Grooming your pet isn’t just about making them smell better and reducing fur in your home. Fur hygiene is essential to your pet’s health, and not grooming them regularly can have consequences.
Whether you have a dog or a cat, here’s why grooming them at home and/or with a groomer can help them stay healthy and happy:
Your Pet’s Skin: They Get Greasy Too!
Dogs can get greasy hair and clogged pores just like people do. Brushing your pet helps to ventilate their coat and manages the level of grease. Too much grease buildup can block pores and cause irritation and other skin problems. Regular baths help manage dirt and oil buildup too.
Additionally, some breeds (German Shepherds, Dachshunds, Labs, Golden Retrievers, Basset Hounds) are prone to develop a skin condition called seborrhea. Seborrhea causes greasy, stinky, itchy oil in the ears, armpits, stomach, elbows, and ankles and flaky dandruff in the coat. If your pet is showing symptoms of seborrhea (oily, greasy, or flaky skin) a visit to the veterinarian can help determine the cause. Your veterinarian can recommend special shampoos and conditioners, fatty acids and vitamin/mineral supplements, and other medications to help.
Your Pet’s Fur: Preventing a Tangly Mess
Both dogs and cats (especially those with long fur) are prone to painful mats and knots in their coats. Without regular grooming, mats can progress from mild skin irritation to severe wounds or cutting off blood circulation.
If not managed by regular brushing, many long haired cats end up needing a mat removal under sedation by a veterinarian. This can be costly for you, and stressful for your cat.
For dogs, understanding what coat type they have can help determine how often you should brush your dog. While dogs with short coats only require brushing once a week, a dog with a long double coat may need to be brushed 3-4 times per week. This chart can help you.
Grooming Can Be an At-Home Health Check
Our pets can’t tell us (and will often hide) when it hurts, but regular brushing and bathing can help you discover what’s going on under the fur.
Grooming is an opportunity for a basic health check. Brushing, combing, and running your hands over their fur can help you find lumps and bumps, hidden mats, hot spots, scratches, ear issues, hair loss, and even ticks. Familiarizing yourself with their body will help you catch any abnormalities sooner.
Professional Grooming is Worth it
Many pets can benefit from a professional groomer. Groomers have advanced tools and knowledge to enhance your pet’s coat. They can also advise you on the best products and methods to use on your specific pet. Groomers also have a trained eye to spot health issues you may not notice such as cysts, skin conditions, and ear infections.
Some dog breeds (especially those with hair) require more thorough professional grooming, such as Poodles, Bichon Frises, Yorkies, Maltese’s, and Portuguese Water Dogs. Without expert grooming, they are prone to matting and other discomforts.
Not to mention, your pet will look (and smell) fabulous!
Grooming Benefits Emotional Health
Grooming is also good for your pet’s emotional wellbeing. Not only does it provide bonding time for you and your pet, but it benefits their behavior too. Dogs and cats who suffer a lack of kind human contact can be fearful, aggressive, and have other behavioral problems. Taking your pet to a professional groomer can also provide a social interaction for your dog which gets them accustomed to being handled by strangers, which can have many long-term benefits.
In the end, grooming is not an option; it’s a necessity to your pet’s physical and emotional wellbeing. But keeping your pet clean doesn’t have to be a chore! Brushing and bath time can be an enjoyable ritual and just as stimulating for your pet as playtime. And you get the peace of mind knowing you’re looking out for your pet and keeping them healthy & happy at home.