From ears to eyes, here are the 6 basics you need to know about pet grooming. For many, the concept of grooming your pet conjures up notions of brushes and bows, but in reality, it is a vital element to their overall health and wellbeing. Regularly grooming your pet allows you to notice any out-of-the-ordinary skin conditions, meaning your pet will be able to be treated quicker and more efficiently and will, therefore, be less likely to have any lasting effect on your pet’s health.
However, not all animals enjoy the grooming process, and many owners find that it is easier to send their pets to a professional groomer on a regular basis. If you have a puppy or a kitten, then introducing them to the grooming process early is an important part of their learning and will be beneficial to them as they reach maturity. This is especially true of nail clipping and ear cleaning which requires them to sit completely still.
Even if you do opt to use a professional pet groomer, there are still several regular grooming techniques that you can do at home with your pet to strengthen your bond and to keep them clean and healthy.
Bathing your pet too often can have a detrimental effect on their health as it strips the natural oils from their skin, leaving them with dry, itchy patches which when scratched, could cause infection. That said, some bathing is needed to ensure that your animal remains clean, so be sure to ask our veterinarians what sort of bathing schedule they recommend for your pet.
Regular brushing removes dirt, dandruff, and loose hairs from your pet. For kittens and cats, it can also help cut back on the number of hairballs they may ingest. Regular brushing prevents tangles and matting which can be painful and lead to infections. Brushing also stimulates the natural oils in your pet’s fur, which then spread across the coat leaving it with a healthy, glossy sheen.
When brushing your pet, you will be able to do a thorough examination of its skin, identifying any issues such as ticks, fleas, or bald and dry patches. Any swelling or other abnormalities will also be easier to feel and point out to your vet.
Ears can be a concern for several different breeds that are more susceptible to infections and parasites. Ears should be clean and odor-free with weekly washes, but if anything looks red, swollen or has an unpleasant smell, or if there are any signs of mites or ticks, your pet should be examined by one of Heartfelt Veterinary Hospital veterinarians as soon as possible.
Pets can have extremely sharp nails which, if not trimmed frequently, can cause issues. Regular trims can reduce the risk of injury, stop nails/claws from getting caught in carpet or other upholstery and prevent the likelihood of ingrown nails. For older pets, it can also ease arthritis and other joint pain.
Like ears, eyes can also be prone to infection if the hairs around them are not kept trimmed. Eyes should be bright and clear. Any squinting, watery eyes, or anything that looks sore should be checked by our veterinary team.
Regular teeth brushing at home is the first way to combat periodontal disease. If your pet has bad breath, they likely have a dental problem that needs to be addressed with our veterinarian. We offer dental cleanings in-office but are happy to also recommend pet toothbrushes and toothpaste to practice good oral health at home.
We hope this has highlighted the importance of how regular grooming benefits your pet’s overall health and wellbeing. If you are looking for a pet groomer near Portland, OR, come see us at Heartfelt Veterinary Hospital!