Nothing quite puts the pep in your step like a fresh haircut or a mani and pedi! And our pets benefit from a little spa treatment just as much as we do. Regular haircuts and nail trims are more than just a feel good luxury for our pets, they are a healthy necessity.
Regular baths and brushing help keep the skin healthy and the fur shiny. Cats are pretty efficient self-cleaners, so they don’t need routine bathing. Of course, a bath might be the occasional necessity if they get dirty, need a medicated bath, or in preparation for a haircut for long-coated cats. Most dogs, on the other hand, would benefit from regular bathing- though it doesn’t need to be too frequently. Unless your pooch gets dirty or stinky, a bath is only necessary about every month or two. Whether it’s your pup or your kitty needing a bath, be sure to use a shampoo and conditioner specific to your pet. Using regular shampoo, baby shampoo, dish soap, or other soaps can leave your pet with irritated skin. With all the different dog and cat shampoo options, there is sure to be a fantastic one to give your pet the ultimate spa experience.
When it comes to brushing, the type of brush used is also very important. For very smooth coated dogs, a rubber curry brush or grooming mit can effectively remove any loose hairs while helping bring a shine to the coat. For short haired dogs and cats that have a bit longer and denser fur, a deshedding brush or blade will be more effective at removing the loose fur, especially if there is an under coat. When done properly and consistently, deshedding brushes can significantly reduce the amount of shedding that ends up around the house while promoting healthy skin and fur.
For long haired dogs and cats, it is important to use a brush or comb that is able to detangle the fur all the way down to the skin and brush much more frequently- even daily for very long-haired pets. Longer fur is prone to tangles that if left untreated, can lead to matting. When the matting reaches the skin, it can lead to skin irritation or infection and usually the only solution is to shave the fur very close to the skin. The new buzz cut will most certainly feel better than the tight, itchy mats of fur, but it can leave your pooch vulnerable to skin damage either during the shaving or the time after while the fur is regrowing.
For dogs that have a more hair-like quality to their fur, it might be necessary to have more than one type of brush. Long-toothed brushes and combs work very well to detangle the fur and a slicker brush will give the fur a beautiful shine.
Regular brushing can help keep your pet looking and feeling good, but for some dogs and cats, regular haircuts are also necessary. The frequency of haircuts will depend on the type of fur your pet has and your preferred style. It is important to keep up with regular maintenance cuts because not only will your pet look good, but it can also help prevent eye infections from the long hairs irritating the eyes and skin infections if the fur is prone to matting. Regular trimming of the sanitary areas will also keep your pet cleaner and fresher, while helping prevent urinary tract infections.
Now that your pet is strutting their stuff with a fresh brush and trim, its best to finish it off with a fresh pedicure! Regular nail trims are essential for foot health. Long, overgrown nails can curl and grow into the pad of the foot, causing pain and possibly even limping. When trimming the nails, it is important to be sure the trimmers are sharp and adequately sized for your dog’s or cat’s nails. If the trimmers are dull or not big enough, it can make the experience painful and can damage the nail. If you are trimming the nails yourself, it is also a good idea to have some quick-stop powder or gel on hand. With practice, trimming the nails is easy and can be an enjoyable experience, but accidentally cutting the nail too short can result in bleeding. An alternative (or even an add-on) to nail trims is nail filing. Special nail filing dremels are available and offer benefits beyond a simple trim. The filing demel allows the nails to be smoothed into a rounded tip and be taken back a bit shorter. It will also protect your skin, flooring, and furniture from scratches due to rough, blunt edges.
One last bit of pet pampering that has its health benefits is ear cleaning. It is important to keep the ears clean to help prevent infection. When cleaning the ears, it is best to dampen a cotton ball or gauze pad with a cleaning solution and only clean what you can reach with your finger. Putting a q-tip into the ear canal can cause serious damage! And if your pooch is one that requires haircuts, it is likely that it will also need to have the hair in the ears plucked. Removing this excess hair allows better airflow into the ear canal, keeping it drier and safer from infection.
So even if your dog or cat doesn’t LOVE a day at the spa as much as you do, it is still important to keep up with regular care. Bathing, brushing and trimming frequently from an early age can help get your pet used to the experience and make it an opportunity to show your love (don’t forget the yummy treats!). And if doing the nail trims and hair cuts yourself isn’t how you prefer to bond with your furry friend, the expert staff at Groomingdales Pet Salon would love to give your pets the pampering they deserve!