Routine Grooming Promotes Good Health in Pets

October 23, 2012

Routine grooming and cleaning is as important for our pets as it is for us: it improves their appearance, helps to prevent diseases, and contributes to their overall well-being, both physically, and psychologically.

Grooming can be simplified with a few tips and hints to make the task a little simpler:

  1. When grooming, first start with a wide-toothed comb, combing from head to tail, looking for signs of fleas, growths, and mats. By using a wide-toothed comb first, you can minimize hair pulling. Follow up combing by brushing with a wire brush made specifically for grooming pets to remove any dead hairs. Hair mats can be removed by simply isolating them from the rest of the hairs, gently splitting them into smaller clumps, and then, while firmly holding the skin underneath, pulling the matt upwards and towards the head. Never use scissors to cut out mats because you may accidentally cut the skin underneath.
  2. Ears are also an important part of pet hygiene. Most pets' ears do not require routine cleaning. However, the ears should be examined routinely and if your pet has excessive hair, dirt, or wax build-up, they must be cleaned. While mineral oil and alcohol are often recommended for ear cleaning, products presently on the market for ear cleaning (available from your veterinarian) are far more effective and cause less problems. Cotton-tipped applicators should never be used to clean ears (except by your veterinarian) because of the risk of inadvertently damaging your pet's ear drum. Instead, wrap a cloth or tissue paper around your index finger and clean the ear canal gently.
  3. Bathing should be done on an “as-needed” basis. Frequency depends on the individual pet and your veterinarian should be consulted regarding the frequency that is safest for your pet. Never use a shampoo intended for human use on a pet. For example, dog skin is much more sensitive than human skin. People shampoo can cause a serious skin irritation in pets. They also tend to be heavily perfumed (which pets do not like) and they tend to cause excessive drying of the haircoat and flaking of their skin.
  4. Keeping the nails trimmed contributes to the health of the paws and also ensures that your pet will be comfortable when running and walking. Failure to keep nails clipped can, in some cases, result in in-grown nails, which can become infected and painful. Your veterinarian can demonstrate the correct way to trim nails without causing bleeding or pain.