To maintain your pet’s health, it’s important to keep up regular grooming. If you can’t get to your regular groomer, or if you’re cutting down on costs, you can groom your pet at home.
Here’s how to safely care for your pet’s paws, nails, coat, ears, and teeth.
Brush your pet
Brushing your pet is not only useful for removing tangles, dirt, or excess hair. Brushing also helps detect any skin problems such as fleas, ticks, wounds, or lumps. When you brush your pet, you also help distribute the natural oils in your pet’s coat.
Make sure your pet’s coat is dry before brushing. The first step is to locate any clumps of hair and pick them apart with a brush for de-matting. Removing clumps as soon as they appear can help prevent ticks and fleas as well as skin irritations. Don’t brush these clumps directly, as your pet could get hurt by accident.
Then remove any excess hair with a de-shedding tool, particularly if your pet has a thick coat. Be sure to move the brush along the direction of your pet’s hair.
If your pet is a cat, wait till he or she is relaxed before grooming.
Trim your pet’s hair
Before attempting to cut your pet’s hair, have a professional show you what to do. Grooming techniques include cording, stripping, or clipping, and you’ll want to know what you’re doing first.
Make sure your pet’s coat is clean and dry. Begin at their neck and work your way down, following the direction that the hair grows naturally. Make sure the blade stays flat against your pet’s skin so that you don’t injure him or her by accident.
Equip yourself with the correct tools to make home grooming easier and safer. You may want a grooming arm to turn a kitchen table into a grooming station. You might want to use a handy pet ramp like at https://chasingtails.store so that you can sit on your bed with your pet at the same level.
Try to get tools that aren’t too noisy. Before using them with your pet for the first time, try to get him or her used to the sound before grooming time.
For hair that grows between a dog’s toes, trim it gently so that it is even with your pet’s paw pads. You may want to have professional help for areas around the face, ears, and private parts. At the very least, take extra care.
Above all, take your time and stay calm throughout for your pet.
Bathe your pet
It can be challenging to bathe an overexcited pet without getting scratched, so here’s how you do it.
Begin by placing a non-slip mat on the bottom of your bathtub or sink so that your pet will feel secure. Fill with warm water in your sink or bathtub, and gently put your pet into the water, with lots of encouragement. Remain calm, particularly with dogs who can get overexcited at bath time with the extra attention.
When you’ve wet your pet’s coat well, work in a small amount of dedicated pet shampoo. You want to use a coin-sized dollop at most, and the shampoo needs to be designed for pets. Human shampoos are too harsh for pet skin, which has a different pH to ours.
Ensure you don’t get shampoo in their ears or eyes, then rinse till the water runs clear. When drying your pet, make sure you dry their ears. In particular, dogs’ ears can be susceptible to infections if any water remains in their ears.
Check with your vet to see how often your breed of pet needs a bath.
Clean your pet’s teeth
Many pet owners find it very challenging to try to use a toothbrush for their pets. Fortunately, there are some alternatives – for dogs, dental chews, and cleaning toys can work well. Clean toys periodically, and if you wish, you could add a water additive that blocks plaque.
If you want to make nail trimming easy for yourself, ask your groomer or vet to show you how to do this first.
You can clip a small bit from the bottom for dogs and check if your pet has any pain before cutting a bit further up. Clip nails little by little – you don’t want to cause them pain by cutting too high up, especially if you can’t see the quick.
For cats, trim the thin sharp end. The thicker bit of their nails is where the quick is (which you don’t want to cut as that would be very painful!)
Close your nail clippers quickly since cutting slowly can split nails. If your pet becomes stressed, take a break and continue another day.