Tip of the Month

Grooming Tools
  • Dog Shampoos for all Coat and Skin Types - November 2014

    Choosing a Shampoo

    How to Become a Pet Groomer

    When it comes to pet shampoos, there are as many choices as there are coat types. It is important to choose the right shampoo to match your pet’s skin and coat’s needs. Because your dog's skin and hair have different requirements than yours, it only makes sense to use a shampoo designed specifically for his needs. Dog shampoos should indicate if they are formulated for dry, normal or oily skin types. Before you begin, think about why you are washing your dog. Is he smelly, itchy, has fleas or simply dirty from playing outside?

    Hypo-allergenic Shampoo

    Hypo-allergenic shampoos are good for pets who have allergies or sensitive skin. With sensitive-skinned dogs, it is sometimes as much what is NOT in the product as what is in it. Most hypo-allergenic shampoos contain natural ingredients and do not have fragrances or dyes to lessen potential irritation of a pet’s skin.

    Medicated Shampoo

    Medicated shampoos are available at most pet supply stores or, depending on the pet’s condition, by prescription from a veterinarian. These shampoos are formulated to treat skin irritations as well as cleanse your dog's coat. Dogs suffering from itchy skin infections and other psoriasis-like conditions could benefit from medicated products, which can provide some relief to the symptoms. Always consult your veterinarian before using a medicated shampoo.

    Dry Skin Shampoo

    Pets with dry itchy skin and dandruff can benefit from shampoos and conditioners that offer extra moisturizer for the skin and coat. Emollients, such as silk, wheat and oat proteins, safflower oil and wheat germ oil can help keep the skin soft and supple. Look for shampoos that also contain ingredients that can help with itching or dry skin problems, such as peppermint oil, eucalyptus and aloe.

    Smelly Dog

    Dogs, just as with people, can have oily skin and hair. This is where the “dog” smell comes from. Your best shampoo option is a deodorizing shampoo. Typically, they contain baking soda or citrus to help remove the dog smell. Be careful of shampoos with added dyes or perfumes, as they can be harsh on the pet’s skin and coat.

    General Shampoo

    For routine bathing, you can consider using an oatmeal or aloe vera-based shampoo, as they are gentle enough for frequent use. To add volume to your pet’s coat or soothe dry skin, consider using a shampoo that contains protein. There are also shampoos that are formulated to enhance or darken specific coat colors. Whitening shampoos brighten white coats and there are highlighting shampoos for red or darker coats.

    No matter which shampoo you choose, always be sure to follow with pet safe-conditioner.


    Pet conditioner has many benefits, such as detangling and moisturizing dry, itchy skin. Applying conditioner after shampooing can keep your pet smelling fresh longer. Shampoos can strip the oils from the pet’s skin and coat, causing more oil to accumulate and the “dog” smell to return quickly. If you are bathing your pet on a weekly or biweekly basis, you should add a cream rinse or conditioner to the routine to prevent his skin from becoming dry and itchy.

    By Shelley Williams

    Wondering how you can become a dog groomer? Visit our website to learn about our Grooming Instruction Program.
  • De-shedding the Siberian Husky - February 2014

    Siberian Husky Shedding Tips

    How to Become a Pet Groomer
    With the weather turning a bit chilly to downright cold, it is only appropriate to focus on grooming one of the breeds meant to withstand freezing temperatures. Hailing from the bone-chilling tundra of Siberia, the marathon runner of the dog world has managed to become a favorite not only in colder, but also the warmer climates around the world. Even though Huskies do not need their thick fur coats in all the regions they have spread to, they have packed it along and are more than happy to share it with their owners.

    Is Your Husky Blowing His Coat?

    One important thing to take notice of before you begin is whether or not your furry friend is blowing his coat. Blowing the coat generally happens twice a year in which the shedding becomes excessive. It will be easy to notice as you will be able to remove clumps of fur with just a pinch of your fingers. If this is the case, you have a much hairier job than if your Husky was not blowing his coat. However, with the right array of tools you should be able to help this process along and keep you from being knee deep in fur around your house.


