Bichons require daily grooming and coat care as well as bathing and a haircut at least once a month. We brush our dogs daily and bathe them and do a sanitary trim twice a month and a full haircut once a month. Toenails are clipped weekly. It’s important to use the right products, including TOOLS and SOLUTIONS for the best coat and skin health. Harsh tools and products will make for a poor result and potentially unpleasant experience for your dog. We are happy to educate new puppy owners with the proper ways to groom their bichon. Our puppies get daily grooming and weekly bathing from the time they are about 4-5 weeks old until the time they go to their new homes. By then they should have learned that grooming is an enjoyable bonding experience with their pack leader. Our puppies get a shampoo sample and some basic grooming tools (combs and brush) in their going home swag bag.
Brushes and Combs
There are brushes we use for daily use and others we use for haircut days when we are bathing, blowing and brushing out before cutting hair. Here are most of the tools in our brushing and combing arsenal. Remember, always comb out after you brush out your bichon. All our puppies get a slicker brush and anti-static metal comb as part of their going home swag bag.
We use cat nail scissors for our puppies and larger dog clippers for our adult bichons. We also try to get the puppies used to a nail grinder before they go home. Don’t forget to have a blood clotter on hand. Our favorite brand is Clot It because it works super fast and is white (not yellow like most brands). All of our puppies go home with a free cat nail clipper. My favorite nail grinder is the one below with the pistol-like grip.
If you decide to try your hand at more extensive grooming like bathing, blowing and cutting hair, you will need to invest in those additional types of tools. Because we groom so many bichons, we have invested in higher end products and do not have some of those listed here. Here are basic tools a bichon home groomer might want to consider.
Most beginners can get by with a cordless clipper with a set of metal attachment combs and a basic set of scissors.
You can go broke impulsively buying expensive scissors thinking they will make you a better groomer. Start with a basic, inexpensive set that’s dirt cheap, but works well. That way if you decide you don’t want to continue grooming OR, if you drop them or they go dull, you can afford to replace the set. This is a decent starter set at a “throw away” price. The small yellow scissors are a “must have” for trimming around the eyes.
Then the blue “chunkers” are an amazing “eraser” to tip off any obvious lines you might have made during your grooming session.
Bathing and Drying
Most people with a single bichon might be able to get buy retrofitting their bathroom shower with a second spray arm for bathing the dog. We have a spare shower setup like this. In the summer we also use an outdoor dog bathtub. When it comes to blow drying, DO NOT USE A HOME BLOW DRYER. You need a high velocity dryer to blow the hair straight. We coach our new puppy owners how to do basic home grooming if they decide to give it a try.
Other Grooming Tools
Here are some other tools you may want to have handy for dematting and other grooming tasks.