Groom and Go: Our Favorite Portable Dog Trimming, Brushing, and Cleaning Tools

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Your dog never looks or smells better than right after a bath or a trip to the groomer. Dogs will be dogs, however, and that cute clip and fresh scent will only last so long. That timeline seems especially short when you have an adventurous pet. Whether you’re on a road trip, taking a hike, or visiting the dog park, a full bath just isn’t always practical. We love these convenient tools for grooming on the go, so your dogs can still freshen up, no matter where you are.

Portable Paw Cleaners

More often than not, your dog’s paws are the only thing truly in need of a wash, but you don’t need a whole tub for that. Paw cleaners are a handy and effective alternative to clean your dog’s paws on the go. You simply fill the cleaner with warm water, insert your dog’s paw, and twist it a few times. The built-in bristles get between your dog’s toes and paw pads to remove mud, dirt, and other irritants from their feet, nails, and fur.

Before you use the cleaner, be sure to check your dog’s paws for cuts, thorns, rocks, and anything else that could cause them pain. And keep a towel handy to wipe off your dog’s freshly cleaned feet when you’re done. We like the Bone Dry Paw Print Microfiber towel. It has excellent drying capabilities, and the cute embroidered paw print means that will be no mistaking it for a hotel towel.

For paw cleaners, we’re big fans of the Paw Plunger, which comes in three sizes and looks like a coffee cup with a convenient handle on the side. There’s also the Idepet Dog Paw Cleaner Cup, a two-in-one paw cleaner that also works as a grooming mitt when you flip it inside out. But you really can’t go wrong with the Dexas Mudbuster. This simple, tumbler-style paw cleaner comes in three sizes and a range of bright colors. Plus, it has around 30,000 five-star reviews.

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Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Grooming Wipes

Grooming wipes are a quick, easy alternative to bath time when all your dog needs is a quick refresh. They won’t provide as deep of a clean as a paw cleaner, but they’re perfect for quickly removing dirt and dust from your dog’s paws. Even better, they can be used for a full-body wipe down, clearing away any sand, dirt, or pollen on your dog’s hair—before they get into the car.

Dog grooming wipes come in several varieties, and you may need more than one to complete your portable grooming kit. Whatever you choose, just be sure to read the labels and follow all instructions. Most wipes should be kept away from your dog’s eyes, and some may not be appropriate for use on puppies.

Ear wipes are designed to gently clean, deodorize, and dry your dog’s ears to keep ear infections at bay and reduce wax buildup. Pet MD’s Medicated Ear Wipes are enhanced with eucalyptus and aloe vera to relieve itching and irritation while also combating bacteria. Douxo S3 PYO Antiseptic and Antifungal Wipes are another medicated option that can be used anywhere on your dog’s body. They are essential for dogs prone to fungal and other infections, especially when a full medicated bath isn’t possible.

For general all-over cleaning, Arm & Hammer Heavy Duty Bathing Wipes contain baking soda and come in a fresh mango scent to deodorize even the stinkiest dog between baths. An earth-friendly and hypoallergenic alternative is the top-rated Pogi’s Grooming Wipes. Bamboo-based, generously sized, and soft, they also contain soothing ingredients like aloe vera and vitamin E.

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Waterless Shampoos

When you don’t have access to a bathtub or sink, a no-rinse cleanser is just what you need. Just like human dry shampoos, waterless dog shampoos are an excellent in-between option to refresh the hair by soaking up excess dirts and oils.

Waterless shampoos are quick, convenient, and easy to use. Just spray the product over your dog’s hair as directed, let it sit, and watch the grease, odors, and dirt disappear from your dog’s hair (with a little brushing, of course). As with grooming wipes, you’ll want to keep waterless shampoos out of your dog’s eyes. And be sure to read the instructions thoroughly; products will vary in how they’re applied, how long to leave them on, and whether brushing is a necessary final step to a clean dog.

This Bodhi Dog Waterless Shampoo uses natural ingredients to absorb odors and condition your dog’s fur. It comes in two sizes and three scents: lavender, lemongrass, and oatmeal & apple. If your dog could use a little scrubbing with their no-rinse bath session, the Scrubby Instant Bath Mittens might do the trick.