    Start with a quick all-over with a slicker brush, taking care not to press so hard that you brush burn the dog. This will help pull out those easy-to-grab clumps of fur. Next, run a shedding blade over the thicker parts of the dog, such as the back, neck, rump, etc. Now take a carding tool (these are often marketed as de-shedding tools in commercial markets) and card the coat. Be careful not to overdo it, as you could potentially leave your dog with a bald spot if you card too much. Afterwards, use a rubber curry to help remove the remainder of the loose hair that the previous tools did not grab. Keep in mind, your Husky will still be shedding but it will not be nearly as extreme as before.

    Alternative De-Shedding Tool

    There is a faster way to accomplish much of the same de-shedding accomplished with the various tools listed above. The trade off, however, is it’s a much pricier option. High velocity dryers have the primary purpose of blowing water off a dog after the bath but can also be used as a fast and efficient de-shedding tool. A good-quality, high-velocity dryer will set you back several hundred dollars, though. Ultimately, it is up to you and your pocket book as to which method will work best for you.

    By Shelly Navarro, ABCPG

    Wondering how to become a dog groomer? Visit our website to learn about our Grooming Instruction Program.
  • Grooming Kits - October 2011
    Every occupation has its own professional tools of the trade. An artist could not create without his paint brush. Such is the case for a dog groomer. A complete grooming kit will contain a variety of brushes, clippers, combs and accessories for the proper grooming of your four legged clients. Often you can purchase a grooming kit already assembled, but you can also compile your own kit.

    When assembling your own grooming kit, first consider what your grooming purpose will be. Are you going to be grooming for pet owners, or for dog shows? What breeds will you be grooming? This is important to keep in mind since some breeds require special grooming tools.

    A standard pet grooming kit will include:

    • Clipper with clipper combs & several sets of blades for pre-cuts & for finishing
    • Several types of shears for pre-cuts & for finishing
    • Several different types and sizes of slicker brushes
    • Several different sizes and types of combs
    • Stripping and carding tools
    • Several sets of shears for pre-cuts & for finishing
    • Hemostat
    • Several sizes of nail clippers
    • A curry brush
    • A shedding blade

    Make sure that you are experienced with using these tools and have had plenty of groomer training. Keep in mind that some groomer’s kits extend to additional tools as well such as doggy toothbrushes and tooth paste. Don’t forget to purchase a large storage box with a handle for easy storage and transportation of your grooming supplies! You will soon be on your way to well groomed and happy pet clientele!
  • Grooming Smocks - August 2011
    In the world of pet grooming, on the job apparel isn’t designed for fashion as much as functionality, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a wide array of grooming attire to choose from! On a daily basis a groomer may wear any number of professional groomer’s accoutrements that may include gloves, scrubs, and of course smocks. The smock is the most common on the job uniform for a groomer but even within the realm of smocks, there are many choices.

    A dog grooming smock will help the groomer stay clean and dry while tending to their four legged, furry friends. When deciding what type of a smock to choose, it’s important to do some research first in order to decide which style and material of smock would be the most comfortable and functional for the groomer. The groomer should first decide if they would prefer to work in a pull over smock or a button, snap, or zipper smock.

    Button, snap or zipper smocks are essentially “grooming jackets”. They are easy to put on, like a coat, and fasten up the front. This offers a certain amount of freedom for the groomer as they can wear it over their personal clothes. However, some groomers prefer pull over smocks. Pull over smocks are more similar to a large oversized T-shirt. The benefit of a pull over smock is, of course, that a snap or button can come undone while the groomer is in the midst of bathing a client, letting water in while the groomer is hard at work.

