With many businesses closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, finding new ways to keep your furry family member happy, healthy, and safe can be challenging. Things could get even hairier for pets with long fur or thick coats that need to see a groomer every few months.
Believe it or not, there are things you can do to help maintain your pet’s health and appearance at home in between veterinary visits! Below are a few tips for keeping your furry friends looking sharp!
Bathing Your Buddy
Most vets recommend bathing your dog at least once every three months and waiting at least two weeks in between each. If your pup spends a fair amount of time outdoors, has a long coat, or a skin condition, he or she may require a more frequent bathing schedule.
Dogs with natural wrinkles or loose facial skin, such as Pugs, Bulldogs, or Shar Peis, often need special attention. Clean the folds with a clean, damp cloth to prevent dirt and bacteria from collecting and causing irritation or infection. Be sure to dry the areas in between the folds thoroughly.
Your feline buddy is naturally equipped to clean and tend to their hair care needs. On rare occasions, they can get into something yucky or sticky; you may need to help them clean with a bath.
Brushing for A Smoother, Healthier Coat
Regular grooming with a comb or brush is an effective way to keep your pet’s hair looking and feeling good. By doing so, you’re removing dirt, preventing tangles, keeping their skin clean, and spreading natural conditioning oils throughout their coat.
Breeds with short coats, such as Chihuahuas, Basset Hounds, and Boxers, only need a good brushing once a week. Rubber brushes are useful for loosening dead skin and dirt. Follow with a bristle brush to remove any excess hair. Pooches with short, dense fur prone to matting, like retrievers, also only require thorough brushing once a week. Slicker brushed are ideal for detangling and catching dead hair within the bristles.
If your dog buddy has long, luxurious fur, like a Yorkshire Terrier or a Collie, daily brushing is needed.
It’s a good idea to perform daily grooming to remove tangles and prevent matting. Be sure to brush your pup from head to toe, and don’t forget the tail!
For kitties, brushing once or twice per week helps to maintain healthy skin and fur. You’ll likely discover that regular grooming sessions are especially beneficial as your cat ages, when grooming on their own is challenging.
Trim, Trim, Trimming
While it’s perfectly safe to trim your pet’s hair lightly, do not ever shave them. Trimming at home should involve gently and cautiously cutting dry hair around the face, feet, and tail. Be extra careful when trimming around the ears and eyes. Use your free hand to protect the ears, making sure to only trim excess fur.
Your pet’s nails require slight trimming for health and sanitary reasons. If their nails click on the floor or snag on carpet, furniture, or rugs, it’s time for a trim. Paw pedicures every ten days to two weeks is recommended. The same applies for your feline friends. To help keep their claws under control, giving them something to scratch on regularly is also a great idea.
Be sure to check your furry pal’s feet regularly. This applies to both cats and dogs. Make sure their paws are free of infection, wounds, or objects lodged between their toes.
Don’t Forget the Eyes & Ears!
Your pet’s eyes and ears should be cleaned lightly to remove gunk, dirt, and dust. Checking their eyes regularly for any cloudiness, crust, tearing, or irritation is highly recommended. These are potential warnings signs that may indicate health problems.
Facing your furry friend in a well-lit area, look into their eyes. They should appear bright and clear, with the area around the eyeball being white. The pupil size should be equal without any discharge or tearing.
For dog ears, clean them with a damp cotton ball or cloth with a mild yet effective cleanser. Fold their ears back gently and remove any earwax or debris you can see. Healthy feline ears have flaps with a layer of hair on the outer surface with no bald spots. The inner surface is also clean and light pink. If you notice any dirt or discharge, this needs to be checked by your veterinarian.
Monitor Their Skin
The condition of your pet’s skin can say a lot about their overall health. When a skin issue occurs, your dog or cat may begin scratching, chewing, or licking excessively. Skin conditions could result from a wide range of concerns, such as allergies, stress, or parasites. Be sure to keep track of any symptoms your pet may be experiencing like scabbing, redness, or hair loss. These conditions should be seen and monitored by a vet.
The health, safety, and appearance of your pet are essential for their long-term happiness. At Antony Animal Hospital, we’re committed to the quality of your pet’s life. Dr. Amal Zakhary, who goes by “Dr. Amy,” is your trusted veterinarian in Hesperia. She can provide everything you need to keep your furry friends clean, comfortable, and healthy at home. For more grooming tips and tricks from our experienced team, contact us today!