Washing, brushing and combing your pet may seem like a bit of a chore but did you know that grooming is as important for health as it is for cleanliness?
Brushing not only removes dead hair, dirt and dandruff, it also helps to stimulate the skin’s natural oils which give the coat a healthy sheen.
Another benefit of grooming is that it allows you to check your pet for abnormalities like skin problems (dry patches, hair loss) and parasites like ticks and fleas. You may also notice issues with their nails, teeth, ears, and eyes like infection or inflammation. If found at an early stage, these problems can be treated right away, before they have a chance to become more serious.
Different breeds have different needs
As with humans and their haircuts, it is best to talk with a professional groomer when attempting to cut or groom your pet. Dog breeds with long hair or those with bristly hair, for instance, have more specific needs when it comes to grooming.
Professional groomers have ways of keeping dogs still for haircuts, and unless you are familiar with the techniques, you could end up accidentally injuring your dog. Best to leave it to a professional if you have any concerns.
There are grooming brushes that are specifically developed for your dog or cat’s particular hair type, as well metal combs that divide the hair and remove the smaller bits of dirt or bugs that may become embedded. EberVet Vetshops stock a wide range of brushes and combs and our staff are trained to advise you on the best equipment for your particular pet.
You can begin grooming a puppy when she is as young as three weeks old. If you wait too long, your puppy may not be agreeable to it later on, especially when it comes to ear cleaning and nail clipping.
A puppy should be brushed daily, but each session must be a short and pleasant experience for her. Choose the location depending on how much hair you expect your dog to shed during the brushing — unless you really do not mind the clean-up. It can be done on the floor, on top of a table, or on a mat or carpet specifically for grooming purposes. Or, you might want to take her outside so that the hair is shed out of doors. Let the puppy sit or have her lie on her side while you brush her fur gently.
Brush the hair in the opposite direction of hair growth at first, and then follow by brushing it in the direction of hair growth. Speak to your puppy softly as you brush her fur and praise her when you are done. If she struggles, give her a firm shake along with the command, ‘No, stay!’ in an assertive, but non-aggressive voice. You want her to know you’re in charge but don’t frighten her or grooming will become something she hates. Praise her immediately when she obeys so that she relates the behaviour with your command.
Never (ever!) leave your puppy unattended during a grooming session, especially if she is on top of a grooming table. Professional groomers use a table hook with a harness or leash system to restrain dogs and keep them from accidental injuries or escape.
Grooming your cat
If your cat fights the grooming process, and there is some potential that injury could occur to your cat or yourself, please make an appointment with a pet spa to have your cat groomed.
With her built-in grooming tools (tongue and teeth), your fastidious feline is well-equipped to tackle her own hair care needs. But if she is very dirty or gets into something sticky or smelly, you may need to give her a bath.
Brushing your cat not only removes dirt, grease and dead hair from her coat, but it helps to remove skin flakes and stimulates blood circulation, improving the overall condition of her skin. One or two brushings per week should suffice. Regular sessions are especially beneficial when your cat ages and is no longer able to groom so meticulously on her own.
Shedding is a cat’s natural process of losing dead hair. Indoor cats can shed all year-round. Regularly grooming your cat should minimise the inconvenience of shedding.
If you have never groomed or bathed a pet, book an appointment with the professionals at a pet spa. It’ll be less stressful for you and a whole lot less stressful for your pet.
Remember that a clean pet is a healthier pet so you’re saving on vet’s bills too!