    Once you know what style of smock you want, you can go from there in deciding what kind of fabric or material you’d like the smock to be made of. Smocks are available in every type material from cotton to Teflon-coated nylon or mesh. The most important thing is to know your options and make sure you find the right frock for you. A happy groomer leads to happy pet clients!
  • Grooming Accessories for Canines and Felines - June 2011
    Pet grooming is as artistic of an occupation as it is scientific. Precision is key when it comes to cutting, cleaning, trimming, and brushing your furry customers, but grooming pets isn’t all about following a set of instructions. Being a groomer allows you to express your creativity in a variety of ways, one of them through the use of pet accessories.

    Among the many accessories that you can attach to the fur of dogs and cats, bows are one of the most popular and frequently requested items. Not only are bows fun to see on dogs and cats, they are also easy to apply, and inexpensive to make. In order to make a bow, the only materials required are ribbon, small rubber bands, hemostats, glue, and rhinestones, beads or buttons for some extra flair. Based on whatever colors you or your clients prefer, you can make any color, print, and fabric combinations that you like. If you have a sassy feline, why not dress her up with a leopard print bow? Or perhaps you have a manly pooch that would look great with a camouflage ribbon tied behind his ear. The opportunities to be creative are nearly endless when it comes to bows.

    Bandannas are also a viable option to spice up the look of a dog. Normally they are not used for cats and small dogs, because they are often too big to be fastened comfortably around their neck. While this limits the use of a bandanna, you can still have fun with putting them on medium-sized and large pooches. Also, bandannas are a bit safer, as they can be easily removed. If you have a pet that is particularly energetic or rowdy, it is best to stay away from carefully applied accessories, as they may come loose.

    Something new that pet owners have been requesting is the addition of feathers to their pet’s fur. Feathers are applied similarly to the way that bows are applied, using hemostats. You can purchase them in a variety of colors, and they are subtle additions, so pets barely notice that they are there, making them less likely to attempt to remove them.

    Remember, one of the most important aspects of applying accessories is ensuring that you have the permission of the pet owner. As cute as bows, feathers, and bandanna are to you, sometimes pet parents prefer to have their dogs and cats groomed simply, without any additions.

    To find out more on how to become a dog groomer contact an admissions counselor today.
  • Is Your Pet a Fashionista?  - March 2012
    Dog collars were probably one of the first “fashion statements” for our four legged friends. We have all seen large dogs with intimidating spiked dog collars and chain leashes. Then there are collars with whimsical pink hearts and glittering rhinestones. These images reflect the extreme end of the animal accoutrement fashion spectrum.

    However, what about doggie clothes? Is there really a good reason for these items to be on dogs? Dogs have gone “naked” since the beginning of time. Humans tend to think a dog’s hair is great protection from extreme weather conditions. So why bother with clothes? Believe it or not, there are times when your pet might be very appreciative of a doggie jacket. For example, if your pet is normally an “indoor” pet, his fur may not be thick enough at a cold outdoor campsite. Another example would be in the case of older arthritic dogs. They may need padded socks to gain traction on modern laminate flooring. This will ease stress on shaky legs and hips. Bows and ribbons on the head of your pooch not only create a cute puppy look on many dogs but they also keep the hair out of their eyes. We can think of numerous other examples of a practical need for some clothing item to make our pets comfortable.

    Whatever the reason you have for dressing your pet up, you need to be concerned with two major issues: safety and comfort. Here are a few things to consider before you spend your money on the next canine outfit you see in the store.

    Any rubber bands or ribbons that you have holding your pet’s hair up in a cute bow should be taken out every day and brushed. They may cause the hair on the head to get snarled and hurt the dog. This is especially true if the bow or ribbon gets wet. It is important for you to take it out and dry the hair. If you let a matted spot get too big, a dog groomer might not be able to brush it out. They may have to resort to scissors to remove a mat caused by this scenario.

    Doggie shirts and sweaters will keep a dog warm, but make sure that the article of clothing is fitted properly. Even if the clothing item seems to fit, you need to see if it causes hair to rub and become uncomfortable. (By the way, this can even happen with a collar or harness on your dog.) If your dog is a longhaired breed make sure to take the item off everyday and brush the hair underneath. Main areas where hair will get matted are around the neck and chest, in the armpits of the dog, or on the stomach. A good idea is to keep your dog’s hair slightly shorter or be prepared to brush frequently.

