Groom from Home Like a Professional

A step-by-step guide on how to create your own professional grooming space.

Professional dog grooming is an extremely physically and emotionally demanding profession. Regular grooming is essential for dogs because it helps maintain their skin, coat, nails, ears and helps with the early detection of ailments. The increase in pet ownership has driven the demand for pet grooming services. Not only are there more pets to be had, but the latest trends in dogs are those with demanding coat requirements and sometimes difficult temperaments. These dogs take more time and skill to be groomed.

While grooming is an unregulated trade and there aren’t stringent requirements for those wanting a career as a pet groomer, the sudden surge of pet ownership has created a shortage of professional groomers. Many aren’t able to accept new clients, while others fled the field into retirement or a career change.

Unfortunately, pet groomer shortages affect both pets and their owners more than anyone else. The solutions are not ideal for pets or their owners, where disruptions to the dog’s grooming routine means that they are having to either extend the time between grooming sessions, lack a groomer taking them on completely, or groom their own pets at home.

Whether you have a regular professional groomer for your dog or not, grooming your dog at home can have several benefits. One reason is that it can be more convenient, as the dog owner can do it at their own schedule and does not have to spend time and money traveling to a groomer. Additionally, some dog owners may prefer to groom their dog themselves so they can be sure that the dog is being treated in a way that they are comfortable with, and that the dog’s coat is being groomed to their liking. Some dogs may have anxiety or other health and behavioural issues that make them uncomfortable at a groomers, and grooming them at home can help to reduce that stress and work together more frequently on the problem.

Grooming your dog at home can have several benefits:

  • Cost: Grooming a dog at a professional grooming salon can be expensive, and grooming the dog at home and keeping up with maintenance can save money.
  • Convenience: Grooming a dog at home allows the owner to do it on their own schedule and at their own pace, rather than needing to make an appointment.
  • Comfort: Some dogs may feel anxious or stressed at a grooming salon, but grooming at home can help them feel more relaxed and comfortable.
  • Customization: Grooming your dog at home allows you to tailor the grooming to their specific needs and preferences, such as using a certain type of shampoo or clipping their fur in a specific way.
  • Bonding: Grooming your dog can be a bonding experience for you and your pet, and grooming at home allows for more time spent together.
  • Health and Hygiene: Regular grooming can help prevent skin problems and maintain good hygiene of your dog.
  • Grooming Routine: Creating a grooming routine for your dog can help them adjust better to grooming and make it less stressful for them.

Starting a home dog grooming salon doesn’t have to be a complex process. Here are some of the key steps and considerations involved:

Building a Basic Grooming Room

Establish a comfortable and safe designated grooming area that is comfortable for both you and your dog. This is a place that is going to get wet and hairy. Spaces that you can have converted into a grooming salon include shop or storage space in your home; garage, small outdoor shed, or even an RV or a trailer. Whatever area you have chosen, you’ll need good lighting, and make sure the space is temperature controlled and comfortable for both you and your dog.

Ensure your electricity has proper safety features in case it gets wet.

Make sure that you have a tub, and that it has warm running water with a way to safely dispose of soapy waste water.

Your bath tub should be in good working order with proper caulking and free of mould and mildew.

Rubber matting needs to be placed in the bottom of tub to ensure adequate footing for your dog as well as rubber matting to be placed on the floor where you will be standing for proper and secure footing while bathing your dog. Install secure clamps for attaching your dog with the noose securely in the bath.

For your health and safety, appropriate latex/rubber gloves should be worn when bathing.

Your tub should provide adequate space for your dog to comfortably move around, and at a height that is also at a comfortable level for you so you do not injure yourself by over reaching and stretching to reach your dog.

Establish a supply of bath towels and shampoo and conditioner within arms reach as not to leave your dog unattended in the tub.

When looking for grooming tubs, you can find these at various pet supply stores, specialty grooming suppliers, or online retailers. Tip: scratch-and-dent items at discounted prices compared to their brand-new counterparts can be a cost-effective way to acquire high-quality equipment while saving money. 

Stainless Steel Professional Pet Dog Grooming Bath tub
Stainless Steel Professional Pet Dog Grooming Bath tub

You can get fancy with a hydraulic tub.

…or purchase your tub from a depot, like Home Depot or a scratch and dent.

