Pet grooming not only helps your cat or dog look their best but is also an integral component of your pet’s health. Proper grooming habits can deter fleas and ticks, eliminate discomfort, protect the feet and joints, and ward off ear infections. Grooming is also the perfect time to check your dog for abnormalities, such as wounds or bumps.
While grooming your cat or dog may seem like a straightforward process, mistakes can be made that impact your pet’s health and wellbeing. Here’s a look at some of the most common grooming mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Infrequent Grooming Sessions
How often do you groom your dog? Inconsistent grooming can cause problems for your pet, such as matted fur, long nails, and a buildup of dirt on the skin and hair. Dogs with shorter coats will typically require less frequent grooming sessions compared to dogs with longer or thicker coats. Determine a grooming schedule for your pet and stick to it.
2. Bathing Too Often
While regular grooming is essential, you want to avoid bathing your cat or dog too frequently. Bathing removes the natural oils and proteins in your pet’s coat. When you bathe your pet too frequently, it can dry out and irritate the skin. Most pets only require the occasional bath, about once a month.
3. Not Brushing Before Getting Wet
It may seem counterproductive to brush your pet’s fur before placing him in the bath but a quick brushing can actually be beneficial. Brushing your pet before he gets wet helps prevent tangled hair. It can also loosen dead hair that may be caught in the coat, allowing you to achieve a better clean.
4. Not Brushing After a Bath
It’s just as important to brush your pet after a bath as it is to brush beforehand. Brushing after a bath allows you to remove any dead hair that fell out during the bath. It also helps remove any tangles caused by bathing. As hair is more delicate when it’s wet, it’s important to brush slowly and gently.
5. Rushing the Nail Clipping
Many cats and dogs do not enjoy getting their nails trimmed, making the process difficult for both pet and owner. Many pet owners try to get this process done as fast as possible but this is not always the best approach. Rushing the nail clipping process can increase the risk of accidentally clipping your pet, resulting in bleeding and pain. Remember to always go slow to prevent injury. If you do not feel comfortable cutting your pet’s nails, ask your veterinarian or a professional groomer to do it for you.
6. Getting Water into the Ears
Your pet’s ears contain many delicate structures that do not respond well to moisture. When washing your pet’s face and head, try to avoid getting water into the ears. Water that enters the ear canal creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow, often resulting in painful ear infections. If not promptly treated, an ear infection can lead to swelling, irritation, and discomfort for your pet.
7. Using Dull Clippers
Clippers are typically sharp and ready for use when new. However, over time, clippers can become dull, making it difficult to get through your pet’s coat. Using dull clippers also increases your pet’s risk of razor burn and skin irritation. If the clippers knick the skin during use, it could also cause an infection. Always replace your clippers when they begin to go dull to avoid injury and make it easier to trim your pet’s fur.
8. Getting Shampoo in the Eyes
If you have ever gotten soap or shampoo in your eyes, you know how painful it can be. Your dog or cat may experience a similar discomfort when shampoo gets into their eyes during a bath. As pets are not able to close their eyes on command, it’s important for pet owners to take extra precautions to prevent soap or shampoo from getting into their pet’s eyes. Work slowly while rinsing your pet and avoid or cover your pet’s eyes.
9. Shaving During the Summer
While it may seem logical to shave your pet during the summer to help keep him cool and comfortable, shaving your pet can do more harm than good. In reality, a thick coat helps your pet regulate their body temperature in both hot and cold weather. When you shave their fur, you increase their risk of sunburn and other serious health conditions, like heat stroke. Shaving your pet can also result in poor hair regrowth, a less shiny coat, and patchiness.
10. Letting Your Dog Go Outside
Many pets enjoy running and playing outdoors after a grooming session. Unfortunately, many dogs like to roll in dirt or other messes directly after a bath. It’s best to wait until your pet’s fur is completely dry before allowing him to go outdoors. If you do need to bring your pet outdoors while wet, place your pet on a short leash to discourage this behavior.
Avoiding Common Grooming Mistakes
Regular maintenance and proper techniques are key to a successful grooming session. If you’ve made any of these mistakes in the past, don’t worry. Proper pet grooming requires practice over time. If you have any questions or concerns about grooming your pet, ask your veterinarian or groomer for advice.