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What's In a Dog Groomer's Toolkit?

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Along with the cost of education, groomers must also purchase their own tools. For those just starting out, a full kit can be difficult to acquire right off the bat. Higher quality blades and scissors can cost upwards of $50 apiece, and that doesn’t even include regular sharpening and repair!


If you’re thinking about going to school for dog grooming, here’s what you can expect to find in your toolkit.


Clipper Blades

Shaving is one of the most basic services a groomer will offer. Dogs have fur that grows along their paw pads and private areas that must be removed to prevent the collection of feces around the anus and matting between the toes.


A basic set of clippers will include...


  • #40 or #30, for cleaning mats out of paw pads
  • #10, for sanitary cleaning, facial shaving, and danger zones
  • #7, #5, #4, #3, to provide different length options
  • A full set of guard combs for long-haired breeds

Seasoned groomers will usually have a set of 3 to 5 of the same blade. It takes time to build your arsenal, so don’t feel too bad if you can’t afford more than a couple.


What Kind of Scissors Do Groomers Need?

Having the right scissors is crucial; they’re necessary for creating straight lines, blending, shaping the face, and for putting the finishing touches on a completed groom.


  • Curves, small and large for shaping the face and paws
  • Straights, small and large to create a visible line
  • Thinning shears for blending


If you want an extra professional touch, purchase a pair of curved blending shears as well.


Dogs Need Their Nails Trimmed, Too

You’d think that taking care of a dog’s nails would be an easy task, but it isn’t always so simple. Clipping doesn’t always get the job done, and is often how a dog gets “quicked.” In addition to a variety of sizes in clippers, you will also need…


  • An electric dremel. These awesome little power tools are extremely useful in rounding and smoothing the nail while getting it as short as possible.
  • Styptic powder, because accidents happen and the fact is that sometimes you will inevitably hit the tip of the vein. The styptic powder quickly clots the wound and stops the bleeding.

Most dogs don’t particularly enjoy having their nails done, so you might also consider purchasing a cone or muzzle if your salon doesn’t provide them.

Don't Forget Brushing!

Brushing out is necessary for nearly every single groom, but not every brush is made equal.


  • Curry brushes are designed for short-haired breeds that shed frequently. These rubber domes have soft, rounded silicone “bristles” that use friction to pull out the undercoat and loose fur that usually ends up all over your floor and carpet.

  • Slicker brushes are used on long-haired breeds such as Shih Tzus, Pomeranians, Australian Shepherds, and coats that tend to tangle.


  • A variety of combs to create balance, and a sleek finished product. Without combing, you’ll never get the clean, fresh haircut that you want to present to the pet parent.


Many groomers also use a variety of rakes and de-matting tools, but you should only refer to these items if you’ve had proper training on how to use them.

That's Not All...

Dogs are notorious for hair and wax buildup within their ears. To remedy this, groomers also keep ear cleaner, cotton balls, plucking powder, and forceps on hand. More groomers are leaning toward hand plucking the ears these days though, as forceps can be abrasive against a dog’s skin.


Cologne, finishing sprays, bows, and bandanas are also a part of the clean look and feel that owners are seeking, so be sure to include these things in your kit if your salon does not provide them. It also helps to keep quick-dry and detangling spray on hand for services that require a little extra care.


As you further your career you may find that you need to add other things to your collection, but these items are a great place to start.


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

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