Shampoo & Conditioner

The normal range of skin pH levels for dogs, depending on size and breed, are 5.5 to 7.5 (which is more alkaline). For humans, the normal range of skin pH levels are 5.2 to 6.2 (more acidic). Water quality can also impact the pH level when it comes into contact with the dog’s coat. This requires some unique care to keep it at healthy levels as the best thing you can do for your dog is get dog shampoo/conditioner with the right pH for their skin.

Mixing Bottles

Not only is it advisable to use an appropriate dog washing product, but to dilute the shampoo and conditioner according to label instructions. Additionally, dilute only when you need it, and only mix what you need for that day.


An overlooked purchase for inventory are towels, and lots of them! Putting towels on your grooming table after a bath can really assist in drying your dog quicker.

The Right Tools For The Job (depending on the breed)

It is recommended to invest in professional grooming equipment. Using equipment that isn’t up to standard can not only make your job more difficult, but put your dog at risk of injury.

Professional Clippers:


The Andis Ultra Edge AGC 2-speed Dog Clipper:

This is one of the most popular dog clippers, and for good reason. This clipper has a high speed which makes finishing work dramatically easier. The clipper is one of the quietest, is low upkeep and if maintained for properly, is a work horse that will last forever.

Cordless Clipper Options Favoured by Professionals:

The Heiniger Opal Li-Ion Battery Clipper
The Heiniger Opal Li-Ion Battery Clipper -quiet yet powerful, uses lithium-ion battery technology, and has a runtime of 240 minutes as well as a one-hour full-battery recharge time.
Wahl KM Cordless 2-Speed Clipper
Wahl KM Cordless 2-Speed Clipper Wahl’s first detachable blade cordless clipper, ideal for body clipping, cutting through thick, matted coats or noise sensitive animals. It has constant speed control delivering more power and torque in tough areas. 2-hour cordless run time and quick charge feature (15 extra minutes of clipping for every 10 minutes it charges).
Wahl Bravura Lithium Ion Clippers
Wahl Bravura Lithium Ion Clippers luxury clipper that is a great addition though poses limitations. This clipper contains a 5-in-1 Fine Blade clipper (#9, #10, #15, #30, #40) designed for face, feet, sanitary, but are not meant for all your grooming requirements.

Clipper Blades

There’s lots to consider before purchasing a new clipper blade. Clipper blades come in several sizes and multiple styles that are available for all types of grooming jobs.

  • Finishing blade: Provides a smooth clip and are most suitable for an all-over groom or as a finishing style.
  • Skip tooth blade: Every other tooth on a skip tooth comb is omitted. These blades are more suitable for a rough cut, dematting, and blending.
  • Wide blade: These blades are wider than regular blades, which are great for grooming larger areas or larger dogs.

Blades are also available in different coatings meant to enhance their clipping function:

  • Stainless steel clipper blades are generally the industry norm.
  • Ceramic blades are popular as they tend to stay cooler longer, deliver a smoother cut, and are less corrosive. However, ceramic can be quite fragile and break easier if the blade is dropped.
  • Silver is antimicrobial.
  • Titanium coating helps strengthen the blade and prevent corrosion. Blades last longer and stay sharper.
  • Carbon is stronger quality that allows for prolonged grooming sessions, as blades stay cooler for longer and hold their sharpness for twice as long as other blades in the market.
  • Chrome coating resists rust.

Keep these Blade Tips in mind:

  • Blades are numbered to indicate what length of hair they will leave
  • The blade number will determine the type of cut you get
  • The higher the blade number, the shorter the cut will be
  • Always make sure you are using a cool running blade, and check temperature frequently


3 = 1/2″ (Skip) 3F = 1/2″ (Finish)

4 = 3/8″ Skip) 4F = 3/8″ (Finish)

5 = 1/4″ (Skip) 5F = 1/4″ (Finish)

7 = 1/8″ (Skip) 7F = 1/8″ (Finish)

9 = 5/64″

10 = 1/16″

15 = 3/64″

30 = 1/50″

General Clips:

Sanitary & Sterile: #10

Feet & Pads: #15, #30

Inside Ears & Tummy: #10

“Teddy Bear” look (¾” long all over): #4

Matted Dog: #5, #7

Surgical: #40

Maintaining your Clipper Blades:

Maintaining your clipper blades is important, and often unknown to pet owners who aren’t professionals.

