Top tips for grooming your pet
January 10, 2019 07:59
We all like to step into the new year feeling fresh and rejuvenated and so too should our pets. Now is the perfect time to learn more about grooming your pet. Grooming is not only about helping your cat or dog look good – it’s also an essential part of pet health care.
Why is grooming your pet so important?
Grooming your pet improves your pet’s condition and hygiene. It helps to ensure your cat or dog's coat and skin are healthy and that any nooks and crannies are clean, thereby preventing any nasty infections. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding opportunity for you and your pet and a chance to really consider your pet’s health and well-being.
Tips on washing your pet
How often should you wash your pet?
Generally speaking, if your cat or dog has an odour or has been out and about playing in the dirt and it feels like he or she needs a bath, then it's probably time! This can be every month for some dogs, or a few times a year for a cat – it shouldn’t be too often as this can affect the skin’s natural oils and condition.
When should you start washing your pet?
Ideally, you should start washing your pet when they are a kitten or puppy so that they get used to it from an early age. If an older pet has joined your family or you are new to bathing your pet, then patience, a sense of humour and a lot of praise and healthy treats are the name of the game. Choose a place to wash your pet where they are most comfortable – this may even be in a large bath or tub outside.
What shampoo should you use on your pet?
You shouldn't use just any shampoo on your cat or dog. Your pet’s skin is sensitive and their needs are different. There is a wide range of shampoos available that will clean, soothe and nourish the skin and cater for any of their specific needs.If your pet doesn't enjoy a bath, there are some products on the market that don’t even require water! Just remember though to keep all shampoos away from your pet’s eyes and be sure to massage, rinse thoroughly and dry them off.
Our recommended pet shampoos:
- Ricky Litchfield Skin Soothing Shampoo (for dogs)
- Vets Own Detangling Shampoo (for cats and dogs)
- Kyron Purl Fresh Foam Shampoo – to be used without water (for cats and dogs):
- See our full range of pet shampoos and pet conditioners.
As always, speak to your vet if you are worried about your pet’s skin condition.
Check your pet's paws and nails
When grooming your pet, check there are no thorns or any stubborn dirt lodged in their paws which could lead to other problems.
If your dog’s nails seem too long, then you can also give them but we recommend chatting to your vet before you do so. It can be quite technical, painful or require particular clippers. A pet’s 'claw' has blood vessels known as the 'quick' so you need to know how to avoid this area. If you know your stuff, use a smooth action or cut a little at a time. We recommend the Mikki Nail Clippers.
You may well find that your pet’s nails stay the perfect length – exercise keeps them in check!
Don't forget about their ears
As with all grooming – there is definitely such a thing as over-doing it! You don’t need to clean your pet’s ears often but you do need to be aware that ears can often become infected (dogs have deep ear canals and they are warm and dark – the perfect place for breeding bacteria). Your vet will give your pet’s ears a quick check and can advise you on how best to clean your pet’s ears at home when required.
Always look for signs that your pet’s ears are irritating him or her (do they rub them often?) or if there is any fluid seeping out. A bad odour coming from the ear can also be a sign of an infection or an ear that needs to be cleaned. A healthy ear should be pink with a little clear/yellowish wax.
There are many ear cleansers on the market that can help cleanse the area and relieve irritation. It is also really important to keep their ears dry after a bath or a swim.
Our recommended products for ear cleaning:
- Ricky Litchfield Ear Smart Spra
- Feiner LABSOtosol Ear Drops
- Cipla Vet Oticlear Ear Cleansing (for dogs and cats)
Keep your pets' eyes clear and stain-free
Light haired dogs and cats often get dark streaks under or in the corner of their eyes. You can gently wipe this away with cotton wool and a pet-friendly eye solution or special wipes.
Tips on brushing teeth
Dental problems are one of the most common problems vets see and one that can have serious implications. The good news is that any dental problems are almost entirely preventable if a good routine is established from the time your pet is a puppy or kitten. However, it’s never to late to start.
Toothpaste and toothbrushes for pets
Get your pets used to toothpaste and a toothbrush. There are lots of good products available including brushes for little mouths and long-handled brushes for dogs with longer snouts. Brush often, ideally daily, to help remove any plaque.
If you are struggling to get them used this you can start off by just massaging around the mouth area until they are more comfortable with you touching their mouth.
Helpful treats and chews
Rawhide chews and a range of harder treats for both cats and dogs also prevent plaque build-up.
We recommend that pets have their teeth professionally scaled and polished annually, from 1–3 years of age, to remove existing tartar. It's advisable to steer clear of bones that can result in tooth fractures, sharp hooves which can damage gums and felt-covered balls which can cause excessive wear of the tooth's enamel.
Brush and deshed regularly
The benefits of brushing and deshedding:
Regularly brushing your pet’s coat is good for blood circulation and essential for good coat condition. It removes dead skin cells, aerates the coat and unclogs pores. For long-haired dogs, de-shedding helps to prevent mats which can be painful, difficult to remove and can lead to infections; for cats, grooming prevents hairballs.
How often should you brush your pet?
For home grooming, we suggest daily brushing for long-haired pets and for more short-haired breeds, weekly. For long-haired pets, a monthly trip to the Pet Spa is highly recommended – a good pet spa will also be able to trim your pet's coat beautifully. First prize is to get your cat or dog used to regular brushing from a very early age. Start by brushing slowly in the same direction in which their hair grows.
Our recommended brushes and de-shedding products:
- Olly & Max Silicone Brush (for cats and dogs)
- CatIt Senses Self Groomer (for cats – a catnip brush that allows your cat to self-groom and brush).
- See our full range of brushes and de-shedders.
Ask the professionals
Regular, even weekly, grooming is a great way of picking up any problems early and keeping your pet in top condition. We highly recommend visiting a professional groomer (find an Absolute Pets Pet Spa near you). It’s also wise to chat to your vet about your pet’s grooming requirements.