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Pet grooming – the dos and don’ts

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Learn how to keep your pet’s fur in great condition with this grooming guidance

golden-retriever-having-a-bath

Grooming pets is not a luxury or a fad.

The increase in pet pamper salons might seem excessive, but regular grooming is not just for the ‘VIPets’ that hang out with celebs. Most animals need to be brushed, cleaned and trimmed to keep their fur in top condition – it’s vital for their physical as well as their mental wellbeing.

Here is a complete guide to keeping your pet healthy on the outside, for a healthier inside. 

Why do I need to groom my dog?

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Dogs need regular grooming. They often land themselves in situations that make their fur dirty, but even if they’re a neat and clean type of dog, grooming helps to keep their coats and skin healthy. However much your dog dislikes the grooming process, you must muscle in and get it done – it will benefit them in the long run. 

Don’t forget to show your pet a bit of love while you’re grooming them with lots of gentle stroking to help keep them happy. 

How should I groom my dog?

The technique you use depends on your dog’s breed. If you have a short haired dog, it’s best to use a bristle brush to keep the fur looking sleek and to help prevent a build up of moulting hair. For longer hair breeds, use a pin brush to detangle some of those clumpier bits of fur. Always take care around sensitive areas, especially around their bottom where the fur can become matted and dirty. If in doubt, ask your pet shop or vet for grooming advice.

While grooming your dog, run the brush or comb through the fur slowly to reveal any fleas or parasites, which will need treating. Dogs are particularly susceptible to fleas and ticks in spring, summer and autumn. 

If your dog’s fur has become matted, you should take it to a professional groomer’s or the vets. Also, remember that long haired breeds will need to have a hair cut in the summer to stop them getting too hot. And it pays to get their hair cut professionally – nobody wants to give their dog a bad hair day. 

You also need to trim your dog’s claws. Many dogs can find this distressing, and it can be very difficult to perform on medium or larger sized dogs. To avoid injuring your dog (or yourself), it’s best to take them to the vets or a dog salon for a professional trim. 

How often should I wash my dog? 

Some dog breeds may need washing more than others. Dogs with oily coats, such as basset hounds, should be washed once a week, while short furred dogs, like beagles, can be washed less often. 

You should avoid washing dogs like retrievers that have water repellent coats, because you need to preserve the healthy, naturally occurring oils in their fur. Dogs with very thick, double coats like huskies need to be brushed more than they do washed to help de-clump their fur. 

Should I groom my cat?

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Cats are notoriously harder to please, and most breeds will not want to be brushed. They are also very self-sufficient when it comes to personal hygiene and will clean themselves daily. Having said that, longer haired cats will need a bit of help along the way, so run your fingers through their fur to check for any clumps or matted bits, which will need combing out or removing. 

Be aware that some cats can become obsessed with cleaning themselves. If you’re worried about your cat’s cleaning habits, look out for any clumps of fur missing or bald patches where they might have over-cleaned. Every now and again, make sure that you inspect your cat’s fur and skin for fleas and ticks. A regular dose of preventative flea treatment is helpful too. 

And what about other pets? 

guinea-pig-having-a-bath

Animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs may also need regular grooming, depending on their breed and their type of fur. Using a small soft brush is fine, or even your fingers may do the job. Make sure you check for any clinging bits of sawdust and hay, as this can easily clump in their fur and get infected.  

With rabbits in particular, pay attention to the soft and fluffy areas near the tail and their feet, and don’t forget to trim their claws if they get too long. It’s also very important that their hutches are regularly cleaned – every two to three days.

Do I need pet insurance?

Looking after your pet is about more than giving them a good clean. You should also consider getting your pet insured to help pay for vet bills and other support. For more information on caring for your pet and getting the right insurance, take a look at Admiral Pet Insurance

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