  • Improved performance: Regular maintenance helps keep the blades sharp, reducing the amount of friction and pressure required to cut through your pet’s fur. This results in a smoother, more efficient grooming experience for both you and your pet.
  • Longer lifespan: Proper maintenance can extend the life of your clipper blades, saving you money on replacements.
  • Health and safety: Dull blades can cause discomfort and even injury to your pet. Maintaining sharp blades minimizes the risk of skin irritation, nicks, and cuts.
  • Consistent results: Regular maintenance ensures consistent cutting results, reducing the chances of uneven cuts or patchy grooming.

By taking the time to properly maintain your dog grooming clipper blades, you can improve your pet’s grooming experience and keep them looking their best.

When you have a warm blade, use Andis®Cool Care Plus® or Oster®Kool Lube Spray.

Andis®Cool Care Plus®
Andis®Cool Care Plus®
Andis®Cool Care Plus®
Oster®Kool Lube Spray

After you are done using your blades, oil them.

A sharp blade will deliver the cleanest cut. Therefore, having your clipping blades sharpened regularly should be a part of your regular blade maintenance.

Guard Comb Set:

Snap on combs (sometimes referred to as guard combs) are generally a safer approach to controlling the length of your dog’s hair.

Dog grooming snap combs are attachments that can be attached to clippers to provide a more precise cut and trimming length. They come in various sizes and are designed to fit over the clipper blade to control the length of hair being trimmed. Snap combs are used to create specific haircuts or trimming styles and can be especially helpful in creating uniformity and achieving a smooth, even cut on your dog’s coat. 

Oster, Andis and Wahl – the top 3 brands – all have their snap combs for professional dog grooming tools. Combs can be used across clipper brands.

Oster 10-Piece Stainless Steel Pet Clipper Guide Comb Kit
Oster Stainless Steel Guide Comb Kit
Andis Stainless Steel Comb Set
Andis Stainless Steel Comb Set
WAHL Stainless Steel Attachment Guide Comb
WAHL Stainless Steel Attachment Guide Comb

Cleaning your dog grooming snap combs

Maintaining your snap on combs is important. Regular cleaning of your dog grooming snap combs is a simple step that can greatly enhance the overall quality of your pet’s grooming experience and help keep them looking their best.

  • Hygiene: Regular cleaning helps to remove any dirt, debris, bacteria and hair that may have accumulated on the combs. This reduces the risk of skin infections and helps keep your pet healthy.
  • Improved performance: Clean snap combs glide more smoothly over your pet’s fur, reducing friction and allowing for a more efficient grooming experience.
  • Longevity: Cleaning the snap combs can help prolong their lifespan by removing any dirt or debris that may cause rust or corrosion.
  • Consistent results: Keeping the snap combs clean helps ensure consistent grooming results, reducing the chances of uneven cuts or patchy grooming.

Ultrasonic Cleaner:

We recommend an ultrasonic cleaner. An ultrasonic cleaner is a device that uses high-frequency sound waves to agitate a cleaning solution and remove dirt, debris, and bacteria from various objects, including dog grooming equipment.

  • Thorough cleaning: Ultrasonic cleaning is effective at removing even the most stubborn dirt and debris from hard-to-reach places, ensuring your grooming tools are completely clean.
  • Improved performance: Clean grooming tools perform better, reducing friction and allowing for a smoother, more efficient grooming experience for both you and your dog.
  • Health and safety: An ultrasonic cleaner can help kill bacteria and other pathogens, reducing the risk of skin infections or other health problems for your pet.
  • Longevity: Regular cleaning with an ultrasonic cleaner can help prolong the lifespan of your grooming tools, saving you money on replacements.
  • Convenience: Using an ultrasonic cleaner is quick, simple, and requires minimal effort. It saves time compared to traditional cleaning methods and eliminates the need for scrubbing or brushing.

Overall, an ultrasonic cleaner is a powerful tool for maintaining the cleanliness and performance of your dog grooming equipment, ensuring that your pet stays healthy and well-groomed. You can use this for your grooming blades, snap on combs, brushes, and combs.

Ultrasonic Cleaner
Ultrasonic Cleaner

Brushes & Combs:

Dog brushes and combs are important for dog groomers. Having a variety of dog brushes on hand, including slicker brushes, bristle brushes, and shedding tools, can help you provide a comprehensive grooming experience for your dog, promoting their overall health and happiness.

