Grooming is not just for ‘show’ pets or long haired pets; all pets require grooming. Start grooming your pet when they are young. Apart from helping build a bond between you, it builds trust, gets your pet used to being touched and is a way to keep an eye on your pet’s health.
How often depends on the breed. Long haired pets require daily grooming, medium hair every 2-3 days and short hair at least once a week. The regular grooming will help reduce knots and prevent matting as well as fur balls. Brushing or combing stimulates the sebaceous glands which produce a water repellent oily sebum over the skin. If these glands get blocked they can form cysts. Combing is also a great form of flea and tick control all year round.
Grooming includes washing, brushing, combing, trimming fur when necessary and trimming nails. Nail cutting is another reason to start grooming your pet when they are young. Paws are a naturally sensitive area so get your pet used to their paws being touched when they are young.
Elderly pets cannot groom themselves as well as they used to. They are not as flexible so can’t reach some places anymore. Grooming an elderly pet or an unwell pet does a lot for improving their mental state.
One of the major benefits of grooming your pet is that it is a useful tool for seeing any health issues. Some issues you can pick up are:
Skin conditions along with scratches or wounds you wouldn’t otherwise see
Flaky skin/dandruff – signs of poor diet
Discolouration – may be an infection, allergy, sign of disease
Change in texture – may be a sign of disease
Fur condition – coarse/dry are signs of poor diet
Weight loss – feel ribs or hip bones
Hair loss, patches
If your pet is sensitive when you approach, brush, or touch an area they otherwise would let you this is an indication something is not right. It may be a cut or bruise that will come right on its own or it may be more serious. If you cannot have a good look at the area safely and there are other signs of your pet not feeling themselves it is worth taking your pet for a check-up. Likewise if your pet is still very sensitive about an area after a couple of days get it looked at.
Finding a lump, when should you be concerned? There are many types of lumps and warts and finding one is not necessarily cause for alarm. Some breeds are naturally warty. However you should be aware of what to look out for. Here is an article written by a well-regarded US veterinary oncologist. dogcancerblog.com/blog/lumps on dogs when to get them checked by a veterinarian
Tear stains can sometimes be caused by diet but often they are due to breed or the shape of the pet’s eye. Before you use a product that is marketed as a tear stain remover check what is in it. Many contain chemicals that really shouldn’t be put on your pet let alone near their eyes. Beware of marketing ploys such as all natural, vet approved, they are not always what they appear. Check what country it is made in as regulations vary country to country. If no ingredients are listed or just a general description is used, look for something else. This applies to shampoos as well. A safe natural solution for wiping your pet’s eyes is Colloidal silver. Here are links to a couple of other articles on tear stains you may find useful. Pet tear staining by Dr K Becker.aspx and pets webmd.com dogs and tear stains
When washing your pet use natural based shampoos. If you take your pet to a groomer ask what products they use. Ask to see the ingredients. Do they contain chemicals? The hair follicles and skin are great absorbents and any chemicals in the grooming products will enter your pets system this way. When washing your dog yourself it is a good idea to brush them first. It will make your job easier! How often should you wash your dog? Only every couple of months, unless they roll in something!
Should I give my pet a haircut? It depends on the breed and for some, lifestyle. Some breeds have double coats and should not be given a haircut even in summer. There is a good reason they have double coats. Here is a useful article from Dogs Naturally Magazine about double coated dogs. Why you shouldn't shave your dog in summer Of course if there is a health reason then trimming is needed such as around wounds or infections, matted hair.
Smelly breath, fur condition, hair loss etc. will not be ‘fixed’ by brushing their teeth or shampoos. These are health issues that need to be addressed often through diet.
You want grooming to be an enjoyable experience for both you and your pet so spend some time reviewing the options. Invest in a flea comb and a good quality brush. Not all brushes are the same so get one that suits your pet’s coat. You can find some New Zealand made pet grooming products here Natural For Pets
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