Good Grooming Guide: For Healthy and Happy Pets!

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Yeffna Poonacha
Make time for your pets, you are the only ones that they have. Taking out 10 minutes every day for their grooming routine would make a huge difference. A well groomed pet is a happy pet. -by Yeffna Poonacha
Pets who are not brushed daily and have long coats get matted in no time. Imagine wearing a thick woolly blanket 24×7, the skin can’t breathe, the body temperature rises, fungal and bacterial growth under the coat results in itchiness, dry and flaky skin. Sounds terrifying, isn’t it? Your pets feel the same. Regular grooming at home is good enough and a deep grooming session with a professional groomer once in 6–8 weeks is an ideal plan.
Reach out to groomers; they are willing and happy to share the maintenance schedule at home for your pets which is easy and doable. Please remember what you can’t do in months, a professional groomer can’t do in two hours. We have to work together to make your pets look and feel amazing and make grooming a part of their lifestyle.
Teach your puppy or dog to be comfortable with handling in general, by patting and stroking different parts of their body. Praise and reward them for being calm and allowing you to handle them.
Start slow and make them glow
When introducing your pet to bathing, do it slowly and give them plenty of praise and tasty dog food treats for being calm and tolerating the process. This will help your pup to associate bathing with positive things making the experience easy and enjoyable for you and your pet.
You should be calm and speak to them in a positive tone. This will help your pet to be more relaxed. After bath time, reward him with a treat so the activity finishes on a good note.
Start by introducing the bath accessories you are going to use, one item at a time such as towels, buckets, shampoo containers, and hoses. Practise standing on non-slip mats and reward your dog for standing on the mat. You can also practice standing in the tub but without using any water, this way your dog can gradually get used to being in the tub. Reward with treats while in the tub.
Making bath time more fun
Bathe your pet regularly with a mild shampoo specially formulated for dogs. Use lukewarm water and gently work the shampoo into their coat with your hands. Be extra careful around their eyes, and don’t forget to scrub their undercarriage, the tops of their paws, and their tail. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water and dry them off with a soft towel.
Brushing away the blues
Brushing and combing should happen daily or at least several times each week, no matter what kind of coat your pet has. If you plan to give your pet a bath, do the brushing part first. Brushing and combing will feel good to your pet; it removes dead hair and tangles, and distributes natural skin oils. If the coat is thick, make sure you are combing all the way to the skin. Be gentle and patient, too much pressure on the skin can cause irritation called brush burn, and pulling the tangles will hurt if you try to hurry. A detangler can be used on dry hair to loosen any knots. You can also ask the groomer to suggest you the right tools.
Take care of those floppy ears
Check and clean ears weekly with a cotton ball or tissue and ear cleaning solution. Be extremely gentle and do not poke your pet’s ears as it can cause damage.
Clean and bright pearly whites
Gently massage the gums and brush the teeth. If taught with patience and kindness, most pets enjoy a mouth massage. When you clean their teeth regularly you can see if there is any ulcer, chipped tooth, or gum inflammation and your pet needs to visit the vet. In between yearly dental visits, brush your pet’s teeth daily at home. All you need is the proper-sized toothbrush, toothpaste specially formulated for dogs or cats (do not use human toothpaste as it could contain chemicals toxic to pets) and a little patience.
Prim and proper: Trim those nails
Long nails can cause permanent damage to toes by bending them into unnatural positions. Keep your pet’s nails trimmed to short length. Most pets are not enthusiastic about the nail-cutting process, so if you’re going to do this yourself, approach your pet after a long walk or a vigorous play session when they’re tired and relaxed.
Don’t forget to clean anal glands
Some pets will need their glands regularly expressed for their lifetime. Others will only need help at certain times. The luckiest will never need gland expression at all. It is best to ask your vet or groomer for help in cleaning anal glands because you don’t want to cause any pain.
Grooming can be a pleasurable activity for both you and your pet. Enjoy this time with your pet, bond over the bathtub, rejuvenate by giving a relaxing massage to your pet, and make full use of these moments!
(Yeffna Poonacha is a certified professional canine stylist and groomer and owner of The Dog Studio Pet Spa at Bangalore)