  • Improving skin and coat health: Brushing helps remove loose hair and prevent matting, promoting healthy skin and a shiny coat. It also distributes natural oils throughout the coat, keeping it soft and moisturized.
  • Detecting health issues: Regular brushing provides an opportunity to inspect your pet’s skin and coat, helping you detect any health issues, such as fleas, ticks, or skin irritations, early on.
  • Bonding time: Brushing can be a bonding experience for you and your pet. It gives you an opportunity to spend quality time with them and build trust.
  • Easing the grooming process: Brushing prepares your pet’s coat for grooming by removing tangles and knots, making the grooming process smoother and easier.

The foundation of all good grooming starts with the right brush and comb.

Some of the brushes and combs we recommend and why are:

For shedding breeds, we recommend the ZoomGroom or SleekEZ Deshedding Grooming Tool

Ear Cleaner:

Purchasing an ear cleaner for your dog is important.

  • Maintaining ear health: Regular cleaning helps prevent the buildup of wax, dirt, and debris in your pet’s ears, reducing the risk of infections and ear irritations.
  • Detecting health issues: Cleaning your pet’s ears provides an opportunity to inspect their ear canal and detect any health issues, such as redness, swelling, or discharge, early on.
  • Easing grooming: A gentle ear cleaner can make the grooming process easier and less stressful for your pet, reducing the risk of injury or discomfort.
  • Preventing bad odor: Keeping your pet’s ears clean can help prevent bad odors and keep them smelling fresh.

Having an ear cleaner specifically designed for dogs can help you provide comprehensive care for your pet’s ears and maintain their overall health and comfort.

Nail Clippers:

Nail clippers maintain paw health. Regularly trimmed nails help prevent injury and discomfort for your pet, as overgrown nails can cause pain or even get caught on things, leading to injury.

  • Preventing scratching: Trimming your pet’s nails can help reduce the chances of them accidentally scratching themselves, other pets, or people.
  • Easing the grooming process: Having a good set of nail clippers can make the nail trimming process easier and less stressful for both you and your pet.
  • Promoting good behavior: Trimming your pet’s nails can help prevent destructive behaviors, such as excessive scratching of furniture or other household items.

Having a quality set of nail clippers specifically designed for dogs is an important part of your pet’s overall grooming routine and can help maintain their paw health.

Happy Hoodie:

Pet owners often complain that their dog’s do not like the dryer. Happy Hoodie was created as a grooming tool with a swaddling effect to calm and protect dogs from the loud noise and high-pressured air associated with force drying. It creates a safer environment by calming upset, disagreeable, aggressive, or sensitive dogs during any potentially stressful situation, such as toenail clipping, clipper work, brushing, bathing, etc. Noise reduction is achieved by Happy Hoodie’s gentle compression closing off the ear canal. It is also recommended by vets to help prevent or heal hematomas, and to help control bleeding; aerate the ears to speed up recovery of an ear infection; keep medication from being shaken out of ears; post-surgery ear protection. They’re easy to use and clean; machine washable and comes in three sizes to accommodate most dog breeds.

Happy Hoodie
Happy Hoodie

High Velocity Dryer

Using a high velocity dryer when drying your dog can help to quickly remove excess water and increase the drying speed, as well as fluffing the fur and removing tangles. Additionally, it can help to reduce the amount of time your dog spends wet, which can reduce the risk of skin irritations and infections. The air temperature is not too hot, as overheating can cause discomfort or harm to your dog.

These three are the highly most used and recommended HV dryers:

K9III Variable Speed Dryers
K9III Variable Speed Dryers
Metro Vac Air Force Master Blaster
Metro Vac Air Force Master Blaster

Grooming Table

An appropriately sized professional grooming table will help reduce back strain for the groomer. It also provides a secure, stable grooming environment for the dog. The advantage of a grooming table is that they contain a grooming loop (noose) that goes over your dog’s head and holds him in place safely. Grooming tables provide no-slip surfaces that are easy to sanitize by just wiping them down afterward, and confine the mess of hair in one easy-to-clean area.

There are a range of tables to suit every need, from small to large, electric lift and hydraulic.

Learn how to make your own professional hydraulic dog grooming table.

DYI Hydraulic Dog Grooming Table
DYI Hydraulic Dog Grooming Table


The right grooming scissors get the job done effectively and safely.

