We spend countless hours doing our hair, trimming and filing our nails, putting on makeup or styling facial hair, all in an attempt to look our best. Why not give the same consideration to our pets? Not only do we want them to look their best and cutest for our friends and family, grooming can often come along with health benefits. So how do you get your dog looking good and feeling great?
It all starts with your pet’s fur. Cats are mostly self-sufficient, but it’s still good to make sure their fur is clean and unmatted. Depending on the length of the cat’s fur, you probably want to brush the excess fur out — if for no other reason, for the sake of your vacuum cleaner. Some cats are finicky about being brushed, so it might take a few tries to find the kind of brush your cat likes (or tolerates).
That said, some cats do require baths, and some are prone to getting into messes. If you need to bathe your cat, be careful. Not a lot of cats enjoy bath time, and some might lash out or bite.
Dogs require a little more work than cats. Dogs need to be bathed regularly, though how frequently depends on your dog’s lifestyle. Most dogs don’t need to be bathed more than once a month, but if your dog has long fur, or a tendency to roll in mud, you might want to bathe him more frequently. Trimming a dog’s fur isn’t necessary, but for some dogs it helps keep them cleaner. Some owners might want to give their dogs fancier haircuts, depending on the breed or if they want to show the dog.
Another element to keep in mind is the weather. Just like women change their hair and men style their beards to suit the weather, your pet might not want a close haircut in the middle of winter. Not only that, but fur tends to thicken up in wintertime, so shedding might become more of an issue.
For more intricate styles (or for convenience), dog owners might want to visit a groomer. The nice thing about groomers is that they can take care of other grooming needs, like claw trimming, tooth brushing, and expressing anal glands.
Both dogs and cats need to have their claws trimmed routinely. Claw trimming can be tricky — cut them too close and you risk injuring the animal. Only cut the white part of the claw. It’s better to cut too little than too much. Most cats need their claws trimmed once every two weeks.
Trimming a dog’s claws at home can be difficult. It might be worthwhile to use the trimmer or grinder around your dog before actually applying it to your dog’s nails, just to get them used to the sound. Trimming can be scary for your pup! Just like a cat, be careful not to trim into the quick. That can cause pain and bleeding.
You always want to be careful when sticking your hand in your pet’s mouth. Test the waters gently to make sure you’re not going to be bitten. For cats and dogs both, use toothpaste designed for animals, and not the stuff you use on your teeth. Whether you use a finger brush or a brush designed for a pet, use toothpaste sparingly, and make sure to get both teeth and gums.
- Always proceed gently. Grooming is pretty awkward for animals, and they might struggle with it at first. Let them know it’s going to be okay. Give them plenty of love and affection.
- Reward your pet after a grooming session. It helps them be more comfortable with the process in the future.
- When in doubt, take your animal to the groomer. It’s better to pay a little more to keep from accidentally harming your pet. Trips to the groomer make for great splurges or gifts for pet owners who spend a lot of time and energy on their animals.
- If you find anything in the grooming process that’s odd or unusual, like lumps, open wounds, or painful spots on your pup, you might want to see a vet.