Welcome to grooming your dog Part II – during COVID-19. So as I noted in my earlier blog , it is up to us to groom our dogs until our dog groomers open again.
Today, I will take you through my journey from “shaggy” Roxy–after 7 weeks of not being groomed—to “almost vogue” Roxy! Hopefully, you will be inspired to take your own journey to groom your dog during the COVID-19 business closures.
So just to remind you, this was what Roxy looked like at week 7:
As we commiserated in my previous post about grooming my dog , our groomers are closed. And we don’t know when they can safely reopen during COVID-19. So, I ordered new Wahl brand dog clippers plus the shampoo and conditioner, all recommended via email by my groomer, Pawla’s Grooming . I anxiously awaited the shipment from Rens Pets’ Depot
Below is a photo of my new Wahl dog grooming clippers:
These Wahl Clippers shown above come with a 5-in-1 blade that easily adjusts between sizes #9, #10, #15, #30, and #40, along with the disinfectant spray, as indicated on the Ren’s Pets Depot page. The package also includes:
- A blade already attached to the clippers that has a range of .7mm to 3mm (5 position settings) as well as the second blade sized with #9-#40″.
- 6 plastic combs designed to fit on the clippers together with either of the above-noted steel official blades ranging from 3mm to 25mm to create customized length of cut that you want.
- a small bottle of blade oil (so you don’t have to purchase separately until you run out). As per the operating instructions, you must oil the blades after every use to ensure the clippers don’t seize up.
- And as shown in the above photo, the clippers come with an attractive and practical case to easily organize all the components in one place.
Click here for a handy Wahl chart of cut length for each blade number to help you set your clippers correctly. If you have another brand, these lengths should be similar.
While I waited for the clippers, my first step was to trim Roxy’s nails
Here is an important reminder! Remember also to trim your dog’s nails at this time of COVID-19. For example, overgrown nails can interfere with your dog’s comfort and gait while we wait for our groomers to return. And my new dog nail grinder arrived before the Wahl grooming clippers. So I decided to trim Roxy’s nails as the first step in grooming her. I have never clipped her nails before. This is because Roxy’s nails are black, and the quick is hard to see. Therefore, I worried that I would cut the quick. My professional groomer always took care of this before, but now I needed to learn!
So what dog nail grinder did I use?
I chose the Furminator brand . From past experience with a number of their other products I felt assured the Furminator nail grinder would meet my expectations.
And it worked like a charm! Surprisingly, Roxy relaxed and even enjoyed her manicure! All I had to do was hold the grinder against each nail for 1 second at a time for 4 or 5 times. As I sanded, I kept an eagle eye out for the quick. It would have appeared dark against the white sanded tip of the nail. I stopped before I saw it.
No matter what, don’t sand for more than 3 seconds at a time (depending on the grinder you are using and the sensitivity of your dog’s nails). Apart from the discomfort, you could actually burn your dog’s nail! Also, overheating the machine is a possibility. So it’s safest to hold the grinder against the nail no longer than 3 continuous seconds at a time.
Why use a nail grinder instead of scissors or nail trimmers?
You can now see the main benefit of a grinder over scissors or nail trimmers. The quick is protected. This is because you gradually remove the tip, layer by layer. And you stop before you see the quick, so you don’t nick it by chance. This particular grinder has a light that flashes while on. You aim the light onto the nail tip in between grinding to check for the quick. In contrast, with scissors and trimmers, you are cutting blind. I am sure that is why many dogs hate us to clip their nails. Someone has accidentally nipped the quick! Or they are afraid someone will!
Day 1 of grooming your dog during COVID-19 – Wash and blow dry
So before you groom your dog, you need to wash and blow dry your pet. This is what the professional dog groomers do. And that’s what I did! My groomer recommended the salon brands of both shampoo and conditioner that she alternates using. And from available stock, I chose Tropiclean shampoo with Coconut fragrance and Best Shot conditioner . My groomer advised me to rinse any conditioner off thoroughly, and then go back and rinse it off again multiple times. So please take note of these instructions. You will achieve better results, and your dog will be more comfortable without residue in his coat.
Also, you will notice that I have divided up each group of tasks into separate grooming session days. This is because I am not as efficient as my groomer and I don’t want to stress Roxy. So I gave her one or two day breaks between sessions.
See the photo below of Roxy washed and blow dried
Here is what Roxy looked like after her shampoo, conditioner and blow dry. Her puffy fur made her look 5 pounds heavier! But that was just fluff! Wait until you see how she “slimmed down” after her new salon-like hair cut!
Day 2 of grooming your dog during COVID-19- Roxy’s face, neck and body
I used the clippers to groom Roxy’s face and neck
On day 2, I followed the guidelines of my groomer at Pawla’s Grooming. She kindly shared the blade numbers that she uses for Roxy and instructions on how to safely clip around her face. These tips applied only to my dog, and the Poodle “hair style” that I like. Ideally, you will reach your provider too and will be able to proceed with confidence. If they aren’t available, YouTube videos can fill in the gaps!
