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Best Grooming Tips for Small Dogs

Here at Happy Wags, we know how much your dog means to you. People take care of their grooming needs, and we should give our dogs the same care.


Taking care of your small dog’s hygiene —from bathing to cutting their hair and even trimming their nails—is important, but it can also be costly or time-consuming. Regular grooming is important, and there are ways to do it right.


Before you get started with the process, we’ve put together five tips for grooming dogs.

Professional vs. DIY

Grooming small dogs presents a challenge, especially when you consider their spunk and stamina. If you have any physical limitations that would make home grooming difficult, going to a professional might be your best bet. Also, if you don’t trust your hair-cutting abilities or are looking for a perfect cut, consider taking your small dog in and leaving it to the experts. A professional groomer has all the tools to cut hair, trim nails, empty anal glands, and trim the inner ear hair.

tiny dogs being washed

However, grooming your small dog yourself can have its benefits. If you have the time and can physically handle it, grooming at home will be easier on your wallet and can provide a bond between you and your dog as they are giving their trust to you. You might also consider grooming at home if your dog has any physical or behavioral challenges that would make professional grooming a nightmare experience.

Run It Out

One of the best tips for grooming dogs yourself is to play beforehand. It’s no secret that small dogs have a lot of spunk, so help them work off that excess energy. Play tug-of-war, wrestle, run around the yard, park, or house, or play fetch—anything to put them in a good mood, and get them tired and ready for grooming.

Brush Before Washing

brushing a dogs hair

Make sure to get all the knots out before you wash your pooch. Brushing their coat prevents knots from tightening in the water. Brushing also gets rid of any excess debris, allows you to check for ticks or other bugs, and overall, will save you a lot of time in the end.

Nails After Bath

Clipping your small dog’s nails is no easy task. Dogs will often see nail clippers and get a little tense. When you bathe your dog, the water will soften the nails and make them easier to clip, meaning that trimming your dog’s nails directly after the bath will make the experience easier for both of you. Easier clipping means you’ll be less likely to clip too far and hit any blood vessels or nerves, avoiding unnecessary pain for your dog.

Right Tool For The Right Job

Not just any pair of scissors is right for grooming small dogs. Just because shears work on their hair doesn't mean they are right for your dog’s nails, and tools that might work for a Bernese Mountain Dog can be intimidating and impractical for a terrier.

tiny dog blow dryer

When buying grooming tools, buy ones that match the size of your little pup. It makes things easier for you and won’t seem threatening to your small dog.


When everything is said and done, give your pup a treat, rub their ears, and tell them what a good dog they are—because they are. This reinforces good behavior and lets them know that grooming time isn’t all that bad.

Looking for more ways to give your doggie and best friend happiness. Don’t forget to subscribe to Happy Wags monthly subscription gift boxes. Each month, you’ll receive a surprise gift pup box full of toys and treats providing JOY to your dog— and happiness in your home!  Let’s keep those tails WAGGING!