Is your dog or cat looking a little scruffy lately? Groomers everywhere are finding that their customers are bringing pets in less frequently. It may seem like a good way to cut back on expenses. After all, pet grooming is a luxury like a day at the spa, isn't it? Actually, there are many excellent health benefits of good pet grooming you may not be aware of. First of all, regular grooming is your first defense in detecting any skin problems, parasites or infections that may lead to a bigger problem. Brushing removes the loose fur which can become matted and painful for you pet. It also gives your pet's coat a healthy shine and increases bloood flow. Cutting toenails on both cats and dogs can keep you and your family from getting serious infections from scratches. And best of all, regular grooming will decrease the amount of your pet's shedding which means less fur on your clothes and floating around the house.
If you have a long-haired dog or cat, you know about matted fur, the clumps that hang around the pet's neck and behind their legs. Personally, I have seen cats so matted that the entire cat looked like it had been given badly braided cornrows. But seriously, matted fur will pull and stretch the skin causing pain and agony to an animal's every move. If the mat is not taken care of, it will actually rip the skin causing bleeding and possibly infection. If matting continues, it will eventually cause scarring and bald patches. Cutting matts yourself is extremely dangerous. One slip of the scissors or one jerk of your pet's leg, and you may be racing to the nearest pet ER. Matts that are tight to the skin need to be shaved by a professional groomer who may charge additional for matted pets. Because the pet must be shaved down to the skin, the procedure is time-consuming and wears down the blades on the shavers. Debra, owner and groomer at Debra's Doghouse, told me her shaver shorted out while removing matted fur filled with sand. Regular visits to your groomer can decrease the stress on your pet and on your wallet. Check with local groomers for discount pricing on scheduling regular visits.
Cutting the pet's nails is just as important to your pet's health as it is to your own health. Germs from the litter box or from the dead thing your dog was playing with in the bushes will live under your pet's nails. Then when you or your child is accidentally scratched, those same germs may enter the blood stream. Keeping the nails trimmed and clean can lower the risk of scratches and infections.
Keeping your pet's nails clipped regularly will cause less pain and stress for him each grooming session. The regular routine of clipping will get your pet used to the feel of having their feet touched so the process will go smoothly. Because a dog's nail bed grows out with the nail, waiting too long between clippings can be painful and bloody. Outdoor kitties tend to wear their claws down, but indoor cats often get a claw caught on carpet or fabric, panic because they can't get free, and tear out the nail. If you decide to clip your pet's nails, make sure your purchase a clipper designed for your pet. It helps to have someone hold the pet for you so your hands are free to focus on the job. If your pet is not used to having its paws touched, work on only one paw per session until she is used to it. Keep flour or corn starch nearby in case the nail bleeds. Some grooming shops use a Dremel, a type of nail grinder that causes less pain and get the nails shorter than clippers.
While grooming your own pet can be a good way for you and Fluffy to bond, professional groomers are trained to notice potential health risks early. Debra at Debra's DogHouse told me of a long-haired golden retriever who was brought in stressed and shaking. After noticing how sensitive the dog's front paw was, she found two small rattlesnake puncture wounds and immediately raced the dog to the vet. At each session, your groomer will look for fox tails that have a tendency to enter the skin, parasites like fleas and worms that can effect your pet's health, as well as the condition of the the pet's fur which may detect disease. Most groomers also offer extra services such as dental and anal gland care. Choose a groomer that you and your pet become familiar with, and who will notice any new changes or lumps that weren't there before. If you don't have time to drop your puppy off at the grooming shop, there are many mobile groomers who will come to your front door and groom your pet in their specialized van.
Some pets need to be brushed daily or weekly depending on your pet's type of fur. If your pet is not used to brushing, start out with short sessions and build your way up. Add the pet's favorite treat after a few brush strokes and before you know it, your pet will bring you the brush. Teeth brushing is another exercise that will benefit your pet and create a loving bond. There are many self-serve dog washes which supply the tub, the shampoo, the towels and the cleanup. Make sure the shampoo is intended for your type of pet. The wrong shampoo and too frequent of bathings can strip your pet's fur of natural oils. A good creme rinse can help in deterring matts. Trimming your pet should be left to a professional. Debra says, "the consumer shavers, which may pull or break the fur, are not the same as the professional blades. And if you don't have knowledge of skin firmness and anatomy of where certain muscles are, you may end up paying much more in vet bills to have your pet stitched up." If you insist on learning pet grooming, ask your professional for helpful tips.
For more information about professional dog grooming, contact Debra at Debra's DogHouse at 5493 Carlson Dr, Sacramento, CA (916) 457-7387.