How To: Six Part Grooming

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A puppy with dog insurance plays dries off after a bath.

We all want our pets to look and smell their best.’Grooming’ should involve more than just hair coat maintenance and all breeds, including cats, can benefit from it. Regular grooming, especially teeth brushing, is important for overall health. Most grooming routines can be done at home with a little know-how, practice and patience. How often grooming is necessary can be variable depending on your pet’s breed and lifestyle. For example, most cats don’t require regular bathing at all, but some dogs can require weekly bathing to stay odor free. Here are some tips for keeping your pet’s appearance in tip-top shape:

1. Pearly Whites
This is probably the trickiest part of a regular grooming routine. Many pets don’t care for it, and brushing can take time and patience. When just starting out, keep it fun and short. Allow your pet to sniff and chew on the toothbrush and taste the toothpaste. Use lots of praise and rewards. Gradually lengthen the time you spend actually brushing as your pet gets used to it. Always use a dog or cat formulated toothpaste, as our toothpaste is toxic to pets.

2. I Can’t Hear You
If your dog’s ears are clean, pink, non-itchy and not causing a problem, you likely don’t need to do much cleaning. If your pet swims, or has floppy ears that trap moisture, a regular cleaner might be indicated. Never use q-tips in the ears; this can push debris deeper in and even damage the eardrum. Always use an ear cleaner meant for dogs, never put water, alcohol or other liquids in the ear! Cottonballs are a nice tool to wipe out mild debris after using an ear cleaner. If your dog is shaking his or her head, seems painful or has a foul odor from the ears, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

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3. Tips on Toes
Keeping your pet’s nails trimmed is important part of pet health, as it helps prevent splitting and cracking. Some pets’ nails can actually curl and grow into the foot pad, causing a painful infection. Your furniture will benefit if you keep your cat’s nails trimmed regularly as well! The rate of toe nail growth is variable among pets. Dogs that are outside walking on concrete may wear the nails down on their own.

Black nails are a little trickier to trim, but with practice can be done safely. Purchase a good quality trimmer that is shaped like a pair of pliers or scissors, versus those shaped like a hole-punch, which are trickier to use. If you have never done a nail trim before, call your veterinarian to see if a technician can give you a demo.

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4. Brush That Coat
Regular brushing is important for coat health. Brushing encourages natural oils to coat the hair shaft, keeping the coat shiny and glossy. Most cats like to be groomed, and especially long haired cats can benefit from regular brushing. Brushing regularly will also help keep your house and clothes clean by decreasing shedding!

5. No Butts About It
We all get a little squeamish thinking about expressing pets’ anal glands. Anal glands are basically underdeveloped scent glands, whose purpose is mostly to mark territories. Unfortunately they live in a pretty dirty area and can occasionally cause problems for the pet. If Rosco is excessively scooting and dragging his bottom on the floor, or excessively licking, the glands might need to be expressed, or emptied.This isn’t that hard to do at home, but most people get grossed out by the idea and will call their veterinarian’s office for an appointment. Occasionally some pets will need this done regularly to be comfortable, other pets never have a problem.

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6. Scrub A Dub
Bathing, as a general rule, is only required when your pet is stinky or dirty! Some animals have a lifestyle or coat type that doesn’t require excessive bathing. Over-bathing can lead to dry skin, flakiness and itching. Always use shampoo meant for dogs or cats, not human or baby shampoos which are not pH balanced for animal’s skin.

An animal that is well cared for is generally healthier and happier. A four legged family member that smells nice and is clean will make your life better when giving you kisses, sharing the couch, and even snuggling in bed!

For more information about pet health or to learn more about cat and dog insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance.

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