    Unfortunately, if you do not keep up with brushing, hair can become heavily matted and possibly cause friction. This can be very painful for your pooch. If your dog does get seriously matted spots, you will need to make a trip to your local dog groomer. The groomer will most likely try bathing and brushing first, but if the problem is serious, they may need to use clippers. Remember, if you ignore wet mats, the problem only gets worse and will probably be very uncomfortable for your dog.

    Many pets, once they get use to wearing clothes, enjoy the attention. You can look to see if there are animal “fashion” shows in your neighborhood. There you can let Fifi and Fido can strut their stuff!

  • The Happy Hoodie - April 2011
    It is a well-known fact amongst dog groomers , cat groomers, and pet owners alike that our canine and feline companions are extremely sensitive to sound. Whether it is the vacuum, thunder, or (in the situation of a grooming shop) the hair dryer, dogs and cats can become extremely agitated by the noise.

    During a trip to the groomer, it can become troublesome if they bark, whimper, hiss, and struggle while the groomer is attempting to dry them after a bath. We endure the protest of our pets because unfortunately it is necessary that we vacuum and use a blow-dryer, even if it disturbs our furry friends. Anyone who has gone to grooming school
    knows how difficult it is to work with distressed animals.

    Luckily, the simple but ingenious design of a new product called “The Happy Hoodie” alleviates the discomfort and issues that pets experience with high volume levels. The Hoodie is a tube-shaped piece of fabric that is stretchy, light, and durable. Similar to how you would put a slip-on collar around your pet’s neck, you simply slide the Hoodie over his head and fasten it around his ears. The hoodie protects your pet from loud noises and high-pressured air associated with drying.

    The Happy Hoodie can be used in many different situations. Due to the light weight flexible durability of the fabric you can adjust the fitting on your pet for different scenarios. The Happy Hoddie can be used to keep your dogs ears up for aeration and it can be used to keep your pets ears down and covered for noise. The Happy Hoodie is great for trips to the vet, grooming and even training purposes.

    The Hoodie comes in two sizes, small and large. They also come in two different colors, black and white. The Happy Hoddie is made of stretchy gauze like material. The small sized hoodie will fit small and medium sized pets. The large size is meant for pets with large heads, for instance a Great Dane or even a horse could use the large sized hoodie.The material will not irritate your pet’s skin, but will be tight enough to block out whatever noise is bothering him. Using the Hoodie is a humane way to calm and control your pet in a stressful situation, such as being at the groomer’s, the vet’s, or even at home. The Happy Hoodie is also a great tool to use when applying drops or ointment to your pets ears.

    With pet grooming, anything that you can do to make the animal more comfortable and content will make the process much easier. In any animal career
    you may want to consider investing in The Happy Hoodie for your business.

    If you are interested in the Happy Hoodie and would like to purchase one, you can visit the Happy Hoodie website to order online or locate a distributor near you.
  • Selecting and Caring for Grooming Shears & Scissors - October 2010
    There are many different types of grooming scissors and shears. When grooming both large and small dogs you will find that you will prefer the long shears. The longer shears will give you more coverage.

    The shears should fit nicely in your hand and have some weight to them. They should open and close very easily, but at the same time not be so loose that they wobble. They should not be too tight where the blades scrape together or stick.

    Your set of finishing shears and scissors should include Long Straight, Long Curved, Blending, Small shears, Ball Point scissors, and Thinning shears. Many groomers have several of each type. When one set is becoming dull or is out being sharpened, the groomer is still able to work. At least one set of scissors to be used primarily for your precuts on unwashed dogs is a must. The precut scissors and shears will be the ones that you have dropped or just do not cut well anymore even after sharpening.

