Good Grooming is Important to a Healthy Pet

Grooming our pets should be a labor of love, not a chore. This falls into the category “the sooner the better”. For the best results regarding grooming, start your pet young.

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Get them accustomed to the tools you will be using for their lifetime as soon as you acquire your pet. Although it is easier done when you acquire your pet at a very young age, even if your pet is an adult when you bring it home, you can teach them to enjoy the process. Do some grooming during your cuddle time and move to the more appropriate positions after getting the pet used to the process. Brush your pet while watching TV sitting together, teaching them grooming can be relaxing. Soon, your pet will come to love being groomed. 

How Often Should I Groom my Pet? 

This is a loaded question as it depends on the pet. Let's focus on dogs and cats. The answer then becomes as often as necessary. Universally you will need to brush your pet’s teeth daily, not unlike your own teeth. This is one place where people often let their pets down. You will need to do the mani/pedi at least monthly. Long nails are a hazard! You can clip them or use a tool called a dremel. A dremel is a filing tool that spins rapidly and you touch the nail to it to file the growth away. These can be expensive. Do not skimp; save for a good one. Remember, the average dog or cat lives 15+ years so you will get your money’s worth from the investment. Buy a cheap tool and you will be buying a new one every few years.

Home Grooming Tips

Cats are great personal hygienists. They are nimble and their sandpaper-like tongues allow them to comb their own fur. It is rare that a cat needs to be put into a bathtub. For cats who do not want to get wet, the owner may resort to a “dry shampoo” to sprinkle on the fur and comb away the dirt.

A dog with a short single coat is not bathed as often as a double-coated breed such as the Australian Shepherd or the Golden Retriever, or one with a drop coat such as a Lhasa Apso or Cocker Spaniel. An indoor dog requires less bathing than an outdoor dog.

There is more to grooming than bathing. The most important thing is to keep your dog well brushed. Brushing distributes the natural oils and keeps the dog's coat looking shiny and healthy. For double-coated breeds, who shed heavily in the spring and fall, there will be seasons when you will need to brush your dog daily to keep the undercoat under control. If you do not get that dead undercoat out, it will mat to the skin. The drop coats will tangle and knot easily and can require daily brushing depending on the activity level of the dog.

Finding a Good Professional Groomer 

To find a good groomer, trust your friends or ask your vet for recommendations. If you are new to an area contact the Better Business Bureau or the County Licensing Department to learn the reputation of the business. Interview the groomer in the salon because you are hiring them for a job. Make sure they know about your breed. It is a lot different to ask a groomer to bathe and blow-dry your pet than it is to ask them to do a specific haircut on the pet. What you mean when you ask for a “puppy cut” on your dog may mean something else to the groomer as there is no specific definition of “puppy cut” in the doggie grooming guide. Ask for what you want with specificity. Bring a photo if you can to clear up any misconceptions.

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