I found day 2 most challenging! It started off well, though. With my groomer’s advice, Roxy’s face was easy to trim! And no nicks! I carefully groomed her neck with the same setting. Success! I must admit though, it was hard to keep her still. I don’t own a grooming table and harness to restrict her movement (as many of you won’t either). So I struggled to get things right while ensuring that she stayed as still as possible.
Then I groomed Roxy’s body
Here is where I began to struggle! I clipped her legs too short because I thought I knew which blade number my groomer uses (I didn’t!). Plus, to complicate matters, the number range is not stamped on the permanent steel. So I set the blade much too short. Thankfully, I did not need to clip her anklet fur as scissors work best there.
Then I moved on to groom her body. I made mistakes again by clipping her underbelly too short, but of course the fur will grow back! And I will know how to do it better next time if my groomer is still closed.
Before I went on to trim Roxy’s back, I chose the appropriate comb attachment. And her back looked so much better than her belly! I was learning!
So, after I groomed all the parts of her body that needed it, I was finished with the clippers! This took nearly two hours. It was demanding! Because the process ate up this much time, I made sure to help Roxy feel good and enjoy her grooming. In addition, I needed to distract her sometimes while I worked to keep her as still as possible.
So I brought out the snuffle mat that I previously told you about. And I filled it with treats. Roxy entertained herself, sniffing and finding treats while I continued to groom her body.
See below Roxy’s fur clippings, just after grooming:
As you can see, her hair was everywhere! Some of it even blew under the furniture with my movement in the room. I swept up all the fur and placed it on that cloth towel. Then I took the cloth towel to my laundry room. It was now time to switch to paper towel. I covered the bottom of the laundry sink with paper towel and shook the hair over top, using the sink as a catch basin. Once the hair was completely shaken off the cloth towel onto the paper towel, I simply folded up the paper towel with the hair wrapped inside it. And then I placed it into a bag to dispose of in the garbage.
See below the large amount of hair gathered in the laundry sink:
Day 3 of grooming your dog during COVID-19 – trimming the top of Roxy’s head and her ear length
On day 3, it was time to shape the fur on top of my poodle’s head. It is called trimming the “TOP-KNOT”. Of course I didn’t know this term when I began my mission to groom Roxy! But in YouTube videos on Poodle grooming, I came across the name. You will of course need to research how best to trim the head and ears of your specific breed. However, you will likely find this exploration interesting and informative, just as I did!
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you to consult only those videos that handle the dog with kindness and not force. That being said, we must humanely secure our pets to safely clip or trim their entire body. We want to bring out their best features, but without causing injury. So our dogs do need to be safely restrained. You will find Youtube videos with caring professional groomers to copy.
Use sharp scissors to cut fine strands of hair if you don’t have grooming shears
I had hoped that my household scissors would be sharp enough to trim Roxy’s soft hair on her head, ears and her ankles. Unfortunately, they only did half the job. Because her head hair is shorter and thicker than her ankle hair, my household scissors worked well enough to trim the “Top-Knot”. And I was able to cut the length of her furry ears. But I will have to wait for the shears to layer her ear hair and to trim her ankles. This will complete her “Miami-cut Poodle cut“!
I ordered dog grooming shears
So I ordered dog grooming shears from Amazon. I wanted to find a good quality, reasonably-priced pair from Amazon itself, and not from an unknown third party. These shears will hopefully arrive in another couple of weeks. So for now, I have brushed out Roxy’s ankles and she looks good with long anklets.
Day 4 of grooming your dog during COVID-19 – grooming Roxys’ paws
Day 4, and Roxy’s grooming is almost complete! Both Roxy and I are glad! Now we only needed to address the hair around her feet. If like with poodles, your dog’s fur curls around the pads, it will prevent the spongy part of his paws from making complete contact with the floor. This was causing Roxy to slide on hard surface floors recently because she hadn’t been groomed in several weeks. And I wasn’t even aware this could happen. Roxy visited the groomer regularly, so the fur around her pads never grew long enough to cause such a problem.
Thankfully, I learned the correct blade length from the groomer to trim the top of Roxy’s paws and between her toes and pads. As you know, we did this on day 4. By now Roxy can anticipate what to expect when I start to groom any part of her –it might take awhile! However, I think I surprised both of us when I finished her feet hair in about 10 minutes! Not bad! And now she was happy that she wasn’t sliding on the floor anymore!
I will groom Roxy every four weeks until our groomer reopens her doors, so there will be no more sliding in the future!
So as you can see it took 4 days (5 when you include her nails) to complete the work Roxy’s groomer at Pawla’s Grooming can do in 2 hours. And even though Roxy looks quite cute with her home-grooming hair cut, both she and I can’t wait until our groomer reopens her business!
Yours in better dog care, Judy.