By Elizabeth Anderson Lopez
Typical pet grooming services may seem like common knowledge, but do you know the ins-and-outs of them? “Regular pet grooming plays an important role in keeping pets clean and healthy,” says Shelly Williams, professional pet groomer and veterinary technician. “The best part is it’s fairly easy to do as long as you keep the basics in mind.”
For dogs, the basics include brushing, bathing, nail trimming, and ear cleaning, while cats are a bit simpler. “Unlike their canine counterparts, cats groom themselves and sharpen their claws on objects,” Williams says. However, even kitties may need a little help from you.
Here are a few more tips you need to ensure your pet is perfectly coiffed and cared for at all times.
Brushing Your Pet
For cats, grooming help comes in the form of brushing, which is important to prevent hairballs, especially in longhaired breeds. Brushing is also critical to prevent matting, which can be painful for your pet.
Williams, who is also a staff member at the Animal Behavior College in Valencia, CA, touts brushing as a way to inspect your pet’s hair and skin. She recommends line brushing, a brushing and combing technique that removes tangles, debris, and loose hair.
“This is a tried-and-tested method of thoroughly detangling a dog’s entire coat and removing bulky undercoat,” Williams explains. “The process typically begins with a slicker brush and ends with a metal comb. You should always run a comb through afterwards to make sure the coat is completely tangle-free.” The ConairPRO Pet line includes slicker brushes in three sizes to provide the best coverage no matter your pet’s size.
Bathing Your Furry Friend
Bathing helps further remove that dreaded shedding hair, and it also keeps skin clear while preventing skin infections, Williams says. Use an animal-specific formula and rinse thoroughly to avoid leaving product on the skin, which could cause irritation. Wash your pet’s body parts in the same order each time so you have a routine; this avoids missing areas or multiple washings.
Many pets lose their footing in the slippery tub. Using a bath mat can help them feel more stable and secure, so they can enjoy the massage-like pampering as you work in the shampoo.
Nipping Those Nails
While the clickety-clack of your pet’s long nails on tile may be annoying, overgrown nails can cause far bigger problems. “Nail trimming should be of the utmost importance and priority for both dog and cat owners,” Williams says. “A dog’s overgrown nails may cause a variety of physical health problems. Dogs’ nails are very tough, and most curve downward as they grow. Overgrown nails cause the toes to splay outwards in unnatural directions, causing discomfort and weakening the structure of the bones and tendons of the dog’s foot.” In extreme cases, cats and dogs can develop nails so overgrown that they circle around and back, even penetrating the animal’s footpads.
Thankfully, trimming those nails isn’t difficult, but it requires some patience. Williams recommended owners spend a few days periodically holding the pet’s paw, touching a toe and then rewarding the pet with a treat to get it acclimated.
Then, there are two ways to trim your pet’s nails. You can cut the nail tip with guillotine-type clippers, taking care to avoid the quick, which is the nail’s visible blood supply. Or you can use a nail grinder, like the ConairPRO Dog™ Professional Nail Grinder.
Cleansing Ears and Skin Creases
Ear and skin-fold cleaning prevents infections by cleansing the skin creases on breeds such as the pug or bulldog, and the ears of dropped-ear breeds such as the basset hound, according to Williams. Those infections can cause a foul odor, so cleaning is crucial for both cosmetic and health reasons.
Grooming your pet helps your cat or dog look and feel great, plus it’s a hands-on way to bond with your pet. When you perform these basic grooming steps using the proper tools and products, your pet will feel clean, healthy, and well-loved.