For a hypoallergenic option, try the Nootie Waterless Foaming Dog Shampoo. The gentle, no-rinse formula is soap- and paraben-free and contains soothing aloe vera and oatmeal. Just massage the foam into your dog’s hair, then rub them down with a towel like the Pride & Groom Microfiber Hand Towel.

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Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

Travel Showers

Some days—and some dogs—require a bit more than all the waterless shampoos, wipes, and paw cleaners in the world can offer. When only a rinse will do, a travel shower comes in handy. Portable dog showers take bath time with you. They range from complicated setups with built-in reservoirs to nozzles that fit in your pocket, so there’s an option for every budget, every trip, and every style of travel.

The Ivation Portable Dog Shower is little more than a handheld shower head and a hose, but it turns any body of water into a bathtub. Just drop the end of the hose into a bucket or a lake, and the battery-powered pump will push that water through the shower head as a gentle spray. If you have access to a hose, the Aquapaw Pro Grooming Tool is a handy scrubber and shower head in one, with an easy on-off button and two speed settings (be sure to check out our full review of the Aquapaw here).

For the minimalists, the Kurgo Mud Dog Travel Shower might be just enough for on-the-go cleaning. It’s is one of many essential and practical outdoor supplies Kurgo makes for dog owners who love to adventure with their pets. Simply attach the shower head to a plastic bottle filled with water, squeeze, and voila—outdoor shower.

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Combs, Brushes, and Clippers

You can’t stop your pet from shedding and, for some pets, the stress of travel can send shedding into overdrive. A dog brush is an essential part of your on-the-go grooming kit.

There are brushes out there for every type of dog and every type of dog hair. Brushes don’t usually take up a lot of space, so it’s often best to use the same type of dog brush when you travel as you do at home. However, we also love the convenience of this Hartz Groomer’s Best Combo Dog Brush. It’s double-sided, with stainless steel bristles on one side (with rounded safety tips) and dense nylon bristles on the other. You can work through mats and detangle your pet’s coat and smooth and soften their fur for maximum sleekness and shine all at once with this ideal on-the-go tool.

If you really want to travel prepared (and you have some extra room in your suitcase or car), the Neabot P1 Pro Pet Grooming Kit & Vacuum works as five tools in one. The small vacuum comes with attachments to brush, trim, and clean your dog’s hair as you groom them. Plus, its portable size is perfect for cleaning dog hair from your car, hotel room, and clothes while you’re on the road.

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Photo by Andrew Pons on Unsplash

Nail Trimmers

Nail trimming is an essential part of pet grooming, and your pet’s nails don’t stop growing just because you’re traveling. A pet nail grinder is a quick and easy solution for nail grooming on the go. It is compact, easy to carry, and works for a variety of nail sizes.

The Dremel Cordless Dog & Cat Rotary Nail Grinder is a lightweight, rechargeable option to keep your dog’s nails trimmed while you’re on the road. It has two speeds and comes with several sanding drums to get you started. You can find our full review of the Dremel Nail Grinder here.

If your dog prefers nail clippers, the Mighty Paw Dog Nail Clippers offer two convenient tools in one. The blades are stainless steel for a sharp, quick cut, and an integrated nail file stores in the handle to smooth out newly trimmed nails. Plus, a safety guard prevents you from trimming your dog’s nails too short.

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A Travel Tote to Organize Your Grooming Gear

By now you’ve probably gathered quite the collection of on-the-go grooming supplies. Keep them all together in a handy carrier like this Wahl Professional Animal Travel & Tote Bag. It has plenty of room for all of your travel grooming tools, comes with an adjustable 45-inch shoulder strap, and features in a cute paw print design on durable and easy-to-clean polyester.

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Further Reading

  • Top 10 Best Dog Towels for Wet Fur and Muddy Paws
  • 7 Dog Grooming Hacks to Save Time and Money
  • The Best Professional Pet Grooming Supplies You Can Use at Home

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