If you’ve ever looked at the end result after washing your own hair, then you know how messy this process can be! However, taking time out on yourself to wash your pet’s coat regularly will help reduce tangles and make its life easier. It also keeps the inside of your home cleaner by keeping any dirt trapped under its fur.
Keeping up with a regular schedule for brushing your pet may take some getting used to but once you do, you’ll see why it’s so necessary. Not only does it remove loose hairs and debris, but it stimulates circulation around the skin which helps promote healthier looking skin and less odor.
A well-groomed dog adds value to your house and makes visitors feel welcome. Also, having pets like cats and dogs has been shown to lower blood pressure levels, increase happiness, and improve overall health. All these benefits add up to the fact that grooming your pet should certainly be part of your daily routine.
In addition, if you’re worried about fleas and ticks being transferred between animals, remember that grooming your pet reduces contact between other animals, including those who carry disease such as rabies.
What You’ll Need
Here we discuss all aspects of proper dog grooming techniques. You probably already have most items needed for cleaning your pet, although you might want to check the following list just to be sure.
1. Dry Shampoo
This product removes wetness and odors from the coat and is easy to apply. Dry shampoos often come in liquid form and many brands include deodorant properties to eliminate bad smells. If you use a lot of perfume or cologne, try adding a little baby powder because it doesn’t leave behind fragrance oils.
2. Tack cloths
These soft cotton towels are made specifically for removing burrs and hard knots from the coat without scratching or tearing the hide of your pet. They usually come pre-soaped and either scented or unscented.
3. Nail Clippers
Nails grow faster than brushes do and if left unchecked could cause cuts or tears in the fabric of the pet’s coat. Use nail clippers to trim nails before bathing them. To avoid sharp edges, cut off the tip of each nail instead of cutting down through the whole length.
The best type of brush depends upon what kind of coat your pet has. Ask your vet or trainer where he recommends using the right tools for your particular breed. There are several types of brushes available, ranging from wire bristled to rubber coated. Generally speaking, a nylon bristle brush works best for short haired breeds while long-haired varieties require softer materials.
Wire brushes tend to shred longer coats and give the impression that you are combing the individual strands rather than lifting them up. Rubber brushes act similar except they lift the entire layer of fur together. When choosing which type to buy, consider whether your pet sheds excessively.
If so, consider purchasing a special shedding blade (for heavy shedders) or a combination slicker brush / feather duster. Both of these products work great for eliminating large amounts of loose hair during grooming sessions.
5. Shower Gel
After thoroughly rinsing away dirty water and soap residue, gently massage shower gel into your pet’s fur until it becomes moist again. Avoid rubbing excessive amounts directly onto the skin since doing so may create mats.
How Often Should I Brush My Pet?
It takes approximately five minutes per week to bathe your pet properly. While this seems like a long time, it actually gives your pet much attention than letting it go without any human touch at all. Most animals enjoy being brushed even if they aren’t very fond of bathtime itself.
Soaking your pet in warm water mixed with mild detergent and then massaging it dry afterwards not only cleanses it, but relaxes it and eases muscle tension caused by overworking muscles. At times, pets experience anxiety due to environmental changes, new surroundings, noise, and other disturbances. By giving him attention, you allow your pet to calm down and forget his worries.
There are certain circumstances when extra baths are required and here are some signs that indicate additional bathing is necessary.
- Your pet shows unusual itching or irritation
- He appears unusually dirty
- His bedding material looks stained
- The bottom half of his body feels cold to the touch
- Your pet is coughing frequently
- Your pet displays diarrhea or regurgitates food
- If any of these situations occur, call your veterinarian immediately. He will advise you based on your specific case.
Why Do Some Pets Get Hairballs?
Hairballs are formed when swallowed hair ends up lodging in the stomach. The accumulation of hair causes discomfort, making eating uncomfortable. In extreme cases, swallowing foreign matter can lead to choking hazards. Unfortunately, hairballs seem to appear more commonly among dogs who suffer from allergies. Because of this, people who suspect their furry friend suffers from this condition should consult a professional prior to trying to treat the problem themselves.
To combat hairballs, experts recommend feeding your pet bland foods that won’t irritate the digestive system and offer frequent small meals throughout the day. Try offering low fat treats specially formulated for digestibility and ask your vet about supplements designed to ease digestion problems associated with hairball formation.
Some vets also suggest putting your pet on a diet high in fiber to aid in elimination. As always, speak to your vet regarding possible solutions. One way to lessen the severity of hairballs is to mix cornstarch with milk and feed it to your pet twice a day. Another method involves mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda in 4 tablespoons of skimmed milk and feeding it to your pet every 3 hours. Just dip a spoon in and stir it around to ensure that no lumps remain.
How to Prevent Hairballs
As mentioned earlier, hairballs seem to crop up more often among allergic pets. Here are some ways to minimize the chances of falling prey to this affliction.
- Be aware of allergies that affect your pet. Talk to your doctor about symptoms that resemble hives, asthma attacks, swelling, runny nose, sneezing, etc. Make note of anything that occurs suddenly, particularly if it coincides with the appearance of hairballs.
- Keep your pet indoors whenever you anticipate seasonal allergy flare ups. Don’t let anyone else near your pet during these periods.
- Don’t expose your pet to smoke or fumes coming from burning candles.
- Wash clothes and linens separately. Never put wool sweaters on your cat. Wool fibers attract dust moths and their eggs. Moth droppings contain chemicals toxic to both birds and mammals. Wash clothing and linens infrequently and hang them outside on laundry lines in direct sunlight. Dry clean only.
- Have someone wash your pet’s ears weekly. Ears are sensitive areas and infections can develop easily. Clean uneaten ear wax regularly to prevent ear infection.
- Clean litter boxes daily. Replace paper liner every few days to maintain sanitary conditions. Change litter box contents monthly. Keep fecal waste separate from urinal wastes.
- Use non-toxic cleaners containing phthalates and parabens. Many commercial pet shampoos contain ingredients harmful to your dog. Check labels carefully.
- Always follow directions provided by manufacturers concerning safe temperatures for heating medications prescribed by your vet. Be careful not to burn yourself when handling heated ointments.
- Never use household bleach to disinfect surfaces contaminated with viruses. Bleach kills beneficial microorganisms living on floors, counters, furniture, etc.
- Check with your local health department about insect control methods suitable for your area. Follow pesticide manufacturer instructions closely. Read warning labels on poisons and store safely.
- Do not spray pesticides on plants growing near windowsills. Pesticides can enter homes via open window sills.
- Exercise caution when gardening. Wear gloves and protective eyewear. Consult your state agricultural extension service for advice and recommendations appropriate for your region.
- Pet owners who live in rural areas may encounter snakes, spiders, scorpions, biting ants, bees, wasps, black flies, and mosquitoes. Learn about native wildlife and insects found in your neighborhood. Take preventive steps against exposure to pests.
Prevention is definitely the key word when dealing with pet issues. With a little luck and knowledge, your beloved companion will continue to thrive and provide years of joy.