Veterinary Health: Pet Grooming Tips

Pets can bring much joy to people but they also come with a lot of responsibilities. One thing that pet owners must do when caring for pets is deal with their grooming needs. Different breeds will have different requirements but all pets are likely to need some kind of grooming to keep them clean and happy. In addition to baths and haircuts, pet owners also need to think about dental health, eyes, ears, nails, and paws.

Dental Health

Pets such as cats and dogs should have their mouths cleaned to prevent gum disease and other oral issues. A healthy diet will aid in keeping your pet's teeth and mouth healthy but additional steps can be taken to keep a pet's mouth clean. For instance, there are toothbrushes and toothpastes made especially for dogs. There are also many different dental bones, sprays, and other items that can be purchased to aid in pet dental health. Questions about dental care should be directed to a qualified veterinarian.

Eye Care

In addition to examining the eyes for any issues such as inflammation or cloudiness, eyes should be regularly cleaned to prevent gunk from building up. A damp cotton ball should be used periodically to clean a dog's eyes and is soft enough to not cause any scratches. Breeds with longer hair should be trimmed to prevent hair from scratching the eyes. It is also important to protect the eyes when bathing your pet, or applying ointments or flea medication.

Ear Care

A dog's ears should be monitored regularly to check for any potential issues but cleaning and keeping them healthy is relatively easy. Because dogs have curvy, twisty inner ears, it can be easy for yeast, bacteria, and parasites to hide in them, causing infections and other issues. To clean the ears, use a cotton ball dampened with a formula specifically made to clean ears. Asking a veterinarian to demonstrate proper cleaning is a good idea as your pet's inner ears can be delicate. Breeds that wind up with hair in the ear canal should have it tweezed out to prevent knots.

Nail Care

As a general rule, a dog's nails should be trimmed when the reach the ground. Nail trimming needs will depend on how active your dog is and what type of surfaces they spend time on. Pets that go for regular walks on concrete may not need their nails trimmed as often as pets that spend a lot of time in the house or walking on grass. There are several types of nail clippers available in addition to nail grinders. Care should be taken to not cut the nails too short as this can cause bleeding. If your pet does not tolerate having their nails trimmed at home, some veterinarians and grooming places will offer the service.

Paw Care

A dog's feet are made for walking on rough ground, and provide insulation against weather to protect deeper tissue. Even though paws are pretty tough, they should still be cared for. A good time to care for paws is when trimming nails. Clean paws and ensure that no foreign objects are stuck in between your pet's pads. Pads can become dry and cracked and while it is important to moisturize, it is equally important to not use human hand lotion as it can soften pads to the point of leading to injury. Ask your veterinarian for a good, safe pad moisturizer.

General Grooming

All dogs need to be bathed, although some require cleaning more frequently than others. Brushing is important, even for pets with short hair, as it keeps the fur in good condition and spreads around natural oils. For pets with longer hair, brushing is even more important to prevent knots and matting. In addition to regular brushing, your pet needs to be bathed however according to the ASPCA this should only be done about every three months. Your pet may need to be bathed more frequently if they spend a lot of time outdoors. Prior to bathing, brush your pet out to remove dead hair, use only lukewarm water, and be sure not to spray water or get shampoo in the eyes. In addition to baths and brushing, some breeds also require regular haircuts. While some owners choose to cut pet hair themselves, many choose groomers who will also often provide other services such as nail trimming, brushing, and more.

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