A dog being gently groomed by their owner

6 Essential and Simple Tips for Grooming Your Pet at Home

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Photo by Abbie Love on Unsplash

The importance of grooming your pet cannot be overstated. A clean pet is a healthy pet. Most people believe that keeping your pet well-groomed and clean is a tedious process, and indeed it can be. It can involve some exercise for you such as running around to catch them and getting them to sit down and stay put. But with practice and when done on a regular basis, it’s not overly difficult.

Proper grooming is crucial for your pet’s health and even your own health and lifestyle. Regardless of how much you love your pet, you cannot have them running around your house shedding hair, being infested by fleas or ticks and smelling badly. 

You can invest in doing your own grooming of your pet. You can surely get professional help, but for many it will cost too much every month to maintain your pet’s good hygiene. For some people a busy schedule or lack of a vehicle makes it impossible to gather up a pet for a round trip to a local pet grooming service.

Here are a few tips to help you maintain healthy hygiene for your pet.

Nail trimming at home

When you hear your pet’s nails scratching on the floor, it is safe to say that it is time to trim their nails. The constant screeching noise can be irritating for some. You can take your pet to professional grooming services or save time and money by doing it yourself at home.

There are several types of nail clippers available in the market. You can choose the one that you feel will be easy for you to use and comfortable for your pet. There are mainly two types: scissors and guillotine.

Make sure your pet is comfortable before you start the trimming process. Hold their paw firmly but gently to make sure they do not panic. Only cut a little bit at each go and only cut until you see a little circle; that’s when you are near the quick, and now you can move on to the next nail.

Some pets can get aggressive while getting their nails trimmed. Some signs to keep an eye on are drooling, growling, panting, or snapping. If your pet is terrified of getting their nails trimmed, do not force them to stay put. If it is truly impossible for your dog to bear the nail clipper, then it is best you get professional help.

Maintaining oral hygiene

Your pet’s oral hygiene is just as important as their grooming. Great oral health does more than just keep away foul smells from their mouth; it contributes to their overall health. 

If you do not regularly brush your pet’s teeth, the plaque-forming foods may collect over time and turn into tartar, which may result in receding gums and may even cause tooth loss.

Here’s what to do:

  • Make sure your pet is comfortable with getting their teeth brushed. Get them used to it when they’re young if possible.
  • You can do this by massaging their lips with your index finger for 30 to 60 seconds once or maybe twice every day. Ensure they are getting comfortable with the process before taking any further steps. 
  • A little bit of pet-friendly toothpaste on the edge of their lips is a good way to get them used to the taste and smell.
  • Make sure to use a vet-recommended toothbrush, which is designed to be soft on your pet’s teeth and gums. 
  • Gently brush their teeth in small circular motions.
  • To maintain your pet’s oral health, brush their teeth 2-3 times a week or as suggested by your veterinarian.
A small dog taking a bath by his owner
Photo by Abbie Love on Unsplash

A proper bath

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends bathing your dog at least once every three months and more for dogs that spend time outdoors on a regular basis or have skin problems. Here is how you can do it at home:

  • First brush their hair thoroughly. Then put them in the tub filled with lukewarm water about 3-4 inches. 
  • Spray water on them with the hose to completely wet them, and be careful around their eyes and nose.
  • Using a pet-friendly shampoo, wash them from head to toe and rinse thoroughly afterwards. You may repeat this process a couple of times if they’re very dirty to ensure they are completely clean.
  • Use a large clean towel to rub them down thoroughly. You may even use a hair dryer gently (on warm setting, not hot) if your pet is comfortable with that.

Avoid Hair Matting

It is very important for your pet to have healthy hair because unhealthy practices can cause matting which can not only be uncomfortable for your pet, it can become a tangled mess that hosts fleas and ticks and looks (and smells) terrible.

The easiest way to prevent it from happening is to brush your pet’s hair regularly, possibly every day for some long-hair breeds. As with other grooming techniques, start when they’re young to get them accustomed to daily light brushing. Don’t wait for a tangled mess which will cause pulling, make them stressed and uncomfortable and may require a professional groomer to fix. 

Did you know that brushing is also a form of bonding, especially for cats. Most will purr and roll about as you gently brush them.

Choose the right brush for your pet. Different pets can have different hair types, so it is essential that you choose the brush type best suited for your pet’s hair type for the best outcome. A slicker brush with tightly packed wire pins is often a good choice for cats or dogs. It has short metal bristles that slide easily over hair and smooth out knots. A bristle brush is also great at finishing, removing any loosened hairs to leave a smooth coat. Do some research by looking online for brushes such as: slicker, pin, bristle, shedding rake, undercoat rake. There are so many options that you’ll want to be sure to suit your particular dog or cat’s coat before you buy.

Maintaining healthy vision

It is very common for dogs to develop an eye infection if proper eye care is not maintained, and the worst part is it can lead to pain and discomfort for your pet. That’s why frequent eye exams at home can help your dog avoid any potential eye diseases.

To do an eye checkup at home, you need to look in the eyes of your pet in a brightly lit area. Make sure the eyes are clean and bright, with pupils equal in size, and there mustn’t be any discharge or dirt collected around the eye. 

To clean your pet’s eyes at home, wipe gently with a damp cotton ball. Clean outwards from the inner circle of the eye, and make sure you don’t touch the cornea.

Common symptoms of eye function can include closed eyes or eyes with tear stains on the fur, unequal pupil size, or discharge and gunk in the eyes. If you notice any of these signs, please take your pet immediately to a veterinarian.

Different breeds of dogs may require special eye care depending on the breed; it is always advised to do some research to see what suits your pet the most.

Maintaining ear health

A dog’s ear can be warped and bendy and can be differently shaped, which becomes a great place for bacteria and dirt to collect and fester. Certain dog breeds, such as Poodles, Basset hounds, and Cocker spaniels, can be more prone to catching ear-related infections. 

There are certain indicators of microscopic ear infections, but only a professional might be able to say anything with certainty. However, here are certain signs you can take note of:

  • Ear discharge.
  • Redness.
  • Crusty skin.
  • Swelling.

Grooming Your Pet at Home is Worth the Effort

Pet grooming at home can be stressful and it is always advised to be as patient as you can be. Besides the overall well-being of your pet, it can be a great bonding experience between you and your pet. 

Additionally, you will save money and time by doing this yourself. Take time to do it carefully and patiently and you will become more confident about taking care of your animal companions.

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