Expert Tips on How to Groom Your Pet At Home While You Are Social Distancing

With many non-essential businesses temporarily closing across the country to prevent the spread of COVID-19, pet owners might find themselves without access to the groomers they depend on to keep their pets fresh and clean.

Luckily, maintaining your pet’s fur and keeping your dog tidy is only as complicated as you make it. Sure, your poodle might now have the perfect cut if you groom the pooch yourself, but you’ll still have a healthy and clean canine if you practice a safe at-home grooming routine for your pup.

For some guidance on how dog owners can keep their canines clean and orderly during the coronavirus pandemic, PEOPLE spoke with Alison Rutty, the Director of New Business Lines, Grooming, at — an online network for pet sitting and dog walking services.

Here are her tips on how you can turn pet grooming at home into a success, instead of a struggle.

Brush Out Your Dog Daily: According to Rutty, this is important “especially for long-haired dogs that need regular haircuts — the more you brush, the more you can extend the time between grooms because mats are less likely to occur.”

Don’t Forget the Nail Trim: “Nails that are too long can cause problems, so nail trimming at home is important,” says Rutty. Below is a tutorial, from veterinarian Dr. Evan Antin, on how to easily trim your dog’s nails at home. Nail trims work best when done with clippers designed specifically for pet nails.

Give Your Dog Regular Baths: “Regular bathing (but not too frequently) is helpful for a healthy coat,” Rutty shares. Canine skin is more sensitive than human skin, according to the American Kennel Club, so it is best to use dog shampoo when bathing your pooch. Human shampoo made with natural ingredients, instead of chemicals, is safe to use in a pinch.

Ear and Eye Cleaning Is Important: “This is not scary and can be done with a cotton ball,” Rutty explains. “Ears and eyes can be prone to infection so monthly cleaning is key.”

Keep Up Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth: Don’t slack on toothbrushing for your pooch while your inside. Take this time to make brushing your dog’s teeth, with a dog-safe toothbrush and toothpaste, part of your daily routine.

Groom During Periods of Calm: It’s understandable that there might be a little more anxiety in your home these days, so make sure to reserve your dog grooming routine for the calmer moments. “The best time to groom your dog is when they’re already feeling calm and relaxed,” Rutty adds. “If your dog has a lot of energy, that means working off that energy with lots of playtime before you start the grooming process.”

Use Lots of Treats: Reward your dog for being a great client through positive reinforcement. Make sure to treat your pet to something they love throughout the grooming process.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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