Grooming an act of love

Grooming your pet on a regular basis can significantly improve its quality of life and wellbeing.

Grooming typically includes some or all of the following:

  • caring of the fur
  • keeping it clean by brushing and/or bathing the animal
  • cutting the hair
  • trimming the nails
  • removal of any dry or crusted discharges from areas such as the eyes, ears, skin folds, etc.
  • teeth cleaning.

Grooming your pet often will benefit both you and your pet. The cosmetic advantages of frequent grooming are pretty obvious and straightforward.

A groomed animal is a cleaner animal, less smelly, and sheds less fur. A clean and well-kept animal is more pleasant to be around. Regular grooming also promotes medical advantages.

Spending time brushing and cleaning your pet makes you go over its body and helps detect any new or existing abnormality that requires medical attention.

Animals with long hair benefit greatly from frequent brushing. Many animals with long hair tend to easily develop mats that are very painful and uncomfortable to the animal. 

Getting rid of mats once they have formed is challenging because they cause extreme pain when being brushed. (think how you would feel if someone would pull your hair so hardly). Often, cutting the mats can only done when the pet is sedated or anaesthetised.

Bathing pets is controversial. Most animals should only be bathed very seldom if at all. Bathing your pet to frequently can harm its skin and fur. In a normal urban lifestyle, most pets do not required to be bathed more than three to four times a year.  
Here are some key points on sage grooming.

There are numerous types of pets brushes. Consulting the salesperson in a pet store can help you choose the best suitable brush for your pet fur. Make sure your pet also approves of the brush and its not causing it pain or discomfort.

Only bathe your pet with a pet shampoo. Animals have different skin requirements than humans and any other soap or shampoo other than pets, shouldn’t be used.

Animals have a blood vessel in their nails. Cutting the nail too short will cause a bleeding that may require a trip to the vet office to be cauterized.

If your pet has white nails, your task is easier because the blood vessels are visible and only the white tip should be cut. Owners of pets with black nails face a bigger challenge.

You can get it done by a groomer, veterinary staff member or try it yourself. If you want to try it, you should cut the nails slowly, step by step, only cutting a really small part of the nail.

In calm animals, once you get closer to the nail quick, the pet will react with a sign of pain or discomfort.

If you did cause bleeding, put ice on the nail. If you can’t stop the bleeding, take your pet to the vet to get the nail cauterized.

Be careful with cleaning the ears. Do not use Q tips or cotton balls. If you want to clean the ears, use a gauze square. These are available at any pharmacy. Wrap the gauze around your finger and clean the ear.

The gauze cannot break down, so you won’t leave any foreign material in the ear and you can’t get too deep into the ear canal with the gauze on your finger.

Any foul odour, redness of the ear, discharge other than normal wax or pain reaction while cleaning the ear, are signs of possible infection that requires medical attention.

Be careful of using ear cleaning solutions. Excessive moisture in the ear canal is a common reason for infection. there are numerous products out there for ear cleaning. Not all products are suitable for your pet specific condition.

Consult your veterinarian about cleaning our pet ears with a solution and get specific recommendation for a product and a protocol that will be safe for your pet.

Brushing your pet teeth is recommended, however most pets won’t allow you to do it properly. Remember, the physical brushing is far more important than the chemical effect of toothpaste.

Even wrapping a gauze of face cloth around your finger and rubbing it against the teeth can be beneficial. Pet stores carry toothbrushes that can be worn on the finger and flavoured toothpastes for pets liking.

All of the above can be also done by a professional groomer. Beside the professional end result, a professional groomer may also detect and alert you about issues that you may overlooked.

However, if you choose to use the service of a professional groomer, do not stop grooming your pet completely. Grooming is an essential quality time you share with your pet.

If done gently, this undivided attention can be a true treat for your pet and strengthen your relationship.      


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About the Author

Dr. Moshe Oz owns Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital, a small animal veterinary practice in West Kelowna.

Dr. Oz has deep love and affection for animals. It was his childhood dream to become a veterinarian, a dream that he has fulfilled when he graduated with honours from KUVM,on 2006. Dr. Oz's special interest is internal medicine and surgery.

In his free time Dr. Oz enjoys training and racing triathlons, including the legendary Penticton's Ironman.

Dr. Oz can be contacted through his website: www.KelownaVet.ca

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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