail when you see a change in color on the tip of the nail, indicating that you’re close to the quick. Before trimming your dog’s nails for the first time, it’s a good idea to ask a groomer to show you how to do it or watch a groomer’s video online.

Anyone who trims their dog’s nails at home should have styptic powder in case of an emergency. If you cut the dog’s nail too short, quickly apply the styptic powder to relieve pain and stop the bleeding.

Trimming small dog's nails

2. Choose a shorter haircut

Dog hair grows about half an inch a month. Starting with a shorter length and maintaining a regular brushing routine can extend how long you can go between grooming appointments.

However, it’s important to note that not all dogs need their hair cut. Dogs with hair that grows and sheds minimally, such as Poodles and Maltese, need their hair cut by a groomer regularly. Yet, dogs that shed a lot, such as Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, do not need their fur cut, even if they have thick coats. Dog coats that shed typically protect your dog from the elements naturally, so shaving the coat my harm it. For example, it might seem like shaving a Husky in the summer will cool them down, but it could actually do the opposite by exposing their skin to the sun.

If you’re ever unsure if your dog needs their hair trimmed, ask a groomer. Dog parents that don’t need to trim their dog’s hair can save a lot of money on grooming costs, as long as they keep up with regular brushing.

Trimming Poodle Hair

3. Brush your dog regularly

Brushing your dog at home is an essential part of grooming because if you don’t, their coat could become matted. Letting your dog get severely matted between grooming appointments is cruel and painful. If you bring your dog to the groomer matted, their grooming appointment will likely be more expensive because it will be a lot more work for the groomer. If the matting is bad enough, groomers will have to shave your dog down for the dog’s safety.

So, brush your dog regularly to keep your dog healthy and to save some money. Dogs with short, smooth coats may only need to be brushed every few days, but dogs with thick, curly coats should be brushed almost daily. Ask your groomer for tips on how often to brush your dog and what type of brush to use.

In general, a slicker brush is the most common option for getting tangles out of medium-to-long hair while rake brushes can be used to remove loose hair from a dog’s undercoat. For regular maintenance, a bristle brush can help remove loose fur from shedding dogs with thin coats. Then, pin brushes are good to use after you’ve gotten the tangles and clumps of fur out.

Brushing dog ear

4. Compare local grooming prices

When looking for a groomer, ask what services are included and which ones they charge extra for. If you brush your dog’s teeth at home, for example, you might find a cheaper groomer if they offer that as an add-on rather than including it in their regular pricing.

However, keep in mind that the cheapest groomer in town might not be the best groomer for your dog. If possible, check the reviews of the groomers to make sure you feel comfortable having them care for your dog. Your dog should also feel safe there, so if they show signs of distress at the cheaper groomer when they haven’t at other groomers, you may want to go back to the more expensive groomer for your dog’s well-being.

Dog groomers

5. Wash your dog yourself

Groomers do a great job bathing dogs and leaving their coats feeling extra soft. Yet, those baths can be expensive. So, consider bathing your dog at home, or at the very least, take them to a self wash instead. At a self wash place, you can use professional grade tubs, restraints, shampoos, and dryers to wash your dog yourself for a reasonable fee. While not as cheap as using your tub, it’s still much more affordable than having a groomer bathe your dog.

If you have space in your home to properly bathe and dry your dog, that will be by far the cheapest option. Make sure you use safe, high-quality shampoo, such as Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo or Natural Dog Company Soothing Itchy Dog Shampoo (for Natural Dog Company, use HOMELIFE15 to get 15% off your order). Using a dog grooming brush can help you lather the shampoo in, making your dog’s coat as soft as possible.

You should bathe your dog every one to three months. If your dog gets dirty easily, more frequent baths may be needed. However, avoid bathing them more than once a week since it could damage the natural oils in their skin, making them more likely to experience dry skin.

Bathing happy Corgi

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should a Dog Visit the Groomer?

How often a dog needs a professional groomer depends on the breed, coat type, and lifestyle of the dog. Generally, dogs with longer or more specialized coats may require grooming every 4-6 weeks. Those with shorter or low-maintenance coats might only need professional grooming every 8-12 weeks. Regular at-home grooming should complement these visits to maintain the dog’s coat health and cleanliness.

How Often Should Dogs Get Their Nails Trimmed?

Dogs typically need their nails trimmed every 3-4 weeks. However, the exact frequency can vary depending on the dog’s activity level and the surfaces they walk on. More active dogs who often walk on hard surfaces may naturally wear down their nails, requiring less frequent trimming. Regular nail inspections are important to determine the need for trimming, as overly long nails can cause discomfort and health issues for the dog.

Will Dog Grooming Get Rid of Fleas?

Dog grooming, particularly thorough bathing and brushing, can help in removing fleas from a dog’s coat. However, grooming alone is often not enough to completely eradicate a flea infestation. Infestations require a comprehensive approach including the use of flea control products, regular cleaning of the dog’s environment, and possibly treatment from a veterinarian.

Do Dog Groomers Brush Teeth?

Some dog groomers offer teeth brushing as part of their grooming services, but this varies depending on the groomer. It’s important to note that while teeth brushing by a groomer can help maintain dental hygiene, it isn’t a substitute for regular dental care and check-ups by a veterinarian. Dog parents are also encouraged to brush their dog’s teeth at home regularly for optimal dental health.

Can Dog Grooming Help My Dog Shed Less?

Regular grooming, including brushing and de-shedding treatments, can significantly reduce the amount of hair a dog sheds by removing loose and dead fur from the coat. However, it’s important to note that grooming doesn’t stop the natural shedding process, but it can help manage and minimize the amount of hair shed around your home. The effectiveness of grooming in reducing shedding also depends on the breed and coat type of the dog.

Final Thoughts

All dogs need to be groomed to some extent. Some need their hair professionally cut every month while some only need specific services like de-shedding, nail trimming, or bathing. If your dog’s current grooming bills are more expensive than you’d like, the above tips can help you bring down the cost. However, you should never sacrifice your dog’s health for a good deal, so make sure the groomer and grooming services you choose are right for your dog.

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