Pet Grooming Basics From Bathing to Brushing


Grooming Your Dog and Cat

Owning a pet carries great responsibility and grooming is an important aspect of caring for your pet. Grooming best practices vary across breeds. Grooming can be a do-it-yourself endeavor, be sure to have the right tools, or you can leave grooming to a professional. Below are several grooming basics to keep in mind.

1.   Bathing

The ASPCA recommends that you bathe your pet every three months. However, if your dog or cat is outdoors frequently, you may need to bathe your pet more frequently. Most dogs are afraid of loud noises, so introduce the noisy hair dryer at an early age.

The first step to giving your pet a good bath is choosing the right tools. Shampoos and conditioners should be gentle in nature. It is a good idea to test them on the pet first (before buying a lifetime supply) to ensure that your pet does not experience an allergic reaction. If you prefer to make your own dog oatmeal shampoo check out this video about making budget friendly soap, and this video about organic bathing materials. Your vet or local pet store may also be able to recommend good brands or types for your particular pet.

Finally, don’t forget to clean the dogs ears. It is one of the finishing touches to grooming.

2.   Brushing

Brushing your pet prior to bathing is recommended to remove any dead hair or tangles. If you don’t know how to remove dead or tangled hair properly especially in long-haired pets check out this video resource. Choosing the correct comb based on your pet’s coat is important.

Three common types of brushes are:

  1. Bristle Brush – A universal style brush that can be used for all coat types.
  2. Wire Pin Brush – Best for long to medium breeds.
  3. Sticker Brush – A tool for getting through mats and tangles.

A note about shedding: Dealing with shedding can be frustrating and time-consuming. However, many effective remedies are available such as anti-shedding blades, vacuums, de-shedding shampoos and nutritional supplements. Your local pet store and your vet’s office will offer many options and online ordering may be a low cost option. Note:  Heaving shedding is common for some breeds.

3.   Clipping Nails

Clipping your pet’s nails is an important aspect of the grooming process, using tools such as clippers, grinders and scissors vary upon the breed and size of your pet. Online tutorials on this topic are abundant and can be a great resource for the first-timer. Often the biggest challenge with clipping your pet’s nails is getting your pet to sit still. If your pet is young, it a good idea to get it used to nail clipping as soon as possible. With larger pets, it may be wise to enlist the help of another person.

4.   Brushing Teeth

Clean teeth are a vital part of your pet’s grooming routine. A regular brushing routine that begins as early as possible and providing plenty of chew toys will help promote a healthy mouth for your pet. Special brush kits for your dog or cat are available at any pet store, or you can learn how to brush your dogs teeth, with homemade dog tooth paste. Also, check out this great homemade toothpaste recipe. If you need to develop cooperation when brushing your pet’s teeth, watch train your pet to cooperate by sitting still while at home. It is important to be familiar with the signs of oral disease such as bad breath, excessive drooling, inflamed gums, and tumors in the gums, cysts under the tongue or loose teeth. You should report any of these symptoms to the vet promptly.

Choosing a Professional

The choice to do it yourself or visit a professional groomer is a personal one and can depend on the requirements of your specific breed. To help you, watch take your pet with you to visit the groomers to get your pet acquainted with the staff, by Janet Tobiassen-Crosby, If you choose to employ an outside source, the imperative is to find a trustworthy, knowledgeable professional. To locate a qualified professional, ask your vet, seek recommendations from other pet owners or consult the National Dog Groomers Association of America.

Below are four questions to consider as you tour the facility for the first time:

1.   Is it well lit and clean?
2.   Are the cages adequate in size?
3.   Does the staff seem to be knowledgeable and caring with the animals?
4.   Are medical records kept on file, ensuring that all animals are up to date with vaccinations?

Grooming your pet is important to its overall well-being and can be an important way to monitor its health. Possible health issues, such as lumps, infections or skin issues, are often noticed when the owner or professional groomer is detailing the coat and nails of the animal. You should also consider what makes up proper grooming techniques for shaving, as well as the proper way to express pet’s anal glands, as they are an important part in proper pet grooming techniques.

Grooming does not have to be complicated or cumbersome once your pet gets used to it and you have all the correct tools. You and your pet can enjoy looking beautiful everyday.

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