Washing, clipping, brushing and tidying up – grooming can look like a lot of things for our pets, but it’s all a necessary part of keeping them clean and healthy.
But where should you start? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of grooming practices you can learn to do yourself. Here’s what you need to know to start confidently grooming your pet:
Why your pet needs a regular grooming routine
Asides from making your pet look (and smell) their best, a regular grooming routine helps to keep their skin, nails, coat and teeth in optimum condition. It doesn’t have to take hours to complete, but having a routine that can be followed is an important part of being a responsible pet owner.
If you don’t groom your pet, they can end up in all sorts of strife. Dental disease can be an expensive (and painful) trip to the vet for tooth removal. Fur can become long and matted, blocking your pet’s vision and or even causing complications when they go to the toilet. And if their nails aren’t kept at a good length, they can scratch floors, furniture, tear holes in clothing, or even give you an (accidental) nasty scrape!
When to start grooming
You should start grooming your pet as soon as possible to establish it as a normal part of your relationship together. Whether you’ve got a puppy or an older pet, start slow and small and slowly increase time, whether it’s brushing their coats or their teeth.
Grooming your pet is also a great time to inspect them all over. Regularly checking their ears, mouth, skin and body is one of the best ways to detect if something has changed and needs to be investigated.
Have rewards handy, such as their favourite treats or toys, so that your pet knows that grooming time with you is fun and something to look forward to.
The benefits of brushing
Brushing is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have with your pet. It’s a soothing practice that bonds the two of you and gives them joy, while conveniently being a necessary and important part of their healthcare.
The amount of brushing required depends on the type of coat your pet has. Smooth, short coats can be brushed every few weeks, while short but densely furred coats would benefit from a weekly brush. Long or double-coated pets benefit from a once or twice-weekly brush.
Removing loose hair from their coat prevents your pet from trying to remove it themselves through licking – which, when done excessively, can cause skin irritation that leads to more licking or chewing. Brushing distributes the natural oils on your pet’s skin through their coat, helping them to appear more glossy and shiny. When paired with a bath, your pet will be extra soft and shiny!
Aside from your pet’s coat, brushing their teeth is also an important part of their grooming routine. We’ve got a comprehensive guide about brushing teeth and preventing dental disease in dogs.
Pets can safely be washed once a month, using specialty pet shampoo and conditioner. It’s important to use pet-specific products, as they have different skin requirements and sensitivities.
It’s important that water temperature during bath time never exceeds luke-warm. This ensures you don’t end up accidentally causing any skin problems, preventing burning or singeing their skin and coat.
Clipping coats and nails
Sometimes our pets need a good trim of their coat and nails. This can be helpful during the hottest time of the year, or to remove matted fur and tangles from sensitive areas.
While clipping can be done at home – and should only be done carefully, using pet-approved products – it’s best to speak with a professional groomer or your vet about how to clip coats and nails safely. Starting off with a visit to a professional groomer can give you the best advice and guidance you need for your pet’s individual circumstances and needs.
While there’s a lot to know and learn about grooming your pet, the team at Matraville Veterinary Practice are here to help you create a regular grooming routine. Get in touch with us today and we’ll take care of you and your furry companion.