Keeping your dog or cat groomed is an important component of pet care. Here, our Cincinnati vets review grooming basics for both dogs and cats, and tips for how to groom your pet at home.
Grooming for Dogs
While the specifics vary depending on each pet's needs, basic grooming for dogs usually includes bathing, brushing, nail trimming, and (depending on the breed) haircuts.
Bathing helps remove dirt and debris from your dogs coat, and keep their skin healthy. However, bathing your dog too often can irritate the skin, damage hair follicles, and increase the risk of bacterial or fungal infections.
For most dogs, bathing frequency should be between once a month and once every three months. Use a shampoo formulated specifically for dogs, and water that is warm, but not warmer than the dog's skin.
Brushing helps prevent skin irritation and matting by removing dead hair from your dog’s coat. It also helps reduce the amount of dog hair around the house – a perpetual battle that most dog owners are familiar with!
The longer your dog’s hair is, the more frequently it will need to be brushed. Some dogs need to be brushed daily, while others can be brushed once a month.
To trim your dog's nails, use a clipper designed specifically for dogs' nails. A rotary trimmer can be a safer alternative, but it can take more time. If you’re not comfortable trimming your dog's nails yourself (or if you dog won't tolerate it), consider having it done by a qualified professional.
Different breeds have different needs when it comes to haircuts. Talk to your vet or a professional groomer to find out exactly how often (or if at all) your dog needs haircuts, and how best to go about it.
To cut your dog's hair, bathe them first using good quality dog shampoo, and then towel dry and brush. Use sharp scissors to trim the fur around the face and feet, and electric clippers for the rest of the body.
Grooming for Cats
Grooming for cats usually involves brushing, bathing, nail and paw care, ear care, dental care, and eye care.
Brushing your cat removes dirt, grease, skin flakes and dead hair from the coat, and it helps to stimulates blood circulation and improve overall skin condition as well.
Brush your kitty once or twice a week with a metal comb (thick or thin teeth are both fine, whatever works best). You’ll find that these regular brushing sessions are particularly beneficial as your cat ages and can't groom as meticulously anymore.
It's no secret that most cats hate water, and you'll be pleased to learn that most cats do not need to be bathed on a regular basis. Cats can more or less take care of their own grooming, and will only need help if they get particularly filthy, or get into something sticky.
Bathe your cat using special cat shampoo and warm, but not hot water. Keep in mind that there's a good chance your cat will not want to cooperate, so be sure to shut the bathroom door before you begin, and consider wearing gloves and long sleeves.
Nail & Paw Care
It’s important to regularly examine and clean your cat’s paws and make sure they’re wound-free, and free of debris.
Trimming cat's nails can reduce scratching, and mitigate the destruction of your soft furnishings. For cats that are unwilling to tolerate nail trimming, spending some time getting them used it their paws being touched (without trimming) can help.