When it comes to keeping our pets looking and feeling their best, regular grooming is of the utmost importance. Each dog (or cat) has their own unique needs when it comes to grooming that vary depending on factors such as age, breed, and lifestyle. No matter the pet, however, there are some grooming necessities that all of us pet parents should consider.
As spring rolls in, one of the most common concerns is excessive shedding! Any pet with a thick double coat will begin to release the dead hair kept close to the body that is used to keep the body warm through the winter. This is when pet parents pull out the vacuums and lint rollers, inevitably bringing Rover to the grooming shop looking forlorn and exhausted, maybe even a little itchy.
Do not underestimate, however, the power of an at-home brushing routine. Not only does regular brushing remove the dead and excess hair that causes shedding, but it also improves circulation which promotes skin health. It is even a great way to bond with your pet as many come to really enjoy brushing as a way to receive positive attention and also just because it feels good!
How often to brush your pet’s coat and which type of brush is best to use differ depending on breed and coat type. Consult your groomer or vet before purchasing a brush to make sure it is a good fit. Getting in the habit of brushing and tending to your pet’s coat all through the year will make shedding season easier for you, your pets, and your carpets. It may also lower the bill of any professional grooming services as you won’t be tacked on upcharges for things like de-matting or de-shedding.
Another grooming requirement universal to all pets is nail care. Nails that are overgrown can cause discomfort and even pain to walk on, potentially making the pads of the feet sensitive and even setting your pet up for arthritis in the future.
Some cats may require nail trims, although cats who are allowed outside or those who very diligently use their scratching post often maintain their own nails for the most part.
All dogs require regular nail trims regardless of age or breed. A good time frame for most dogs is about two nail trims a month, or once every two weeks. If you do not feel comfortable to trim your pet’s nails yourself a professional groomer can perform this service quickly and for a low cost (usually about $10-$20).
Another great option is to consider filing your pet’s nails. Many dogs who are fearful of nail trims find filing to be more comfortable than trimming and will allow pet parents to perform the nail care more easily. Also, there is little danger of hitting the quick (blood vessel) and causing bleeding or pain when filing nails as opposed to trimming.
In order to make nail care a smoother process for everyone, it is best to take a few minutes to touch and play with your pet’s feet everyday. Touch the tops and bottoms of all four feet, put your fingers between each of their toes, and touch each nail as you do so. You can end the session with some cuddle time, a toy or treat, whatever is the most coveted reward for your pet. This will make nail care seem like no big deal and will help to desensitize pets who are fearful and stressed out by the process.
There is so much more to discuss when it comes to grooming, but these are some basic and important tips that any pet parent can implement and get started today! Just as we groom and care for ourselves each day, our pets require that same TLC in order to shine to their full potential and they thank us with their love for our constant care and concern