Keep tails wagging and kitties purring with our quick guide to dog and cat grooming. And this is not simply a matter of looking good – grooming is also important for a healthy, happy pet!
Dogs don’t tend to self-groom in the same way that cats do, so they require a helping hand with keeping on top of their cleanliness levels. All dogs should be bathed when they are dirty, muddy, shedding or smelly.
However, bathing too often (more than once a week) will dry out their skin, so don’t overdo the dog grooming. Most dogs don’t enjoy the process (can you blame them?) so it’s best to get into the habit of grooming your dog when they are still a puppy if possible.
How you groom your pooch’s locks depends on the type of hair and breed of your furry friend…
Grooming for dogs with long coats or dense double coats: Longer-haired dogs are usually groomed against the lay of the hair. Pets with these types of coats should be brushed or combed every few days with a pin brush or a long-toothed metal comb. Hunting/working dogs should also be given a brush regularly or after a particularly muddy outing.
Bathing every month or so with shampoo specifically created for dogs will remove dead hair, dirt and get rid of that ‘doggie smell’. Unless your pooch gets particularly dirty this should be enough. After a bath, dry your pooch thoroughly with a towel and make sure they’re not let outside until all the moisture has gone. Never use a hairdryer on a dog as this can burn their delicate skin.
Grooming for dogs with short coats: Short-haired dogs only require an occasional going-over with a soft bristled brush. These types of dogs are traditionally groomed in the direction the hair grows.
Again, bathing every few months with a dog shampoo should suffice unless your pooch gets really mucky! Canines with very fine coats or hairless breeds may only need a rub-down with a damp towel every now and then instead of a full bath. We advise any dogs with matted coats be taken to a seasoned professional as soon as possible.
Routine nail care should consist of trimming, filing or grinding the nails, approximately once or twice a month. Active dogs may need fewer nail trims; whilst sedentary dogs may need more. Nails should be trimmed with clippers especially made for dogs. Only clip the jagged sharp part at the very tip of the nail, right before it starts to curve downward. This should avoid cutting the quick (where the nerves and blood reach the nail), which would hurt the dog.
EARS & MOUTH
Dog’s ears should be cleaned every few weeks, however they are a very sensitive area and only a vet should attempt to clean the inner ear. Using a clean damp cloth, you should only clean the part of the ear that you can see – any further can push dirt into the ear and encourage infection. Never use alcohol – warm water or a specific pet ear cleaning solution is fine.
It is recommended that you brush your dog’s teeth and gums once or twice a week, using a brush and toothpaste made for dogs. However, if the dog is fed a healthy diet and doesn’t chew overly hard toys this can be done less often. Professional dental care is often the best way to manage your pet’s oral health.
Cats are extremely clean animals, but can still benefit from some regular maintenance, especially if they have long hair. As with dogs, it’s a good idea to introduce grooming to your cat from an early age.
If your cat is longed haired you should brush or comb them once or twice a week, whilst short hair cats should only need to be brushed a few times a month. If your cat’s fur mats easily or is unmanageable, it is important to book in a session with a professional groomer.
Short-haired cats do not need to be bathed unless they are very dirty or have allergies. Long-haired breeds may need a bath occasionally to help maintain a good coat and prevent dirt build-up. Your vet can advise you on how to bath your feline friend with special cat shampoo, or you can book a session with a specialist cat groomer.
Make sure to wrap your cat up warm as soon as they are out of the bath and do not let them outside until they are completely dry. As with dogs, never use a hairdryer on your feline friend as this can burn their delicate skin.
Cats scratch to wear down their nails, however they may need an occasional trim – especially if they are house cats. Similar to dogs, cats’ claws need to be carefully cut avoiding the ‘quick’. Only trim the tip of the nail and please ask your vet to show you how this is done if you’re unsure.
EARS & MOUTH
A cat’s inner ear should never be investigated by anyone other than a vet. You can help keep your kitty’s outer ear clean with a damp cloth or cotton wool to carefully wipe away any wax or dirt. Do not attempt to clean the ear canal as this can cause infection.
You can keep your cat’s gnashers pearly white and strong by giving them a brush every week or so using a small toothbrush and tube of toothpaste formulated for felines. Never use toothpaste designed for humans – ask your vet for their recommendations.