    Long Straight shears will be useful for scissoring cylindrical legs on curly coated breeds as well as the skirts on breeds like the Cocker Spaniels, West Highlands, and Maltese. Long Curved shears will cover most all over body work, a quality pair of blending shears will help to conceal mistakes made by the clipper or scissoring, and the long thinning shears with slightly larger teeth will help to remove bulk on Newfoundland’s and other large breeds.

    To maintain the life of your finishing scissors and shears you should not cut wet or dirty hair. This would be like cutting sand paper. Also, the scissors and shears should be only used to cut hair and never to cut other types of materials. Scissors and shears should be cleaned after each dog and kept in their cases or in a scissor keeper and not bunched together so they do not scrape each other.
  • Brushing Tools for Each Coat Type - June 2010
    Brushing is a great bonding point for you and your dog that can be accomplished while you sit down to watch TV or listen to music. You will need the appropriate brush and/or comb for your dog’s coat type and, a towel for your lap, and a trash bag or container to catch the hair. Gather all of the items you will need and then after you have given your dog her body assessment and massage, start brushing.

    You should make a point to ensure that you have the proper brush and comb for your pet’s particular coat type. If you have a short or smooth coated breed such as a Bulldog, Beagle or Great Dane, you will need a short soft bristle brush and a rubber curry to remove loose hair and massage her skin. Be sure to groom these dogs with care because the skin of the smooth coated dogs should be handled gently.

    If your dog is in the medium-coated breed category such as a Retriever, Shepherd or Terrier, use a bristle brush and a metal comb. Bristle brushes are available in several sizes and bristle types. For the short hair dogs, you need shorter dense bristles and longer hair will require the longer more widely spaced bristles. In addition, if your dog has long hair on her legs and tail you, will need a wire-pin brush. These are similar to bristle, but are wire and are available with or without rubber-tips.

    If your dog is in the long hair breeds such as Poodle or Bischon, you will need a slicker bush. Slicker brushes have short bent wire bristles that are more widely used for a variety of tasks from blowing a curly coat straight to removing mats. The long hair breeds that have fine hair such as the Yorkies and Maltese will need a softer rubber-pin brush and a soft slicker for their delicate coat and skin as well as a metal comb to check for tangles.

    When using any of the brushes watch out to not brush burn the skin. All of these grooming tips not only bond you with your dog, but also are a great preventative measure to avoid costly grooming bills.

Get Your Own Tip Box!

You can put ABC's tip of the month on your own web site. It's free and easy!

get the code



Website Visitors

If you would like to subscribe to ABC's Animal Care Tip of the Month, please click here for instructions.




If you have additional questions about our Certified Dog Grooming Program, please feel free to contact us.

Professional Grooming School

 We invite you to click through our site or speak with an ABC Admissions Counselor at:
or Request Information on Becoming a Professional Groomer




Request Information


Yes   No
I understand that submitting my information gives consent for Animal Behavior College to provide me with information and discount/promotional/marketing materials via phone, fax, email, text (if I opted in), chat or other automated technology. I also understand that I am able to opt-out from communications at any time. I waive all no-call-registry choices and acknowledge that my consent does not require me to purchase.
Text Messaging Terms of Service
** Standard text messaging rates apply as provided in your wireless plan.
Recommended Reading

Animal Behavior College, Inc., Schools  Private, Santa Clarita, CA*

Please be advised that Animal Behavior College ("ABC") is the exclusive entity authorized to provide certifications and/or degrees from Animal Behavior College. Moreover, such certifications and/or degrees are only conferred by ABC following a student's completion of an ABC-administered program.
No other entity or individual has authority to confer certifications and/or degrees on ABC's behalf. Any other entity or individual who attempts to do so is acting without express or implied authority from ABC.

*The BBB only accredits the business management of a school, not the quality of the curriculum, or training programs.

Copyright © 2000 - 2018 Animal Behavior College
Animal Behavior College * 25104 Rye Canyon Loop * Santa Clarita, CA 91355-5004