Grooming may seem like a low priority for many busy pet owners, but in actual fact, it is a vitally important element of caring for your pet. This is because grooming doesn’t only keep your pet clean, it also ensures that he is healthy. It can even be used to detect some health conditions.
Many aspects of grooming can be undertaken at home. Nevertheless, some owners prefer to leave the trickiest or even all of their pet’s grooming requirements to a professional. These are trained and experienced individuals working alone or as part of a grooming service that can give your pet a truly thorough grooming session.
Whether you choose to groom your pet yourself or you decide to entrust him to the care of a professional, if you haven’t considered grooming before, you probably wonder what is involved. Let’s find out.
Pets need to be bathed too, although it isn’t necessary for them to have baths anywhere near as often as we do. In fact, over bathing can actually dry out your pet’s skin and cause irritation. For this reason, unless your pet has a skin condition that specifies regular bathing has part of his treatment, or he has been outside and rolled in something unpleasant, a bath once-a-month is usually sufficient.
Bathing has a number of benefits including cleaning the skin and coat, removing any dead skin, hair and scales and leaving your pet feeling refreshed. Not all animals enjoy being bathed, but professional groomers tend to know the best ways to help relax and calm them so that they can tolerate the process. Your groomer will also be able to advise which shampoo is most suited to your pet’s coat and skin type.
Your pet’s coat is extremely important. It serves to keep your pet both warm in winter and cool in summer and the condition of his coat can actually provide your vet with information about the health of your furbaby. Regular brushing is essential to keep your pet’s coat free of tangles and matting and to remove loose hair, skin and other debris. Exactly how often your pet will need to be brushed will depend on the length and thickness of his coats and unsurprisingly, long-haired animals need much more attention than short-haired varieties.
In addition to stimulating natural oils and keeping your pet’s coat healthy, brushing also gives you the perfect opportunity to check your pet’s coat for signs of external parasites such as fleas and ticks which can often be spotted.
As well as brushing, some pets may need their coat rimmed from time to time. Your vet can show you how to trim your pet’s hair safely, but many owners still prefer to entrust this aspect of grooming to an experienced professional. Common body areas that may need regular trimming include:
Around the eyes, which can potentially cause irritation or obscure vision
Around the anus, which could trap feces and cause your pet to become unclean and infections to develop
Around the chin and lower jaw, that may trap food and debris and can help prevent lip and chin fold infections
Any areas that have become matted or tangled
Trimming can also keep your pet looking sharp – something which is nice for all animals irrespective of their age or breed.
Your pet’s nails are important for helping him to grip and walk. This is something that is particularly important when they are running and/or climbing. If his claws become too long, they could curve round into his paws and become painful or infected. While adequate daily exercise should help to wear his nails down, sometimes it is necessary to have them trimmed too. Again, this is something that can be done at home but that many owners prefer to leave to a professional.
Our pet’s ears are as sensitive as our own, and this means that they are also prone to problems. Keeping the ears clean can help reduce the likelihood of an infection or other health problem, as well as letting you check for a common aural parasite known as ear mites. If you notice redness, swelling, discharge or a foul odor from the ear, we recommend that you leave his ears alone and arrange to get them checked by your vet.
Cleaning your pet’s ears is a fairly simple process. Like your own ears, it is important not to put anything into the ear canal itself. Instead, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down the visible parts of his ear. If you notice any small white dots moving around some ear discharge, these are likely to be ear mites and you will need to visit your vet to get your pet treated.
Regular brushing at home is advocated for the dental health of any pet. This helps to remove any bacteria and food debris before it has the chance to cause damage to your pet’s teeth and gums. Periodontal disease is a significant concern for cats and dogs, with around 70% of them experiencing symptoms by the time they reach three years old. Many professional groomers also offer dental cleanings as part of their service.
If you would like more information on what is involved in pet grooming, our experienced veterinary team would be happy to help. Please contact our animal hospital in Shawnee, KS today to schedule your pet’s appointment.