Regardless of breed, regular pet grooming is essential to your pet's overall health and well-being. Owners need to regularly groom their pets to prevent parasite infestation and keep their coats smooth and shiny.
You should also check for skin problems such as hot spots, rashes, and bald patches. It's recommended to take your pet to a professional groomer about once every one to two months.
However, you can groom your pet at home as well. Follow our nine pet grooming tips to keep your pets healthy and comfortable.
9 Pet Grooming Tips to Keep Your Dogs and Cats Clean and Healthy
There are plenty of aspects to the grooming process, such as bathing, trimming, and cleaning your pet!
1. Bathe Your Dog
Dogs should be bathed regularly to keep their skin and coat healthy. Since cats clean themselves, they usually don't need any bathing. Follow these steps to give your dog a bath:
- Place your dog into the tub.
- Wet your dog with warm water and begin applying shampoo.
- After rinsing, apply conditioner and leave it on for several minutes.
- Rinse well. Use a dog-specific air-dryer or towel to dry off after the dog grooming session.
Bathing will keep their coat shiny and remove unwanted odours from their skin. Do not use human shampoo or soap on your pets as they can contain ingredients that are harmful to your pet. Don't forget to clean their belly, their tail, behind the ears and under the arms and legs.
2. Trim Their Hair Carefully
In between grooming appointments, you should trim the excess hair around your pet's mouth, paws and eyes (for long-haired dogs). This is essential to prevent hair from obstructing their vision or causing any irritation.
Be careful when trimming around their face since your pet may be hyperactive. Also, trim the hair inside the ears to prevent any dirt or other particles from accumulating.
Trim your pet's hair at least every 2 months and you might need to secure your pet to prevent them from moving about. Have them sit in your lap and hold them gently between your knees with their face facing away from you. Hold their muzzle if you're cutting the hair on their face. Do not wet your pet's fur while trimming. Comb your pet's fur to get rid of mats.
If you're using scissors, only use the tips to prevent yourself from accidentally cutting your pet if they make a sudden movement. Start with the most important areas in case your pet gets restless before you can finish grooming.
Do not cut too near to your pet's skin and work your way from the front to the back. Be especially careful with the ears and place your hand on the edges of the ears so you can make sure you're not cutting their skin by accident.
3. Cut Their Nails
If you hear clicking noises on the floors when your dog walks, that may be a sign that you need to cut your dog's nails. Nails should be trimmed and filed every three to four weeks.
Gently place your thumb on the pad of their paws and hold their paw firmly. Make sure to clip their nails straight across, including the dewclaws that are located on the inner side of the paw. Avoid cutting the nails too short by going past the curve of the nail.
An overgrown nail can get caught on fabric, causing it to bleed and cause paw infections. Make nail trimming an enjoyable experience by giving them treats and lots of praises.
If you ever cut a nail too short, you should apply a cold compress, followed by a styptic powder to prevent infection and stop the bleeding.
4. Clean Around Their Eyes
Usually, you only have to clean your pets' eyes with every monthly bath unless they have an infection. Some pets tend to have excess eye discharge which will require more frequent cleaning.
Tears will cause the corners of the eyes to get crusty. Wipe them off with a cotton ball and warm water. If their eyes seem irritated or reddish, it may be a symptom of conjunctivitis, and you should contact your veterinarian.
5. Check Their Ears
Ideally, you want to clean your pet's ears about once a month. You can purchase an ear cleaner from your vet or groomer. Squeeze a drop of the solution inside the ear along with the canal, base, and ear flaps.
6. Brush Your Pet Regularly
Brushing your dog or cat is incredibly important to prevent matting. Matting is a condition caused by dense knots and tangles. It can be extremely painful since it cuts off the airflow and traps moisture.
Long-haired or double-coated dogs such as Collies or Golden Retrievers should be brushed daily, while short-haired dogs can be brushed once every two weeks. Brushing also helps prevent fleas, dander, dirt, grass seeds, and ticks from growing inside your dog's fur.
First, use a metal comb to loosen your pet's dead hair working from their head towards the tail. With a bristle brush, get rid of the dead hair on your pet.
When brushing your dog's coat, it helps spread the natural oils all-around their coat and removes dirt from their skin. The shorter your pet's hair is, the less frequently they will need brushing.
7. Brush Your Pet's Teeth
Just like humans, cats and dogs require dental care. Otherwise, poor dental health can result in tartar buildup, periodontal disease, and gingivitis. Periodically check for any plaque buildup in their teeth and gums. Before the yearly checkup, you can brush them every two weeks.
Make sure that you buy toothpaste that is formulated for pets. Sometimes you can give your dog dental treats or raw bones to avoid tartar buildup.
You may want to start off by giving your pet a small sample of the toothpaste so they can get familiar with the taste. Lift their lip so that the outside surfaces of your dog's teeth can be exposed and you can start brushing with gentle motions.
Most pets will not let you brush the inside surfaces of their tooth so focus on the outside surfaces. Don't forget their canines and molars in the back where tartar can build up easily. Rewarding your pet with their favourite activity after brushing can also help your pet associate the experience with something positive.
8. Choose the Right Accessories
It's important to choose the right accessories when grooming your dog or cat at home that are specially made for the needs of your pet. For example, since dogs don't have sweat glands and a dog's skin isn't as acidic as humans, regular human shampoo can make dogs vulnerable to bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
To prevent your dog's skin and coat from becoming dry and flaky, you should opt for a shampoo formulated for dogs and use natural ingredients such as oatmeal, aloe vera, vitamins, and citrus extracts, and herbal proteins when bathing your dog.
Here are some other pet accessories that you might need for your pet.
- Pet brush or comb that fits into your hand well, effectively maintains your pet's fur shine while removing dirt, and adds a slight massaging effect
- Dental micro fleece to remove plaque and deposits
- Dog shampoos and conditioners to cleanse your pet's coat and skin
- Ear cleaners and ear gel that gently loosens ear wax and reduces unpleasant smell from your pets' ears
- Dental care product such as a pet toothpaste that cleans teeth and gums
- Eyecare that gently removes crusts and dirt from your pets' eye area while being gentle on their skin
9. Make Their Grooming Session More Enjoyable
Puppies and kittens need more encouragement when first introducing them to grooming. It's a good idea to slip them some treats and praise them, so they enjoy grooming.
Here are some common behavioural difficulties during pet grooming and how you can overcome them.
Aggression: Some pets could bite or scratch during grooming.
Noise: Other pets will display their fear and anger by making noise. This includes loud meows, yowling, barking, whining, and howling.
Moving: Pets might also try to escape by wiggling or running away.
Follow these tips to manage your pet before and during grooming.
- Give them treats or gently massage them throughout the grooming.
- Give your dog commands such as stay, wait or stop. The tone of voice and commands will keep your dog focused.
- Make sure their needs are met. Ensure they have eaten and take them for a bathroom break before grooming.
These 9 pet grooming tips will keep your pets happy and healthy. However, knowing the steps to groom your pet properly isn't enough. You need to complement your pet grooming with high quality products that are gentle on your pet's skin and fur yet effective in cleansing so that your pet stays healthy.
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