Just as we humans like to keep clean, our four-legged friends also benefit from being kept in ship shape condition.
There are, of course, professional dog groomers you can turn to.
But with lockdown forcing all dog owners to go DIY – some for the first time ever – many have realised that for some breeds, the basics aren’t so hard after all.
And in any case, even dogs that regularly frequent the groomers need spruce up at home. Aside from keeping your pet's coat shiny and tangle free, grooming also helps to prevent skin irritations and pesky lodgers in your dog's fur.
We have worked our way through dozens of grooming essentials across dogs of all shapes and sizes to find you the best of them.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Paws & Presto extra large high-performance microfibre dog towel
Microfibre towels make short work of drying soaking wet dogs, yet they’re incredibly lightweight. This is one of the biggest on the market and we found it absorbed more dampness than others too – great news for after a bath or dip in the river on a walk. It washes well at 40C and there’s a 90 day refund policy if you don’t like it.
Furminator dog de-shedding tool
Rare is the professional dog groomer that doesn’t have one of these in their box of tricks. The stainless steel comb-like edge runs through the coat smoothly and effortlessly, removing the undercoat and loose hairs while protecting the skin. As the fur collection builds up, you press the button to eject it, making it easy to dispense of. There are other sizes too.
Beaphar toothpaste and toothbrush kit
Your vet will almost certainly have advised you to clean your dog’s teeth regularly. But you must never use human toothpaste because most contain fluoride which is poisonous to dogs. In any case, your pet will thank you for this meaty flavour over boring old mint any day. This one comes with a toothbrush, although we also rate the brand’s finger brush, sold separately (in which case, just buy the toothpaste without the brush).
Groom Professional baby fresh shampoo
This is expensive for normal shampoo, let alone animal shampoo. But it’s the best there is, in our opinion. It has aloe vera to nourish your dog's skin and coat, gives a real shine and softness and the baby powder scent is both gorgeous and long lasting. While other shampoos can irritate dogs’ skin, this one only contains natural cleansers.
Paws & Presto natural dog paw balm
Your poor hound’s paws can take quite a battering, especially if they’re walking a lot. This can result in dry, sore or split skin. A monthly application of this stuff should sort them out. Anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal, it’s completely natural. The tin also lasts ages as only a thin layer is needed each time.
Pet Teezer de-shedding and dog grooming brush
Tangle Teezers have long been a bestseller for humans. Well, now your canine can get a slice of the action. This one gets rid of excess hair, potentially saving you hours of vacuuming time, and our dog couldn’t get enough of the massage effect. While the more expensive Furminator brush (reviewed above) has the edge on performance, our dog definitely preferred this one and it’s also easy to clean, as well as being family friendly. There’s a de-tangling version available for longer-haired dogs too.
Groom Room dog claw clippers
We tried this brand’s smallest sized clippers, which are great for little dogs. The handle sits ergonomically in the hand and the nail guard means you can’t overcut – this is important as you need to protect the blood vessels in the middle of your pet’s claw. While other clippers can feel flimsy, these are solid and the blade is nice and sharp with a good, clear cut.
Ancol Ergo safety scissors
Although it's tempting to use your own household scissors to snip hair away from your dog’s eyes, feet and around the bottom, this is never a good idea. Not only for sanitary reasons, but because the risk of an accident with a fidgety dog is all the greater. These safety scissors have a blunt end and are such good quality that they can double up for a more general trim too.
Animology fox poo shampoo
If you've ever been tempted to shout at your dog, it’s surely in the moment you realise they’ve rolled in fox faeces. But while many regular dog shampoos just don’t cut it at ridding them of that seemingly everlasting strong pong, this extra-strength one will come to the rescue. Plus, it has a built-in conditioner for extra nourishment. For emergency moments, it is well worth having at the back of the cupboard.
Kong zoom groom
This brand is best known for its fabulous chewable rubber dog toys that you can fill with dog treats. But it has also nailed it with this brush that massages your wet dog while you work in the shampoo. An innovative concept, the rubber fingers massage the skin, stimulating capillaries and natural oil production to keep your dog feeling good and looking healthy. It works a treat.
Animology heaven scent dog body mist
From one of the best dog grooming brands out there, this is a quick and simple solution to dealing with pet pongs without causing any irritation to your dog’s hair or skin. It’s completely natural – so no sulphates, parabens, silicones or alcohol – and it leaves a light perfume of neroli and peony that doesn’t overpower or linger too long in the air.
Groom Room dog and cat multipurpose wipes
We love this jumbo pack of wipes because they are larger than most, don’t dry up, are easily retrievable from the pack and they smell nice. As you’d hope, they are all completely natural and can be used around the eyes as well as on the coat. The pack lasts a long while too.
Scruffs noodle dry mat
This ultra-absorbent mat is just the ticket for a soaking wet dog to lie on after its bath. We were amazed at how quickly the textured strands soaked up moisture, saving our bathroom floor from disaster, and if you use it with the brand's microfibre dog towel, you’ll have them dry in no time. It’s good for dogs of all sizes and you can use it in the car for after walks too. Easily washable, it comes out of the washing machine as good as new.
Healthy Cubs grooming glove
For short-haired dogs, grooming gloves are a godsend. The raised dots have a magnetic quality that causes friction between the glove and the dog’s coat to help stimulate the skin, remove loose hair and leave your dog with a shinier, healthy looking coat. And your pooch won’t mind – it’s like an enjoyable massage for them. This one comes in a range of colours and is great value.
The verdict: Dog grooming products
Tired of spending a seemingly infinite amount of time drying down your dog? Paws & Presto’s extra large high-performance microfibre dog towel is a life changing bit of kit for those who want it done in a jiffy. We also rate the Furmimator dog de-shedding tool – it's a professional standard tool that's incredibly effective.
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