  • Straight Shears
    • Do the bulk of the work
    • Evenly cut large expanses of coat
  • Curved Shears
    • Dogs are built of curves and contours
    • These scissors have a rounded blade and leave no angle lines
    • These are precise and used to shape the coat, faces and feet
  • Thinning Shears
    • These are used to debulk and thin and blend out thick fur without cutting the length
    • Perfect for shaping, blending, and finishing work
  • Blender/Chunkers
    • These are used for a more aesthetic purpose; to make fur look more natural after you’re finished trimming the hair
    • The perfect tool for finishing, texturizing, and blending scissor marks while preventing hand and wrist fatigue
Kenchii Scorpion 4 Piece Set
Get all the shears you need with this Kenchii Scorpion 4 Piece Set

Dog Grooming Caddy

Having a grooming caddy for all your dog grooming tools can help keep your tools organized, protect them from damage, and improve the efficiency and convenience of your pet’s grooming routine.

A grooming caddy keeps all your tools organized and in one place, reducing the time and effort required to find the right tool for the job.

A caddy allows you to carry all your tools with you, making it easier to groom your pet wherever you are.

A caddy helps protect your tools from damage and reduces the chances of losing or dropping them.

Having all your tools in one place can help improve the efficiency of your grooming routine, allowing you to provide comprehensive care for your pet in a timely and organized manner.

For The Groomer: Grooming Accessories

Ear protection, eye safety, and mask

Wearing ear protection, eye safety glasses, and a mask during dog grooming can help protect your hearing, eyes, and respiratory system (groomer’s lung) from harm, improve your comfort during the grooming process, and ensure your overall safety and well-being.

  • Hearing protection: Some dog grooming tools, such as clippers and HV dryers, can produce loud noises that can harm your hearing. Wearing earplugs can help protect your hearing and prevent damage.
  • Eye protection: Certain dog grooming activities, such as brushing, drying, and trimming, can generate debris and particles that can irritate or harm your eyes. 
  • Respiratory protection (Groomer’s Lung): Grooming your dog can generate dust, dander, and other particles that can irritate your respiratory system. Wearing a mask can help protect your respiratory system from these particles.

Improving comfort: Wearing earplugs, eye safety glasses, and a mask can make the grooming process more comfortable for you, reducing the risk of distraction or discomfort during the grooming process.

Ensuring safety: Protecting your hearing, eyes, and respiratory system is important for your overall safety and well-being.

Grooming gloves

Grooming gloves should be worn when bathing a dog to reduce contact dermatitis. Gloves also help protect your hands from cuts, scrapes, and other injuries, while preventing the spread of disease or infection.

WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector with Bluetooth Wireless Technology
WorkTunes Connect Hearing Protector with Bluetooth Wireless Technology

A grooming smock helps protect your clothing from hair, water, and other grooming materials, keeping you clean and comfortable during the grooming process.

A shop vac is a powerful and efficient tool. Having a versatile wet/dry shop vac in a grooming salon can help keep the grooming area clean and hygienic, improve air quality, and reduce allergens, making it a valuable tool for maintaining a safe and healthy environment for pets and their owners.

The Hidden Costs of Grooming

Tool Maintenance

After investing in professional tools for dog grooming, it’s important to treat them well. Most tools should and will last you a life time, if you’re kind to them. Many pet owners request for “new clipper recommendations” or continue to buy new blades and shears when they are lacking one thing: professional sharpening services.

Shear & Tool Sharpener

  • Blades get dull and need sharpened regularly
  • Shears get dull and need sharpened regularly
  • Shears get dropped and become unaligned and require a re-alignment
  • Clippers require regular maintenance and drive changes

Additional Supplies

  • Muzzle
  • Poop Bags
  • Disinfectant
  • Laundry container
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Mop and bucket

Proper knowledge and training on how to safely and effectively groom a dog

Proper knowledge and training in dog grooming, including anatomy, handling skills and first aid, is essential to ensure the safety and well-being of your dog during your grooming process. Incorrect restraint of your dog, handling or use of grooming tools can cause injury to your dog, leading to stress, pain, and even long-term health problems. Proper training can also help you to identify any underlying health issues in the dog and seek appropriate care. To provide high-quality grooming services and to ensure the comfort and safety of your dog, it is important to obtain proper knowledge and training in dog grooming.

With this professional guide, you’re off to a great start  to provide top-notch grooming!

Synergistically Yours,


Sheepdog Riggs, Forever in Our hearts

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