The best way to introduce grooming to your dogs and cats is gently, gradually and ideally when they are already relaxed. Whether you’re clipping kitty’s nails or washing mud off your pooch in the bath, patience and a sense of humor are key. Introduce grooming sessions gradually, for as little as a few minutes at a time. Offer plenty of praise during grooming and provide favorite treats afterwards to make it a positive experience. Spend some time every day stroking your pet; gently touch her ears and play with her feet too. This will help get her used to being ‘handled’ for grooming sessions.
1. Brush Up for Health
Regular brushing sessions will help to keep your pet’s coat sleek and free of mats, loosen and remove dirt and also distribute his natural oils throughout his skin and coat, promoting a healthy look.
Short-haired cats should be brushed once per week or more. Choose a comb or brush that suits both you and your pet, and gently brush her all over in the direction her hair grows. Short-hairs don’t suffer from many mats or tangles. You’re simply helping to remove the loose or dead hair to make grooming easier for your cat and end up with less hair around the house. Long-haired cats should be brushed at least twice per week, but brushing more often will help to avoid tangles and mats.
The type(s) of brushes and combs you need for your dog will depend on her coat type. For a smooth, short coat (like a Boxer), you may need only a bristle brush. For the dense fur on your Golden Retriever, remove tangles first using a slicker brush, followed by a bristle brush to remove dead hair. Long-haired dogs such as Yorkshire Terriers will benefit from daily brushing. Again you’re best to start with a slicker brush, followed by a bristle brush, but finish with a comb-through and a trim of the hair when necessary.
All cats and most dogs will benefit from a de-shedding tool like the FURminator. These remove the most dead hair from your pet, cutting down on shedding (and often hairballs).
2. Nail It Every Time
For many pet parents, clipping nails is the toughest part of grooming.
It’s best to start clipping your pet’s nails when they are still young, ideally still a puppy or kitten. They’ll grow accustomed to clipping if it’s a regular activity started when they are young. As with introducing a bath, the process begins long before the clippers come out. Play with your pet’s feet! Massage his feet every day, and gently press on your cat’s pads to extend the claws. Give lots of praise while playing, and a treat afterwards.
Once your pet is used to regular footsies, it should be easier to actually clip the nails. Place your pet in a comfortable position for clipping (such as in your lap facing away, standing on a table, standing on the ground, or lying down).
One great tip that might work is to try clipping nails when your pet is just waking up from a nap. Gently wake her up and
follow the clipping instructions below. If you’re careful not to startle your pet, you can get your clipping done when she’s relaxed and happy.
Take the paw gently but firmly, and clip the first nail. The first few times you may want to give a small treat after each nail. If your pet is still skittish, do only two or three nails at a time, and complete the process over several days. Always finish your session with a good treat or favorite toy to make it a positive experience for your cat or dog.
Be careful to clip only the white part of the nail, avoiding the pink area called the quick. If that gets cut, your pet will bleed and experience discomfort or pain. And your clipping session will likely be over!
3. The Eyes Have It
During regular grooming, check your dog or cat’s eyes for signs of a problem, such as tearing, cloudiness or inflammation. Red eyes or red rims are also signs of an issue. You can wipe your pet’s eyes clean with a soft, damp cloth or cotton ball, but if problems persist, talk to your veterinarian.
4. Now ‘Ear This
Look in your pet’s ears weekly to check for signs of infection. If you see any redness, swelling or brown/black ear wax (classic sign of ear mites), or if you’ve noticed an increased amount of pawing or scratching at the ears, talk to your vet or the experts at Pet Valu about a solution.
Smelly ears are also a sign of a problem. In fact, sometimes the unpleasant ‘dog’ odor is actually due to an infection in your dog’s ears or mouth. Keep up regular ear checks as well as eyes, and develop a regular oral care routine too.
These “deShedding” tools have long been the most effective on the market. Now they’ve been re-developed specifically for short hair and long hair, so the patented de-shedding edges can better remove the undercoat and loose hair beneath the topcoat. FURminator de-shedding tools can effectively reduce shedding and help prevent hairballs.
In addition to the tools, a line-up of shampoos, conditioners and sprays also help you target the needs of your pet. However, availability will vary by store.
Bathe your dog at least once every few months, but more often is also perfectly healthy. Shampoo and conditioning products like those available at Pet Valu are even safe for daily use – in case your dog falls in the mud several days in a row. Most cats don’t require a bath unless they get themselves into a sticky (or dirty) situation. Cats are designed to bathe themselves.
- Before the bath, brush your dog thoroughly to remove as much dead hair as possible.
- Use lukewarm water, only a few inches deep in your bathtub, and if possible place a non-slip mat in the tub to keep your pooch safe.
- Wet down your dog from her neck to her tail, using a spray nozzle or a plastic jug. Gently massage in shampoo, using as much as needed to go from head to tail.
- While you massage in the shampoo, be aware of any lumps or bumps on your dog that seem new. For anything worrisome, monitor your dog and visit the vet if necessary.
- 5 After rinsing thoroughly to remove all traces of shampoo, squeeze excess water off your dog and then dry him with a towel. Apply a spray conditioner to avoid mats and maintain a smooth, shiny coat.
The most important tools you bring to bath time are patience and confidence. You need to be gentle with your dog, but also assertive.