Grooming your pet is about more than maintaining their good looks and appearance; proper hair hygiene is essential to their physical health and overall well-being.
Blackshear Veterinary Hospital is here to help Cordele pet owners understand why pets need regular grooming and how to do it safely, properly, and effectively.
Let’s get started!
Like humans, animals require good hygiene to help lower their risk of disease and illness. But for pets, grooming removes dead, unwanted hair and prevents their coats from matting, tangling, and accumulating bacteria, dirt, pollen, and other debris.
Brushing, in particular, also helps to distribute oil for a healthier coat. It ventilates your pet’s skin, reducing grease levels and preventing clogged pores.
Make brushing part of your pet’s weekly hygiene regimen. Brush their coat every couple of days, no matter how long or short their hair is. Familiarize your pet with their hairbrush and let them smell and observe it. Provide them with treats and use a soothing voice to keep them calm. This can make for great bonding time between you and your pet.
Most standard dog brushes will suffice; but if your dog has a thick or matted coat, you may want to use a shedding blade. There are benefits to professional grooming services; your pet’s groomer will be able to handle larger breeds and better spot abnormalities or signs of disease on their skin.
Cats usually require a bath every four to six weeks, while dogs need a bath every couple of months. Frequent bathing can strip the natural oil from their coats, resulting in dry skin and brittle hair.
However, if you have a dog who enjoys rolling around in the mud or a cat that ventures outside for hours at a time, you may find it necessary to bathe them more often. Use only animal-safe shampoo products at bath time that are specifically made for dogs or cats. These shampoos won’t contain the harsh, irritating chemicals that are often found in human products.
When bathing your dog or cat, use lukewarm water, lather up their coat, and rinse thoroughly. Avoid coming into direct contact with their ears, eyes, and mouth.
Post-bath is a good time to clean your animal’s ears, but make it a point to clean your pet’s ears more frequently (at least once every 1-2 weeks). Preventing dirt buildup in the ears can reduce their risk for infection, and it also provides an opportunity to check their ears for signs of mites, fleas, and other problems. Your veterinary team can provide an ear cleaning solution, which you should apply with a cotton ball.
Nails & Feet
They’re easy to overlook, but it’s important to pay close attention to your pet’s paws or claws. Allowing their nails to grow too long can cause your pet discomfort and pain. It also increases their risk of broken toes and other injuries.
Monitor your pet’s feet on a daily basis for any debris that may be caught in between their toes. You should also monitor their nails and trim them every couple of weeks. Make sure you trim the hair around their toes, as well.
A lot of dogs and cats dislike having their feet touched or their nails clipped. By familiarizing them with the sound and smell of their clippers (and providing them with treats at the same time), you can normalize this grooming technique into their weekly hygiene routine.
Start small and slow. You may only be able to trim one or two toes at a time. You can save the remaining toes for the following day. While trimming their nails, use a soothing voice to calm them and provide them with their favorite toy or treats.
Don’t forget to brush your dog or cat’s teeth!
Make sure to regularly brush your pet’s teeth with warm water or pet-friendly toothpaste (human toothpaste is toxic to animals!) In between dental checkups at the veterinarian, you can provide your dog or cat with tooth-friendly treats that naturally brush their teeth and remove plaque and tartar.
A Clean, Groomed Pet Is a Healthy Pet
Pets need regular grooming to promote healthier and happier well-being, but sometimes pet owners need a little extra assistance when it comes to getting their four-legged companions to cooperate and feel comfortable during a grooming session.
Contact Blackshear Veterinary Hospital to schedule your pet for a grooming appointment or checkup!