There are some basic things that you can do at home to maintain your pets haircut and coat health in between sessions with your groomer. Basic daily, weekly and monthly care of your pet at home will help you discover problems such as wounds, bites or growths as soon as they occur. This lets you know that you need to get your pet to the groomer A.S.A.P to get these problems taken care of!
Ideally you should brush your pet’s coat out thoroughly every day. We understand that you may not always have time for this. Try to set aside time at least one to two times a week do do a good comb through of your their fur, paying special attention to his or her belly, between their legs and behind their ears. Trim or comb out any matts or burrs you may find and work gently from one end of the pet to the other. Brushing your pet’s fur is not only relaxing for your them but for you as well! It also helps to create a bond between you and your pet. There are many different types of combs and brushes available on the market and your groomer or Veterinarian can help you decide which is best for you.
Baths are good for dogs but you don’t want to bathe them too often. Bathing too much can strip oils from the pets fur and cause their skin to become dry, flaky and itchy. Bathing every four to six weeks is a good guideline. Use a shampoo specifically designed for pets such as an aloe and oatmeal variety. Human shampoos should never be used on pets because they can be harsh and stripping. Dawn is another no-no unless in extreme situations when your doctor recommends it. Pets should be soaked with water thoroughly, taking care around the eyes, ears and nose. Lather your pet up with shampoo and work in well. Rinse with clean water, again taking care around the eyes, ears and nose. A pets face can be wiped down with a washcloth if needed. Once you are sure you have all of the soap rinsed out, dry your pet with a towel or even a forced-air dryer if you feel comfortable. Don’t place a wet pet outside to dry in cold conditions. Drafty rooms are also not good for wet pets. Be sure to comb your pet out once more just in case they got any tangles while being bathed or dried.
Pet’s ears can be checked weekly for any waxy buildup which is dark brown or black and a thick consistency. A good cleaning once a month is ideal, more often if the pet has chronic ear problems. We usually recommend cleaning pet’s ears after they have had a bath. Use a pet specific ear cleaner, usually available through your veterinarian and dispense a small amount into ear. Massage ear thoroughly (you should be able to hear the cleaner “squish” around in the ear). Take a cotton ball and remove the excess ear cleaner. Allow pet to shake their head and then work on the other side. Never stick a q-tip or anything else down the pet’s ear. If you have any ointment for your pet that was prescribed by your Veterinarian, this is when you would place it in the ear. Some pet’s have ear hair and need to have it plucked regularly. Ask your groomer or veterinarian if this is the case for your pet.
Nail trimming is important for dogs. Nails that are too long can be painful and change the way the dogs walks if left alone too long. Many people hate to trim their pet’s nails; they are afraid they will cut too short and cause their pet to bleed. There are some tips for trimming nails that can help you avoid this situation:
- White nails will show you where the quick (a blood vessel) is so you don’t cut too short. Don’t trim directly up to the quick, just a little down from there.
- Black nails are hard. The best advice is to trim away the hook part of the nail. Take it slow and see how it goes.
- Give your pet regular treats and rewards for holding still and tolerating a nail trim.
- If you do cut the quick, place pressure on it and apply corn-starch or a styptic powder which will help stop the bleeding. Praise your pet for doing well but don’t go over the top here. You don’t want your pet getting excited or upset.
Cleaning Eyes/Tear Stains
There are many products out there that claim to get rid of tear stains, which are brown stains on pet’s fur underneath their eyes. This is caused when a pet’s eye waters and drains onto their fur. The best solution for treating this is simply to wipe your pet’s eyes regularly with a warm, soft cloth. Do not put liquids or ointments into your pet’s eyes without discussing it with your Veterinarian first.
Regular teeth brushing on your pet is the best way to avoid build up. If the pet’s teeth have too much build-up, they may need to be sedated and have their teeth cleaned which simply means the tartar and calculus is scraped off and the teeth are brushed, polished and sealed. You can brush your pet’s teeth at home with a pet safe toothpaste and a regular toothbrush or finger-brush if your pet has a smaller mouth. If your pet balks at having their teeth brushed, start out by putting the toothpaste on your finger and rubbing it on their gums and teeth. This will get them used to the taste and feel. A lot of pets see the toothpaste as a special treat! Do not use human toothpaste in your pet’s mouth. They will swallow it and the fluoride in the toothpaste can make your pet sick. There are also dental chews, water additives and mouthwashes available. Ask your Veterinarian about all of the different options available.