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Six Grooming Tools Every Dog Owner Should Have

A well-groomed dog is the pride of an owner who has the know-how, patience and proper tools to do the job. There are many specialized tools (usually for specific breeds), but the typical dog owner can get by with the basics.

One of the first things a new dog owner should do is acquire proper grooming tools. And it might be useful to assemble a grooming tool kit. That way, every tool you might need at bath time or nail-trimming time is easy to find. A grooming tool kit could have the added benefit of increasing the frequency of grooming sessions.

Here are six basic grooming tools that every dog owner should have:


Depending on your dog’s coat, he may need a natural-bristle brush (for short coats), pin brush (for long and curly coats), slicker brush (for double coats and heavy shedders), or all three.  A sleek Italian Greyhound might need only a soft-bristle brush, while a fluffy Pomeranian might benefit from a bristle brush, a pin brush, and a slicker brush. At a bare minimum, slicker brushes can remove shed hair from any kind of coat, so they are always good to have handy.


A steel comb with fine and coarse teeth can be handy for any coat, from long and curly to short and smooth. Combs can help pick out fleas, tease out tangles, and smooth the coat all over.

Nail trimmers or an electric nail grinder

Choose scissors-style or guillotine-style nail clippers, whichever you prefer, in a size appropriate for your dog, and keep them sharp. Some people prefer electric nail grinders, but avoid them for long-coated dogs because hair could get caught in the rotating mechanism.

Clotting agent

If you accidentally clip the quick of your dog’s nail, don’t panic. A styptic pencil or powder will stop the bleeding.

Toothbrush and paste made for dogs

Even if you aren’t brushing your dog’s teeth now, it’s never too late to start. Clean teeth equal better health and less expensive and extensive annual cleanings at the veterinarian.

Dog shampoo

Even if you don’t regularly bathe your dog at home, it’s always a good idea to have a bottle of dog shampoo on hand, just in case your dog gets into something stinky and you can’t take him to the groomer immediately. Choose a formula suited to your dog’s individual needs, such as hypoallergenic, or a formula for your dog’s specific coat color or type.

Originally published in AKC Family Dog.
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This article was originally published in AKC Family Dog magazine. Subscribe today ($12.95 for 6 issues, including digital edition) to get expert tips on training, behavior, health, nutrition, and grooming, and read incredible stories of dogs and their people.
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