Grooming is an important part of pet welfare and wellbeing and should be carried out regularly.
Spending time grooming your dog or cat can benefit your own mental health and improve your relationship with them. It is a good idea to start getting your pets used to grooming from an early age. It’s also a good opportunity to look for any abnormalities or changes in their physical condition, like lumps, bumps or skin lesions that may need to be checked out by a professional. Early detection of changes can be vital for your pet’s health, and your vet will be able to advise if you do find anything that concerns you.
Most pets love being brushed, and it is a good opportunity for bonding and training. Brushing is especially important for long haired dogs, though short haired dogs also benefit and will enjoy it too. Brushing helps to remove loose hairs and dead skin, remove any tangles and promote circulation. It also helps bring out natural oils which are then distributed, giving their coat a healthy sheen. Cats generally groom themselves, but again long-haired cats may need additional help. Older cats will also benefit from a helping human hand.
Always use a vet recommended brush suitable for your pet’s fur.
Bath your dog as often as is necessary, using good quality shampoo. Some dogs may love being bathed, whilst for others it will always be challenging. There is no need to regularly bathe your cat, only if it’s necessary to remove dirt or residue. Many cats find being bathed extremely stressful, so try to keep them calm with lots of stroking and soft words. Ensure there’s sufficient space for your pet to move around, but not to run away, with a non-slip surface (e.g use a bathmat in the bath). Smaller dogs and cats can be bathed in a sink. Water should be warm but not too hot, and you should use a specially formulated dog or cat shampoo.
Dry your pet with a fluffy towel or leave them to air dry. We do not recommend using a hairdryer on wet cats or dogs, unless they are particularly accustomed to it, in which case use a low heat setting and avoid eyes and ears.
Teeth and gum health is important for pets and needs to be considered as part of a regular grooming routine. If this is something you haven’t done before, it may take time for your pet to feel comfortable with the process. Our recent tooth brushing guide for small animals can help.
Cats and dogs can be prone to ear infections, which can cause pain and discomfort. Because they can’t vocalise issues it’s worth checking regularly for any sign of problems. Look out for any changes that have occurred between regular ear checks, redness, swelling, offensive odour or excessive wax. If you have any concerns, we’ll be happy to help.
As always, here at Leadon Vale Veterinary Centre we’re on hand to offer advice and support, as well as to examine your pet if something seems wrong. Please contact us if you need our assistance.