Pet Grooming 101

April showers bring May flowers and pets shedding winter coats. The air seemingly fills with hair as pets shed their winter coat and their otherwise clean fur becomes quickly matted from playing outside in dirt and debris. It happens to all animals regardless of whether they're indoor cats or dogs that love nothing more than to stay outside in any weather. Instead of dealing with the effects of spring on your pet's fur, follow these grooming tips to help keep them free from excess hair and mud.

Grooming Tools

The pet grooming market has just about every kind of tool to meet your grooming needs. But if you want to stick to the basics and leave the more complex work to a vet or groomer, you'll need the following grooming tools:

  • Slicker brush
  • Grooming rake
  • Nail clippers
  • Safety scissors
  • Cotton balls

A slicker brush and a grooming rake pull out the undercoat, but a slicker brush is better for cleaning the top coat while the rake works best for getting at undercoat fur. Safety scissors can be used to debulk mats and trim stray whiskers. Use nail clippers that are designed specifically for the purpose as you're less likely to cut a nail too far back and cause bleeding. Cotton balls are perfect for cleaning out dirty ears without irritating the sensitive skin inside. 

Grooming Care Products

Spring is typically wet, and that means mud everywhere. Animals don't have the same compulsion to avoid mud as their human counterparts do and blithely roll in or walk through mud puddles. Grooming products go a long way towards keeping these nuisances to a minimum by coating the fur with a repellant ingredient. They're also beneficial when giving a shower or bath isn't possible. Some of the types of products available for safe use on animals include:

  • Detangler
  • Coat conditioner
  • Bath in a bottle
  • Dry shampoo

Detanglers are excellent for keeping mats from starting and tangles out of long coats. A coat conditioner gives fur a shine and makes it slick so it's easier to groom and rinse out dirt and mud. Bath-in-a-bottle products work by dampening the coat and depositing a small amount of soap and deodorant that lifts dirt for brushing out. Dry shampoos won't get rid of as much dirt as shampoo in a bottle, but it will keep your pet smelling fresh and looking clean between baths.

Spring Grooming Techniques for Cats and Dogs

Cats and dogs are most definitely not created equal when it comes to their grooming needs. Dogs tend to have thicker skin than cats which allows them to tolerate grooming better than the feline species. However, there are always exceptions to the rule with some cats that can’t seem to get enough of the brush or rake and some dogs not being a fan of either.

Frequent grooming is necessary to eliminate excess fur during shedding season. Always follow the lay of the coat with the grooming tool and only go against it if necessary. Move slowly and don't dig too deeply if you run into resistance. Let the tool do the work for you. If you find a mat, use a detangling product or coat conditioner to loosen up the clumped fur. 

Always keep an eye on your pet for its reaction when you're grooming and make sure they're enjoying the experience. If you come across a skin rash, can't remove a mat on your own or find sores while grooming your pet, make an appointment with your veterinarian for an assessment of the issue. 


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