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Pet Grooming

Learn about pet grooming and why it's healthy for a variety of pets.

Pet grooming is essential for pets' physical and psychological health. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
Pet grooming is essential for pets' physical and psychological health.

Like a balanced diet and exercise, pet grooming is important to animal health. According to the Community Animal Welfare Society, grooming is one way for owners to help their pets look and feel their best. Grooming also helps owners maintain the psychological and physiological health of their pet through early detection of issues with their pets teeth, ears, eyes, coat and nails. Because grooming can prevent major illnesses from occurring later in the pet's life, owners can actually save money at the veterinarian by simply adopting good pet grooming habits.

Pet Grooming Benefits

For cats, grooming can decrease odors, reduce shedding and eliminate allergies. Routine grooming is also useful in controlling hairball frequency. Hairballs can block a cat's intestines or get lodged in a cat's digestive system, two events that can cause major health issues or even death.

As for dogs, according to Organic Pet Digest, one of the greatest benefits of grooming is parasite control: owners who keep their dogs well-groomed have a better chance of spotting fleas, ticks and other parasites beneath their fur. Early detection is a critical factor in controlling the spread of infestations.

Grooming Cats

While cats are well known for their self-cleaning methods, it is important for owners to maintain their ears, eyes and coat. How often cats need grooming depends heavily on the length of their coats. For example, PetPlace.com states a cat with a short, single coat requires very little grooming. However, dense, short-haired cats should be groomed monthly. Semi-long and long-haired cats should be combed and bathed even more frequently.

Although maintaining cat's coats can be challenging, pet owners should develop a regular brushing and combing schedule to prevent them from shedding and matting. To keep cats comfortable while being groomed, owners should brush them from front to back using a proper brush or comb. Pin brushes are ideal for long-haired cats, while a rubber curry brush is recommended for cats with short, single coats. On those rare occasions when cats may need a bath, owners should be sure to use only a feline-specific shampoo.

Bathing Dogs

Grooming dogs can require a lot of patience. It is important for individuals to read about their specific type of dog and tailor their grooming schedules to fit the needs of the breed. According to the American Kennel Club, regular baths are good for dogs, but frequent baths can actually harm their coats and skin. Because dogs do not always like being wet, owners may need to take special precautions to keep them calm during baths. A few of these tips include using non-slip bath mats; rinsing the dog with a shower head instead of a faucet; and putting cotton balls in the dogs ears to absorb excess water. After rinsing out the shampoo, the dogs coat should be dried with a towel. When using a blow dryer, owners should use the lowest possible setting to avoid burning the dog's skin.

Brushing Dogs

There are a variety of brushes and combs that can be used to keep a dog's coat healthy and strong. Using the proper tools for a specific dog breed can help to ease the grooming process. For example, a slicker brush, one that has fine wire pins, is typically used for long-haired dogs and is ideal for dematting long and curly coats. Additionally, a pin brush one that has metal bristles is ideal for dogs with curly, wavy or long coats. A bristle brush is generally used on short-haired dogs for daily grooming.

Pet Grooming Tips and Tricks

Basic pet grooming should include routine bathing, brushing, nail-trimming and eye-cleaning. Many of these tasks can be done at home, but individuals may also choose to take their pets to receive professional grooming services. According to Animal Planet, pets should visit a professional groomer every six to eight weeks. Following a few basic tips will help owners keep their pets healthy and clean at home and in between professional grooming sessions:

  • Never wash dogs with cat products and vice versa.
  • Never use human products to bathe pets.
  • Prevent tartar build-up and other dental issues by regularly brushing pet's teeth with special pet toothbrushes and toothpaste.

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