Grooming is an excellent time to bond with your cat or dog. It is also an opportunity to monitor their physical health as well as appearance.
Daily or weekly grooming allows you to check your pet’s skin for abnormal growths, fleas, ticks, dryness and skin irritations. Brushing stimulates the natural oils in their coat and gives it a healthy shine. When brushing, don’t forget to check their ears, eyes and nails to alleviate problems before they become more serious. Belly rubs and treats keep it fun for Fido!
It is never too early to start the grooming process. If your pet is uncomfortable about being brushed, start when he or she is tired and relaxed. Try beginning with a gentle massage, or start by softly brushing them when they are sleeping. Keep sessions short and speak to your pet in a soft, reassuring voice.
Short-coated breeds need a grooming glove or a bristle brush, while double coated breeds like the German shepherd or husky benefit from a slicker brush or undercoat rake. If you have a long-haired breed, you’ll need a slicker, comb and pin brush.
Start by brushing the hair in the opposite direction it grows. This will help remove dead hair, undercoat, dandruff and dirt. Follow by brushing in the direction of growth. Mats can be broken up by pulling the tip of your comb gently through the mat to break it up and make it easier to brush out. Once your pet is mat free you can start the bathing process.
Bathing a dog with mats sets the mats and makes them difficult to get out. If your pet is very matted and you are having difficulty, consider taking them to a professional groomer. It may be necessary to cut the hair short then maintain the coat as it grows out. Pulling and tugging on tangles and mats is painful and should be avoided. If your breed of pet requires haircuts, scheduling every six to eight weeks helps to maintain a tidy appearance and minimize matting. Make sure you find a groomer who is kind, gentle and has your pet’s safety and comfort in mind so it is a positive experience for everyone.
Dogs can be very sensitive about their paws and make nail cutting a bit challenging sometimes. Get your pet accustomed to having its feet handled before attempting to trim the nails. There are several styles of nail trimmers, as well and grinders that sand the nail tip. All work well, so select the tool that makes you and your pet most comfortable. If you cut the nails too far back you will cut the quick and they will bleed. To stop them from bleeding apply styptic powder and if you don’t have any on hand, cornstarch or flour will help. Just tip the nails every week or two and the quick will recede, giving you a nice short nail. Lots of praise and treats will make the experience more tolerable.
If the nails are still a battle or you just don’t like doing them, any vet or grooming salon will do the job for you.
Grooming your pet takes patience, a good attitude, the right tools and a relaxed pet. Eventually the process will be something you can both look forward to.
This article was provided by Cobber’s Pet Pantry, 1415 Blake St. in Enumclaw. The shop can be reached at 360-825-7387. Website: cobberspetpantry.com.