While for many people the concept of grooming your pet conjures up notions of brushes and bows, it is, in fact, a vital element to their overall health and wellbeing. Regularly grooming your animal allows any underlying diseases or conditions to be caught early which means earlier and more efficient diagnosis and treatment.
If you have a puppy or a kitten, it will be important for you to begin training them to like or at least tolerate the grooming process, which will be beneficial to them as they reach maturity. This is especially true of nail clipping and ear cleaning which requires them to sit completely still for the process.
Reputable breeders will often begin grooming their litters as soon as they are old enough to help get them used to the process. However, despite training and conditioning, not all animals enjoy the grooming process and many owners find it easier to send their pet to a professional groomer instead. Even if you do opt to use a professional pet groomer, there are still a number of regular grooming techniques that you can do at home with your pet to strengthen your bond.
Here are some of the important benefits of pet grooming.
Quite often misconstrued as the only part of grooming, brushing is still a huge element of the grooming process. Regular brushing removes dirt, dandruff and dead hairs from your pet. For kittens and cats, it can also help to cut back on the number of hairballs that they ingest. Regular brushing prevents tangles and matting which can be painful and lead to infections. Brushing also stimulates the natural oils in your pet's fur, which are then spread across the coat leaving it with a healthy, glossy sheen.
When brushing your pet you will be able to do a thorough examination of its skin, identifying any issues such as ticks, fleas, or bald and dry patches. Any swellings or other abnormalities will also be easier to feel.
Ears can be a concern for a number of different breeds who are more susceptible to infections and parasites. Ears should be clean and odor-free with weekly washes, but if anything looks red, swollen or has an unpleasant smell, plus any sign of infestation by mites or ticks, your pet should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Like ears, eyes can also be prone to infection if the hairs around them are not kept trimmed. Eyes should be bright and clear. Any squinting, watery eyes or anything that looks sore should be checked by your veterinarian.
Regular teeth brushing is the only way to help combat periodontal disease and having bad breath is a sure sign of a dental problem. Your vet will be happy to recommend specialist pet toothbrushes and toothpaste, as well as if they think an in-office dental cleaning would be appropriate, so be sure to ask.
Bathing your pet too often can actually have a detrimental effect on their health as it strips the natural oils from their skin, leaving them with dry, itchy patches which when scratched, could cause infection. That said, some bathing is needed to ensure that your animal remains clean and germ-free, so be sure to ask your vet what sort of bathing schedule they would recommend for your pet.
Pets can have extremely sharp nails which, if not trimmed frequently, can cause serious injury. Regular trims can reduce the risk of injury, stop them from getting caught in carpet or other upholstery, and prevent the likelihood of ingrown nails. For older pets, it can also ease arthritis and other joint pain.
We hope that this article has helped highlight the importance of regular grooming your pet for its overall health and wellbeing.